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Mayor Pushes Upzone in the Chinatown-ID

By Bruce Rutledge

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sent legislation to the city council on April 14 to allow buildings in the Chinatown International District to be as many as three stories taller. The legislation, which is expected to pass, would also trigger the city’s mandatory housing afford ability(MHA) requirements. “We are requiring developers to build or fund affordable housing for the first time, and helping to keep our neighborhoods places where anyone can live,” Murray said.

The upzone push in the ID is part of a city-wide push to build taller buildings and include affordable housing. Upzones in South Lake Union and downtown were recently approved, but both neighborhoods are expected to have fewer affordable units than other neighborhoods. The city says a rent-restricted two-bedroom apartment in the ID would cost $1,219 a month for a family of three earning around $49,000. “The Yesler Community Collaborative is pleased to support the implementation of Mandatory Housing Affordability in the Chinatown-International District, Little Saigon and the Central Area,” said Doris Koo, a community leader and executive director of the Yesler Community Collaborative. “This step comes after the City’s responsiveness to our request that MHA requirements reflect the high risk of displacement our neighborhoods are experiencing. We urge Council to pass the legislation swiftly in support of inclusive developments in our communities.”

Under the Housing Affordability and Liveability Agenda (HALA), the city aims to create 50,000 new homes in the next decade, with 20,000 of those being available at affordable rates.