(2013 image via Seattle City Light)
A decade after Seattle City Light (SCL) started the process of divesting itself of the former Dumar Substation on the southwest corner or 16th/Holden, it’s finally happening. At this afternoon’s Seattle City Council meeting, a unanimous vote gave approval to transferring the 10,000+-square-foot parcel from SCL to the Office of Housing (OH). Now OH will start the process of finding a developer to build affordable-homeownership units, and commercial space, on the site. OH will give SCL $424,000 (its current appraised value) for the site, which the utility has owned since 1945. In discussion of the plan at a committee meeting last week (WSB coverage here), OH reps were asked where exactly that money’s coming from; they didn’t have the answer at the time, so we asked before today’s vote. According to OH spokesperson Nona Raybern, the source will be Mandatory Housing Affordability fees from developers who choose to pay fees rather than build affordable units in their projects. The property will eventually be “transferred to the developer who is selected through the RFP process at no cost,” Raybern added. It’s zoned Neighborhood Commercial 40 (four stories), as the result of neighborhood advocacy – to which Councilmember Lisa Herbold gave a shoutout at today’s meeting – for both building housing and business space on the site. Affordable-homeownership development has strict criteria, both for choosing buyers and for what can be done with the units – they have to be owner-occupied, for example, no renting, and if they’re sold, the buyers must meet the same eligibility rules (such as, making no more than 80 percent Area Median Income). It’s envisioned up to 16 units could be built on the site.