Seattle Centric: Honors for Green Building, Dropping Unemployment, & the Micro-Apartment Debate

Seattle CentricJobless rate down across Puget Sound

ID-100123804Good news for the workforce from the Seattle Times–unemployment rates fell all across the region in March. King County’s jobless rate for the month was just 5.1%, down from February’s 5.6%. Meanwhile, the rate in Snohomish County dropped to 5.7%, down from 6.3% the month before; Pierce County’s numbers, while higher, followed suit at 9.1%, down from 9.5%. Statewide, the unemployment rate droped to 7.5%, down from 8.2% in February. Read more here.

Seattle building scores spot on Top 10 Green Projects list for US

FederalCenterSouthBuilding1202_BenjaminBenschneider_atrium_landscaping1-660x989Green architecture enthusiasts rejoice–the American Institute of Architects has released their annual list of the Top 10 Green Projects in the country, and a Seattle building is on the list! The lucky winner, the Seattle Federal Center South Building 1202, located four miles south of downtown, was built in less than two and a half years by Sellen Construction and ZGF Architects. The design optimizes sunlight, utilizing a glass roof and stainless steel shingles, and its three floors wrap around a central atrium. Check out the photo gallery here.

Rainier Valley apartment project green-lighted

Screen shot 2013-04-26 at 8.22.08 AMA new 307-unit apartment building will soon start to take shape next to the Mount Baker light-rail station. The project, to be built in the place of old single-family homes, was quickly approved by the Seattle City Council on Wednesday. Next up, the Council must vote on the contract rezone. Scott Roberts, of Lake Union Partners, is confident the project will go through; “everybody wants density,” he told the Puget Sound Business Journal. According to the Journal, the property is ripe for development, and its position right along the light rail line makes it appealing for multifamily use. Check out a slideshow of the future building over at BizJournals.com.

Micro-Apartments: Problem, or solution for Seattle?

Mayor-micro-pod-3-smWe’ve written extensively in The Green Report about the micro-apartments being hailed as the solution to low vacancy and soaring rents in major cities across the US. But here in Seattle, neighborhood activists are calling for a moratorium on the housing, which is gaining popularity on Cap Hill and in the U-District. So what’s the problem? According to the Times, Seattle regulates housing development per kitchen, and not per bedroom–and since many micro-units share one kitchen, some of the new developments are “avoiding design and environmental reviews and notice to neighbors” that are usually required for multifamily projects. Increased density can also pose challenges to growing neighborhoods. Read more here.

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