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May 16, 2022

2 TOD developments in Shoreline aim to fill the ‘missing middle' in housing

A/E Editor

Rendering by Encore Architects [enlarge]
Burl has two connected mid-rise towers with a courtyard in between.

Spectrum Development Solutions has two transit-orientated projects in the works in Shoreline. The mixed-use properties, named Burl and Shed, are located near 14802 Fifth Ave. N.E., almost directly east of the future Shoreline South/148th transit station.

Burl will be first to open. The U-shaped building has two six- and seven-story towers and was designed by Encore Architects. General contractor Absher Construction will break ground in the fourth quarter of this year with a view to completing the project in fall 2024, which will coincide with the intended opening of the light rail station.

Shed, which Mithun is designing, will be slightly bigger with 210 units. Renderings for that project are expected to be released this summer. Shed is set to break ground in the fourth quarter of 2023 with an estimated completion date of fall 2025.

Unique to both of these projects is the fact that 20% of the units — in a configuration of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts — will be for those making 70%-80% of AMI. This is intended to fill a need for what Spectrum calls “missing middle” housing in the Seattle market. This group of renters includes graduate students and young professionals working in the hospitality or retail industries, who are not able to afford market rate or luxury prices but whose income level is also too high to quality for the majority of subsidized housing units.

“I think the big challenge for developers, and facing our city, is how to create more of this middle housing at scale,” Gabriel Grant, principal at Spectrum, said. “It's really important because this group is our workforce.”

This rental model will be baked into the projects for 99 years, longer than is typical.

“You can't retroactively create affordability,” Jake McKinstry, principal at Spectrum, explained. “We need to be forward-thinking in our developments.”

Grant added that this model is essential in order to create and sustain “equitable transit-orientated developments,” and ensure that Seattle's neighborhoods remain affordable for a diverse group of renters and protected from unchecked gentrification.


Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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