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Pike Flats mixed-user going higher thanks to transfer of development rights

One upcoming Capitol Hill mixed-use project will be able to exceed zoning restrictings by purchasing approval from another project that didn’t use theirs

Developer Johnson Carr and architect Skidmore Janette are going back before the design review board today for a recommendation on their 722 Pike mixed-use project which they appear to have named Pike Flats.

Originally the plans called for the demolition of the 95-year-old building currently on the spot so that they could build a seven-story structure in it’s place. The issue is that their plans call for a building that’s 75 feet tall and zoning only allows for buildings up to 65 feet. That leaves them with two options. Retain the original building and use that as a base from which to create the new one, thereby earning the right to up-zone. Or they can take advantage of something known as “transfer of development rights” and continue with their demolition plan. They appear to be going for the latter.

CHS explains:

The site is only zoned for a 65-foot structure and typically a developer would have to preserve the existing building in order to gain the extra 10 feet under the Pike/Pine Conservation District incentive program, but instead Johnson Carr plans to purchase that ability from the developers of Melrose Market, who gained — but didn’t use — the right to build higher by preserving the auto-row era character structure.

While this is a common practice in other parts of Seattle, it’s said to be the first instance of it being used in Capitol Hill.

The building is expected to include 90 efficiency units ranging from 225 to 335 square feet as well as 3,258 sq. ft. of commercial space. No parking will be included.