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Council acts to expand affordable housing units created by North Lot project



The King County Council today approved legislation that will increase the number of affordable rental units created by the major development project at the former Kingdome north parking lot (“North Lot”). The Council approved an amended purchase and sale agreement increasing affordable units from 100 to 115 and guaranteeing that at least 23 of the units will be two-bedroom, family-sized units.

“Today’s agreement will expand downtown housing opportunities for working class residents,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Throughout the long history of this project, we have ensured that affordable housing remained a cornerstone of this development and through the partnership of the County, North Lot Development LLC, and InterIm we will increase housing for low income and those in the affordable housing category.”

Council changes to the proposal ensured that two bedroom units were included in the project to better support housing for working families.

 “This project will create new jobs and provide welcomed development in the County’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. The commitment to affordable housing is vital,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott. “I’m thrilled that after seven years this project is finally under construction.”

"Today's action will give professionals and working families more ability to make downtown a place to live and work in a manner that also meets our goals for sustainability," said Councilmember Jane Hague.

The amendment to the purchase and sale agreement adopted today expands total affordable housing requirements while providing the developer greater flexibility in meeting the covenants of the agreement. The Council also approved companion legislation that grants the Washington State Public Stadium Authority (PSA) the use of parking spaces in the Metro garage for event parking, in exchange for $10.2 million from North Lot Development LLC (NLD). The agreement fulfills NLD's requirement to provide the PSA with permanent replacement parking for 491 parking stalls lost due to the sale and development of the North Lot. 

The first phases of construction are now underway. The developer estimates that the total project will create 2,700 construction jobs and pump approximately $727 million into the local economy.

The North Half Lot was purchased along with neighboring properties by King County in 1971 from Burlington Northern Inc. for the purposes of the Kingdome stadium development. The 3.85 acre parcel is adjacent to Century Link Field and was purchased from the County by the development team of Opus/Nitze-Stagen in 2007. In the sales agreement, the developer said it would work to develop family-wage housing on the parcel.

There have been several modifications to the original sales agreement, but through them all the commitment to providing affordable housing has always remained a condition of the purchase.

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