Since the Capitol Hill Link Light Rail station opened in 2016, the land around it—a vacant sea of concrete—has sat suspiciously empty as other apartment buildings sprout up around it. But that land is finally getting put to use, with a mixed-income apartment development finally scheduled to break ground June 19.
Four seven-story buildings are planned for the site, all some degree of mixed-income: Three buildings by Portland-based developer Gerding Elden will be mostly market-rate, but 68 units will affordable to households earning 65 to 85 percent of the area median income (AMI) through the city’s Multifamily Tax Exemption Program. Another building, the 50th built by affordable housing developer Capitol Hill Housing, will include 110 apartments affordable to households that earn at or below 30 to 60 percent AMI, plus a community room open to the public.
Schemata Workshop designed Capitol Hill Housing’s building, which will be built to LEED Platinum standards, and one of Gerding Elden’s adjacent buildings; the other two are designed by Hewitt. Landscape architecture will be done by Berger Partnership.
The 428 total apartments will range from studios to three-bedroom units and surround a public plaza. Gerding Edlen is working with the team behind the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway to integrate a memorial art project “honoring the impact of the AIDS epidemic” into the public space.
“The Capitol Hill Station Development, situated at the gateway to Cal Anderson Park, is a fitting location for the AMP’s project, said retired Seattle City Councilor Tom Rasmussen, one of the leaders behind the effort, in a statement. The memorial will be a beautiful community gathering place to honor those who died, those who fought, and those who continue the fight against HIV/AIDS through story sharing, oral histories, photographs, and artifacts, and provide a call to action to end HIV/AIDS, stigma, and discrimination.”
The AMP will be present at the groundbreaking party on June 19, along with a farmers market, live music, and food and drink from local vendors. The celebration is taking place on the future public plaza—currently just a sea of concrete (although it’s also been used as a public plaza during Capitol Hill Pride), but theoretically the site of many future neighborhood celebrations.
The project has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. One more recent and high-profile holdup happened during design review last year, when the East Design Review board sent the project back for a second hearing for reasons ranging from the daycare’s location to the building’s color.