Seattle Centric: New Heights in South Lake Union, New Apartments in Pioneer Square

Happy Friday! If you’re looking for things to do this weekend, there’s a scavenger hunt on Bainbridge Island and an official pub crawl downtown–check out the full list here. In the meantime, we’ve still got a few hours of work ahead of us, so welcome back to Seattle Centric! 
Pioneer Square: The Stadium Terrace project is going ahead–again.

Remember when they were talking about putting up an apartment building next to Century Link Field? The project has been on the back burner for quite awhile now, but thanks to investors lead by Lakeside Capital Management, the project has again been picked up and is now on track to become a reality sometime after 2013.

106 units, 88 parking stalls, and just about 9,400 square feet of commercial space will fill the area at Railroad Way South and Occidental Avenue South. The investors have chosen to build apartments instead of lofts because they are more affordable to construct, and plans to apply for permitting over the next year. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

An only-in-Seattle question: What makes a neighborhood?

Seattle can be hard to describe to those who haven’t been here. We’ve certainly had more than one conversation go this way: “Do you live in Seattle?” “Yeah, I live in Fremont.” “But do you live, like, in the city?” “Yeah, I live in Fremont.” “…But where’s your address?” Neighborhoods make Seattle deliciously complex. But how did such distinct neighborhoods within a single city come about–and what factors contribute to a sustainable identity?

Writer Knute Berger recently moderated a panel, The Making of a Neighborhood, whose focus was to answer just that. The panel included neighborhood organizers, Parks & Green Spaces committee members and others, and they had some interesting insights to share–check out Mr. Berger’s article (and the video of the panel) over in the Seattle section of Crosscut.com.

Are we on track to see 24-story buildings in South Lake Union?

Next to towering Downtown, South Lake Union has always come up a little short–Amazon currently has the tallest buildings in the area, at just 160 feet each. But thanks to a deal between the City of Seattle and Vulcan Real Estate goes through, that could all be set to change–and soon, we could see 24-story buildings popping up all over South Lake Union’s skyline.

At the heart of the deal is land that Vulcan would give to the city to provide space for nonprofits and affordable apartments. The city has a policy that allows buildings to rise higher if the developers give to public interests. Vulcan, of course, is no stranger to the neighborhood, having been at the helm for much of South Lake Union’s transformation from warehouse district to tech hub. For more, check out the article in the Seattle Times.

The streetcars are coming! The streetcars are coming!

Did you know that the South Lake Union Trolley attracts 2,750 passengers daily? That number has risen steadily since a slow start after its grand opening in 2007. Now that demand has risen, the city is considering investing in studying a more robust offering of streetcar lines throughout the city.

The lines that would be studied in the foreseeable future are Eastlake, Ballard, downtown, and north Broadway; all of these areas once had streetcar lines, before they were abandoned for cars and buses. There are some conflicting opinions on the proposal to study the project–detractors point out that the South Lake Union Trolley can be “painfully slow” and is perhaps best left to tourists, while the Seattle Times puts the cost of installing streetcar lines “at about $50 million per mile.” Are you ready to hop on the streetcar? Check out the full article here.

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