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Real Estate

Brian Miller
Real Estate Editor
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March 12, 2020

On the Block: The city wants to simplify small-lot apartment construction in Belltown, but will developers bite?

Seattle's Belltown neighborhood is full of lots with 7,200 square feet or less, many used for parking, most considered too small to build housing at a reasonable cost. That may change, thanks to a new city initiative to simplify the building code in that area, with the explicit goal of allowing more modular apartment buildings.

Modular and its close cousin, panelized construction, both depend on identical factory-built components. When stacked or assembled, they generally rise straight up from the ground, with no setbacks. Current city-mandated setbacks are easy to accommodate with traditional stick-frame construction, though that method is generally more expensive per square foot.

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