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Brian Miller
Real Estate Reporter

October 27, 2016

On the Block: Cranes and MUPs pop up in Roosevelt

Wandering around North Seattle, even without benefit of a map, you can tell where the Roosevelt light-rail station will open in 2021. Just look for the cranes.

The upzoned area around Northeast 65th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast is thick with cranes, and more are on the way. The website Seattle in Progress shows no less than 21 projects in the pipeline for that area, with a total unit count of about 2,185. (Some probably won't be delivered, and more may be added; the activity map seems to change almost weekly.)

Iron Flats is one of those projects — though, oddly, it's proceeding with two applications for master use permits (or MUPs). Emerald Bay Equity is planning three seven-story structures on a central podium with a shared central courtyard. The site is at 814 N.E. 66th St.

The developer presented plans this week for design review on the project, which would have about 303 units and 254 parking spaces below grade.

Joe Geivett, Emerald Bay co-owner and principal, said there was an earlier plan for a smaller project but Emerald decided to buy more land. “We were able to pick up a couple properties,” he said. “We have one left to close.

“Rather than throw away our first MUP, we have two MUPs. It's an unconventional project.”

Image courtesy Skidmore Janette [enlarge]
Iron Flats would have about 303 units in three structures set on a podium at 814 N.E. 66th St.

Emerald Bay sought the first MUP in December of last year for the earlier configuration of Iron Flats, that would've accommodated another, unrelated developer's plans for a separate five-story apartment on the north side of the site, with no parking. “We bought that [project] with the hopes of throwing it away,” says Geivett. (Those 20 micro-units are included in the Seattle in Progress tally above.)

Geivett has now assembled an almost 54,000-square-foot, L-shaped parcel at the west end of the block, which is also bounded by Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 67th Street. It's directly south of the 260-unit Eleanor Apartments that Mack Urban opened in the summer. It's also a short walk to the 65th Street Park & Ride and coming light-rail station.

Architect Skidmore Janette is designing Iron Flats. Emerald Bay's team also includes lender First Financial Northwest Bank and landscape architects Brumbaugh & Associates. No general contractor has been selected.

“We're planning to bid the project early next year,” says Geivett. “In a perfect world, we're able to start demolition there in the spring and excavation in the summer (of 2017).” Demolition and excavation could be done under the first MUP, with a building permit issued under the second MUP.

Construction would take about two years, with likely delivery in 2019.

The exact phasing of Iron Flats' three structures has yet to be determined, but Geivett says he is bullish on the very transit-oriented Roosevelt Urban Village. “It's going through a lot of transformation. We like to have projects in the same neighborhood.”


Nearby, at 6800 Roosevelt Way N.E., Emerald Bay is building the 79-unit Medora, which is projected to open in February. That project will have retail space, unlike Iron Flats, and 64 parking spaces below grade. Medora's project team includes design architect Fuller Sears, project architect Skidmore Janette, DCI structural engineer, general contractor Pavilion Construction and lender Homestreet Bank. No leasing agent has been selected.

About 14 percent of the units in Iron Flats will be affordable, says Geivett, who submitted the project using the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) and incentive zoning. “We're in the old rules,” he adds.

The new rules, meaning linkage fees and MHA-R requirements, have been approved by the Seattle City Council, though they likely won't be implemented — along with new zoning maps — until sometime next year.

Meanwhile, some developers will rush toward Roosevelt under the old rules, while others await the new. One thing is certain, however, cranes will be harder to get.

Got a tip? Contact DJC real estate reporter Brian Miller at brian.miller@djc.com or call him at (206) 219-6517.

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