Unique microhousing development coming to 15th Ave. in Crown Hill

A proposal to build a microhousing community at 8311 15th Ave NW — where the old Restaurante Michoacan was located — has been given conditional approval by the city (.pdf).

This is a four-story building with 78 “sleeping rooms” and five “congregate residences” with retail space on the ground floor.

“This project is part of our ongoing mission to rethink the possibilities for dense livable housing in our rapidly changing city,” explained architect David Neiman in a blog post about the project back in October 2016. “(It’s) a pursuit that has led us to a unique approach to micro-housing that emphasizes small affordable housing paired with generous common amenities arranged to foster social interaction among residents.”

Those small “sleeping rooms” include private bathrooms and a kitchenette, and “congregate residences” located on each floor — which Neiman called “pajama commons” — offer full kitchens, dining area and laundry. On the main floor, there’s a larger commons area with a lounge area and a patio. (Here’s the full design proposal in a large .pdf)

Similar to the upcoming apartment development a couple blocks to the north on 15th, this project will offer no vehicle parking. The city found that there’s adequate on-street parking to handle the additional vehicles for both developments.

47 comments on “Unique microhousing development coming to 15th Ave. in Crown Hill”

  1. The “Robot Arms” comes to Ballard/Crown Hill. Sleep standing up in a closet. “Kill all humans”.

  2. I live a few blocks away and the streets are pretty much empty. Don’t see what the issue would be.

  3. Parking is not required within urban village boundaries, no matter what. That said, though there are many open spots during the day on side streets, it is becoming difficult to find parking at night and on the weekends. This implies to me that many current residents are driving to work (presumably because bus service is inadequate.) Another point to note is that there are no alleys (so no alley garage access) between 15th & 16th or 16th & 17th on this block, and there is limited parking on parts of 17th due to a rain garden/drainage project and the Greenway. With this and the amount of development coming in the pipeline for this area, I expect parking will spill over and become challenging many blocks out.

  4. lol *ahem* “pajama condos”???????

    the developers/city keeps coming up of new weird ways to describe these prison cell style apodments…

  5. Also, has anyone else noticed how Crown Hill Urban Village seems to be losing its minority-owned businesses (Michoacan, Bento Sushi, WesternCo, Wild Orchid)?

  6. Ann S is well known troll who comes onto these websites in order to spark the flames of racial conversations. We aren’t falling for it!

  7. I hope you are joking Robert. I openly admit to being elf-like!…but not a troll. I have certainly never commented before on race on myballard. I don’t often comment on anything here at all. That said, it seems to me that my neighborhood seems to be losing minority owned businesses. I wonder/worry if it’s a trend that we should be monitoring.

  8. Minority-owned businesses are on average smaller and less well capitalized than their compeitors. They are more likely unable to afford affluent rents. Instead they’re in structures for which government planners plan destruction and replacement by higher rent space.
    Such indirect and undesirable effects are usually called “institutional racism” or “gentrification”. Disproportionality is evident. Berating Ann won’t hide that!

  9. I agree that we should let buildings fall into disrepair and not replace them.

  10. Man I would have loved to live in a place like that when I was in college and riding the bus everywhere. Not sure I could have afforded it though.

  11. These buildings will be commonplace as long as the NIMBYs continue to keep 80% of the city as single family zoning.

  12. Can we stop calling this design new? I lived in exactly this configuration in the ’80 in the U-district. The building is still there. It’s called the Upstairs Downstairs. There are other buildings there just like this. Love them/hate them, whatever, but they’re not new or unique or innovative. Sounds like writing an article straight off a press release.

  13. This building looks great—- if it was on lower queen anne, or near Seattle U, or in the U-District, or there was light rail coming to 85th and 15th in 5 years.

    I’m all for increasing density in Seattle, but think it should be concentrated around the downtown core, or along true mass transit. In 5 years time, add in another 50 townhomes in the area, plus another 450 apartment and it’s going to be stop and go traffic along 15th from 85th all the way to the bridge in the morning.

    Here’s another prediction. The construction will block at least one lane of traffic on 15th for 6+ months, instead of being limited to the parking strip. 15th will also be ripped up in spots for utilities, and will be patched so poorly, a year later there will be pot-holes where it was patched.

