DEVELOPMENT: ‘Affordable’ apartments planned at site of Westwood driver-licensing office

(King County Assessor photo)

Just added today to the city’s Early Outreach for Design Review list, a plan for up to 140 “affordable” apartments at 8830 25th Avenue SW, currently the site of a driver-licensing office, across the street from the east side of Westwood Village. The description proposes “a mix of studios, 1-bedroom and 3-bedroom units for a total of 120-140 units [for renters] up to 60% AMI [Average Mean Income].” A site plan filed with the city says it’ll be a 5-story building with an unspecified amount of on-site parking, to be built by SRM Development. The “early outreach” phase mandates community feedback, so if you want to be involved with that, there’s contact info in the item on the city website. Online records show the almost-one-acre site was sold last year for $3.1 million. We’ll be asking the state about future plans for a new driver-licensing location.

35 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: 'Affordable' apartments planned at site of Westwood driver-licensing office"

  • Jim June 1, 2022 (3:38 pm)

    But an end to this!! No more of these overpriced so-called affordable apartments

    • My two cents June 1, 2022 (8:01 pm)

      Jim – what basis should be utilized for defining “affordable”?

      • PSPS June 1, 2022 (9:31 pm)

        The “Average Mean Income” (AMI) in Seattle is about $105,000 (almost double that of most of King County.) So, using their 60% figure, that would come to a monthly rent of about $5,250.  Of course, that’s not what a sane person considers “affordable.” In a properly-functioning economy, one’s housing should actually be no more than 40% of their expenses, which would be $3,500 per month which, while better, would still fall outside most people’s definition of affordable.

        The reason Seattle’s average income is so high is because a very small cohort makes enormous salaries, thus skewing the “average” part.  For example, Amazon announced last February that they had raised its base pay for corporate and tech workers to $350K/year (it was $160K.) The reason was because they were unable to attract talent that were going to other tech companies.

        • AmandaK June 2, 2022 (7:50 am)

          So 60% actually means the amount of household income.  So that would be $63,000 per year.  If we keep the rent to the 30% target of someone’s salary, that would be $18,900 per year or $1,575 per month.Very affordable for this city, but I would rather see these be a rent to own situation for people to build wealth.  Still an awesome project in the perfect location!

        • Delridge Neighbor June 2, 2022 (8:33 am)

          @PSPS: AMI actually stands for “Area Median Income” ( Error is in the text above, so I can understand how you made that mistake (@WSB: could I humbly suggest a correction to help avoid more confusion?). But importantly, median is the midpoint, which means its not skewed by “a very small cohort” of high earners, as you suggest.  For example, in a hypothetical city with one person earning $10k, one person earning $20k, and a third person earning $3M, median would be $20k. That is why median is used, not mean.

        • Jim P. June 2, 2022 (1:05 pm)

          I think you are using the numbers incorrectly.  That 60% is the level of qualifying income, not the rent.That is, people must be earning lower than that to get the lower rents.

      • 💡 June 2, 2022 (12:41 am)

        Here’s a link to the Housing Choice Voucher program that shows thresholds for income eligibility for 2022 at 30% and 50% of AMI. Basically, you can just double the 30% figures to get an idea for this proposed project, i.e., one person would be $54,400, three people ~$70,000. My pea brain understanding is rent is then no more than 30% of income, or for example, $1,360 for a single, or $1,750 for three people.

    • James June 1, 2022 (9:39 pm)

      We need housing density, not unused shopping plazas! 

      • Jim June 2, 2022 (4:18 pm)

        I really don’t want to end up looking like the walled City. Maybe they could stop tearing down entire neighborhoods for overpriced housing

  • flimflam June 1, 2022 (4:13 pm)

    Well I’m happy “affordable” was put in quotations…

  • Mj June 1, 2022 (4:16 pm)

    Good location, transit & grocery and other commercial businesses are easily accessible via walking!

  • m June 1, 2022 (4:42 pm)

    3 bedroom units—awesome! 

  • LyndaB June 1, 2022 (4:53 pm)

    Just making me think of when I got my driver’s license at the DOL building on 35th before it was a Walgreens.

    • Canton June 1, 2022 (7:11 pm)

      Wasn’t it across the street by uhaul?

      • WS4Life June 2, 2022 (7:20 am)

        Yes, it was across the street.

  • TJ June 1, 2022 (5:19 pm)

    Another story of affordable apartments where people comment about them not being affordable. Affordable is a subjective term. Should a 3 bedroom be $1000 a month? It is important to remember that housing of any kind, including “affordable”, was never promised to anyone and government wasnt set up to have a role in providing housing.

  • KT June 1, 2022 (5:20 pm)

    More of this please!!!…there is a house at 25th and Roxbury listed for just over a million dollars.  On Roxxbury.   Insane.

