Seattle mayor goes after developers in affordable housing plan

Jul 13, 2015, 12:26 PM | Updated: 4:15 pm
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is calling for developers to reserve five to seven percent of every new mul...
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is calling for developers to reserve five to seven percent of every new multi-family building for affordable housing. (MyNorthwest file photo)
(MyNorthwest file photo)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants developers to reserve 5 to 7 percent of every new multi-family building for affordable housing.

“We are pleased today to announce that our plan for a more affordable housing in Seattle will lead to 50,000 new housing units citywide over the next decade and triple the production of affordable housing units, resulting in an 20,000 additional affordable housing units in the city of Seattle,” Murray said in a news conference on Monday.

The mayor said developers could opt to contribute to a fund for off-site construction of the units.

The new units would be made available for residents earning up to 60 percent of King County’s Area Median Income (AMI).

Murray said this year, 60 percent of AMI is $37,680 for an individual and $53,760 for a family of four. Rent for a new building on Capitol Hill averages $1,887. In 2015, Murray said individuals with incomes of 60 percent of AMI pay $1,008 for income-restricted apartments.

Developers will also pay a Commercial Linkage Fee, phased in over three years, to help fund affordable housing. It’ll range from $5 to $14 per square foot and depend on the size and location of the new development.

Murray said Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and the Commercial Linkage Fee will eventually lead to the construction of at least 6,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.

The mayor said new buildings will have taller height restrictions for multifamily residential, mixed-use and commercial zones. Most of those buildings will be built in Urban Centers and Urban Villages, designated two decades ago as the preferred location for denser housing.

And single-family zoning may not be impacted as much as some originally thought when a draft of the HALA plan was leaked last week.

Despite an early draft report, Murray says single-family zoning will represent 61 percent of all land in Seattle. It currently represents 65 percent.

The 28-member Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee spent 10 months of work developing 65 recommendations. The committee is made up of “affordable housing advocates, community voices, developers and housing experts appointed by the mayor and Seattle City Council,” Murray said.

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Seattle mayor goes after developers in affordable housing plan