  14. Looks awesome, glad the 15th modernization train is finally moving its way up to Crown Hill.

  15. As someone who used to live behind this location I can tell you that parking is going to be a massive massive issue during the night/weekend timeframe. Sure, during the day when everyone goes off to work, there “appears” to be ample locations. But as someone else mentioned, nights/weekends are an entirely different story. And maybe one of these horrendous box-o’-rooms might be doable in that area. But the whole thing by Wild Orchid and the townhomes where Crown Hill Hardware used to be and now this one, plus the new zoning that lets the whole block of 16th between 83rd & 85th be town-homed to death? (40 ft height allowed) Kiss sunlight goodbye. Its like nobody at the “planning” dept (I use that term loosely) thought about the whole domino affect of continuing to wedge these monstrosities in to what was a single family neighborhood. Ok we need more housing? Fine. But think it thru – what’s the cumulative affect of ALL of these projects in totality. Does anyone think about that???!!

  16. Awesome soulless, overpriced human warehouse. Have any fans of this ever been to former Soviet republics?

  17. “soulless, overpriced human warehouse”

    This place forces you to interact with others. Soulless is what I call the baby boomers in the basements of their single family homes addicted to opioids.

  18. @Concerned Commie
    I smell more tax increases coming. Most boomers here are lefties. I am neither.

  19. Huh? You just said it was soulless and I thought it was the opposite.

  20. Great. Another soulless rabbit warren comes to Ballard. Add a little bit of barbed wire and some guards and you have a prison.

    Ten or twenty years from now, when all you “pro-development” peeps are living in tiny shoe-boxes, with no greenery, kid-friendly residential spaces , and actually livable environments that don’t make you feel like you’re a faceless/bodiless/mindless cog in a great big urban wheel that’s slowly crushing you—then get back to me about how you’re just grooving on crappily built apodments.

  21. Oh Susannah,
    Don’t you cry for me.

    I may have come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee but I honestly appreciate this microhousing and think it will age just fine. There will always be 20 somethings or such looking for this kind of lodging. It was never meant for greenery or families. The former are what parks are for and the latter is clearly served by the 64% single family zoning

  22. Developers keep saying all these new apartment complexes are “affordable”. For whom? Rent for the microhousing/apodments i’ve seen in Lake City and the U District are at bare minimum $1000. And the standard apartments on 85th, Holman, and in Ballard are all market rate, at least $1500-2500. And they say retail on bottom floors– after the current business is kicked out. I have yet to see businesses in the apartment complexes going up.
    For those criticizing nimby’s, note that our rents and mortgages are often less than rents in the new places. We aren’t single techies with no commitments making $90-100,000 a year. We can’t move to anything equivalent nearby, even employed at decent jobs.
    It’s the scale and type of building just forced on people. If it were 2-story apartments or duplexes with setback, i’d be fine with that. I don’t oppose all building. But what’s going in in EVERY project i’ve seen are 4-6 story complexes next to small 1-story homes. That’s fine downtown where there are highrises– if that’s what i wanted, would have moved there! Or if wanted Victorians, to Snohomish, or skyscrapers, to New York. What’s wrong with urban trendy cubist modern there, and cottage small home feel in other areas, rather than shoving giant complexes into smallscale neighborhoods? I find usually the people calling others nimby don’t have to worry about development themselves- their homes and neighbors are outside the upzone. And please explain to me where the little restaurants (not high end trendy spots), shops and other businesses will go? Where will renters kicked out of older apartments go? You CAN’T explain that, because you have no answer. This will soon happen to my next door neighbors. As for parks– no new ones are being built. So all of northwest Seattle should cram into Golden Gardens to recreate? Sounds “relaxing”… The only people benefitting from all this are developers and rental management companies. It might come as a shock, but i didn’t move to a house as an “investment” to flip– it’s my HOME! If i sold it to a developer, then what? Couldn’t move to anything equivalent.

  23. Thank you Crownhilljulie! I am also a home owner in the area and by the way I am never giving up my home. There is a trend amongst 10 to 20 year home owners that we are staying in our homes. In my neighborhood the only folks who have sold their homes in the past 5 years have refused to sell to developers. Up and down 15th and Market and in downtown Ballard it is another story. Talk to your neighbors and make a friendly agreement to not sell to the developers and keep our residential neighborhoods the way that we like them. Living in a residential neighborhood in Ballard is lovely and unfortunately unaffordable for many folks. However, there are many of us that can hold on to this wonderful way of life for another 20 to 30 years. Hang in there!

  24. Was looking up the property taxes on a friends former home on 16th NW the other day for them – There an interesting change to property taxes going in in the area around 85th & 15th – the values for land versus structures have been reversed so now the land is worth more than the house. Gee, can’t imagine why the Assessors office might be doing that – so now land is suddenly worth more than the structure – in the space of a year… when the values have for decades been consistently the other way around. Hmmmmmmm… what could possibly be the outcome of that move..???

  25. “if that’s what i wanted, would have moved there!”