    • Niko June 2, 2022 (4:19 pm)

      That’s because property values are being artificially inflated and bought up by foreign investors that tear down the house and turn it into a condo. It also doesn’t help when we’ve allowed all the boarding houses and more inexpensive houses to be torn down in the name of greed 

  • East Coast Cynic June 1, 2022 (7:59 pm)

    Underground parking lot I suspect, with that many units.  I think I better get my drivers license revised to Real ID before that office goes away.  It’s in such a convenient spot.

  • aa June 1, 2022 (8:15 pm)

    I can’t figure out how to afford one of those MFTE’s on my income that qualifies me. I guess thats not true I just have to stop putting money in my savings account, forget saving for retirement.  That’s my trade off if I want to live in Seattle.  I miss apartments that had personality!

  • 1994 June 1, 2022 (10:54 pm)

    A bit old but still relevant info: 

    • Workers in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $35.74 in May 2020, 32 percent above the nationwide average of $27.07, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
  • snowskier June 2, 2022 (9:00 am)

    Sounds like an ideal spot.  Adjacent to transit, food, pharmacy, housewares and even jobs.  Close to open areas for families with kids.  I like the 3 bedrooms which mean a family could live in these apartments.

  • East Coast Cynic June 2, 2022 (10:11 am)

    At 120-140 units, this sounds like one of the largest apartment developments in West Seattle, if not the largest.  Hopefully many will be one car apartment owners because there isn’t much parking on the nearby streets for multiple car apartment dwellers, particularly with the condos north and south of it. 

    • WSB June 2, 2022 (10:19 am)

      We’ve had larger, in just the 15 years we’ve been covering news here. The Whittaker, for one. I’d make a list but gotta go write a few new stories before I can take time out to research to refresh my memory. There are bigger ones on the drawing board, too – 1704 SW Roxbury is proposed at ~214 apartments. – TR

    • D-Ridge June 2, 2022 (11:52 am)

      Not everyone has a car and shouldn’t be forced to subsidize a parking space for one just to rent a place.

  • Compassionate solutions June 2, 2022 (3:17 pm)

    Build an apartment building for the RV encampment folks to move into, if they would like to, free of rent for 6 months, if they would agree to follow housing rules and participate in some case work/counseling meetings, to help identify some achievable goals, connect with resources and support, and to secure an improved housing opportunity by the end of their stay. Nothing too stressful or imposed, but rather a supportive and compassionate housing program opportunity, with the aim to help better these folks situations.

    I spoke with a homeless woman in the junction a couple of years ago, asked her what would really help, what she needed, and she suggested something like this. Housing for the sake of housing, to have a safe place, to take care of herself, recover from some trauma, and establish some goals with some support, but not too many expectations that aren’t realistic or too stressful to manage.

    • flimflam June 2, 2022 (4:32 pm)

      Nice thought but you lost me at “follow housing rules”…

      • Compassionate solutions June 2, 2022 (7:31 pm)

        Why did this lose you? Housing rules, such as fairly standard apartment rental rules/agreements. As determined by the housing/program management.

        Some folks might require rehab and detox support first, or other support, but where there is will and heart, there is a way to help people, even in difficult and complex circumstances.

        Having adequate living spaces and services such as garbage collection, and more of their needs as humans being met, would make following neighborly rules easier.

  • Pessoa June 3, 2022 (11:20 am)

    Affordable housing is an absolute crisis in this country.  Don’t fool yourselves, we are living in a centrally planned economy with the Fed twisting the monetary knobs, rewarding some and punishing others.  It will continue to prop up the asset bubble, as it has done for a decade.    

    • anonyme June 3, 2022 (2:34 pm)

      Pessoa, could you expound on this a bit?  I’m truly interested.  Links, if you have them.

      • Pessoa June 3, 2022 (4:21 pm)

        Hi Anonyme, there is virtually an unlimited source of information out there on the Federal Reserve, monetary policy, and “Quantitative Easing.”  I have to warn you, though, because reading up on the almost make-believe world of monetary policy is like going down Alice’s bottomless rabbit hole.   

        • anonyme June 4, 2022 (6:23 am)

          Thanks.  I’m sure you’re right about the rabbit hole, but I’ll take a stab at it.  Sounds like “quantitative easing” is the phrase to go after.

  • morealex June 3, 2022 (5:11 pm)

    WSB,Thanks for following up with the powers that be about where the Licensing office will go, I’ll have to renew sometime before mid-2023.  Where it is has been super convenient for those of us in the south Delridge area neighborhoods (esp. Westwood & Highland Park) & White Center.  But if it’s a little closer to the Cal./Alaska junction, than it would be a bit more convenient additionally for everyone north of Morgan.  Wherever it ends up, I hope they’ll have plenty of parking.   

  • WS resident June 3, 2022 (7:49 pm)

    Well this is close to home. And very interesting. Ehy limit it to a 5-story building when they can now be built higher? I hope they plan on building a very large underground parking lot.

    • WSB June 3, 2022 (8:10 pm)

      No, five stories is pretty much the zoning there (55′).

Sorry, comment time is over.