    City’s change, get used to it. It’s not all about you.

  26. @Brenda Starr

    What the hell are you rambling on about. The driver of the increased prices are increased wages and a large increase in population. The latter drives up the price of land, but not really the price of the structure. You see, when you have 90% of the city as single family zoning, land is scarce. It’s almost as if the exact thing you advocate for is causing the thing that you are ranting about.

    Also when (and not if) Ballard gets rid of the stupid single family zoning, I’ll be sure to sell to a developer who will build 6 townhomes on my lot :)

  27. So basically here are the arguments I’m seeing:

    1) I want to live in a single family home. Good, it’s your property, do what makes you happy.

    2) I want to require all my neighbors to also do the same. Uhhh, ok

    3) Someone wants to take a parcel of land and build something that allows people who either don’t value having a lot of space or can’t afford it. Although these are still pricey, it’s cheaper than more traditional apartment options. People should not be allowed to do this because they should value the things I value and live in a single family home.

    4) I don’t want them to increase the capacity to house the city and as more people move here and the housing situation becomes even more strained, I would like to reserve the right to complain about people who don’t have a house.

  28. Ever increasing housing prices are no longer an issue for many home owners in Ballard. If you cannot afford another home in the neighborhood just hold on to it and ride out the insanity of increasing prices for homes in our community. This should be obvious from the lack of homes going onto the market. It is a conundrum and it certainly is not the fault of the many folks who bought homes when those homes were reasonably priced. It is not a terrible place to be stuck and we will have our final decades of peace. Don’t fret though we’ll be dead and gone eventually.

  29. Huh?

    No issue with people living in their homes and good for them for being smart financially to get that security. It’s just the attitude that persists on here that because they own a home they get to control where everyone else can live.

    And no offense, but as soon as the boomers are gone, we’ll all be better off.

  30. Look, I agree that the attitude of the boomers is awful. They’re notorious for being the most selfish and insufferable generation. The product of being spoiled by the Greatest Generation, which gave them an UNBELIEVABLE sense of entitlement (followed by bitterness).

    However, probably not productive to wish them all dead.

  31. I am trying to stay healthy and live as long as possible. Fortunately most of us boomers have discovered healthy living, given up smoking and committed to aging well – that is also part of our selfish attitude. We like to thrive and get the most out of whatever stage of life that we are inhabiting. Sorry to say that you will have to put up with us longer than you wish. I don’t mind others wishing me an early death -thats on you.

  32. I didn’t move into this neighborhood so that they could build things like that. I moved here in the 80’s and it’s not right for the city to change the ruls now!

  33. 65% in Seattle, compared to 3% in Portland. Don’t let the housing crisis get in the way of something blocking your view though.

  34. “Crown Hill Urban Village seems to be losing its minority-owned businesses”

    Puhlease. Minorities aren’t conscientious urban hipsters, seeking a work/life balance while protecting the environment and diversity, living in transit friendly neighborhoods close to locally sourced-food restaurants, bespoke bicycle shops and doggy massage parlors offering gluten free doggy treats.

  35. “65% in Seattle”

    That figure includes the parks mor0n. Urbanists a$$holes have been running that lie for a decade now.

  36. @Concerned Communist
    “Cities change, get used to it.”

    Yep. I hear lots of great stories of California from the hordes fleeing SF, LA, etc. Decay and ruination is also “change”.

  37. Just to set another record straight, “millennial” is conventionally spelled with 2 “n”s.

  38. Wow concerned millennial you have really bought what the corrupt af Seattle government is sellin ya!! Have fun getting in and out of Ballard with all the new residents and crappy old infratructure. You and your millennial friends better keep lovin your Uber and zipcars bc you’ll be spending a loootttt more time tryin to get anywhere !! The assessor is raising land values to make up budget holes and force home owners out. We pay an insaaaannne amount of property taxes with huge jumps every year which really makes me wonder if developments like this pay property taxes on a similar scale.

  39. Yes – change the zoning and the land value increases overnight and your property taxes along with it. These huge upzones are about pushing people out so that developers can build small tall buildings to sell to the millennials at about $100,000-$200,000 less than a single family home (with a yard) costs. And the poor builders have convinced the Seattle Government and the Urbanists that they won’t make enough money if they have to put in parking.

    Most people on my street own a car and my street and the surrounding streets parking is full every night, almost bumper to bumper.

    Two cars can park in front of each house but when you get a 78 unit rooming house there is no way that many cars can park on street.

    The city needs to Plan for parking for all the cars that will be coming here. Not planning for it (by requiring parking minimums in new buildings) is a recipe for disaster.

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