A photo shows a road with a bike lane.
New housing has come to Roosevelt as a result of the light rail station, but mid-rise and single family zoning in the station area have placed limits on future development. (Photo by author)

When we last covered new development coming to the Roosevelt Station area, the Link light rail Northgate extension was still over two years away from opening. Back then, Roosevelt Station was already on the outer perimeter of a growing cluster of old and new mid-rise apartment buildings. For the past decade development in the neighborhood has been red hot with thousands of apartments opened and opening soon.

However, the pace of new construction and permitting could now begin to slow with many mid-rise buildings completed, a scarcity of underdeveloped sites, and static mid-rise zoning. With readily developable land decreasing, midrise construction and permitting has continued to spread to the outer stretches of Roosevelt’s limited midrise zoning. Over 1,100 units have been completed between 2015 and September of 2019 when The Urbanist published its last update on development in Roosevelt.

A photo of Lucille Apartmetns
Lucille Apartments – 6717 Roosevelt Way NE (Photo by Author)

In addition to the light rail station, transportation infrastructure is also slowly improving in the neighborhood with the paving project on the other side of the high school coming in addition to other improvements, such as safer walking and biking infrastructure brought to NE 65th Street through its Vision Zero project. With Roosevelt Station opening within a few couple of days, let’s check in on the construction ongoing in the neighborhood.

Recent completions and active construction

Around 900 new homes, which includes the sleeping rooms of a new congregate residence, have come on line since our last update in 2019. These homes are distributed across six residential projects ranging from 54 to 289 units.

  • A photo of two apartment buildings, Vivid Apartments in front and Vista 7011 behind
  • The Rise on Sixty-Seventh apartment building in the Roosevelt Neighborhood.
  • The Track 66 apartment building.
  • One of three buildings of the Iron Flats apartments, a second building peeks out of the right.
  • The recently completed Centerline Apartment building near the Roosevelt light rail station.
  • 7011 Roosevelt Way NE – Vista 7011
    • A five-story, 56-unit apartment building, three of the units are live/work and the other 53 are apartments.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy on 8/30/2019.
  • 7001 Roosevelt Way NE – Vivid Apartments
    • A five-story, 54-unit apartment building.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy on 9/14/2019.
  • 829 NE 67th Street – Rise on Sixty-Seventh
    • A congregate residence with 178 sleeping rooms.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy on 9/16/2019.
  • 838 NE 66th Street – Track 66
    • A seven-story, 78-unit apartment building, three of the units are live/work and the other 75 are residential.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy in 2019.
  • 802/828 NE 66th Street – Iron Flats
    • A 289-unit apartment complex across three buildings.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy on 8/25/2021.
  • 1420 NE 65th Street – Centerline
    • A seven-story, 235-unit apartment building with 7,450 square feet of retail and parking for around 187 cars.
    • This project received its certificate of occupancy in 2021.
  • An under construction Fireside Flats that is right next to Lucille Apartments in Roosevelt
  • The under construction Cedar Crossing that is right next to the Roosevelt Light Rail Station
  • An under construction apartment building at 800 NE 64th St, across from I-5
  • A Corner 63 rendering that will be farther South on Roosevelt from most of the apartment building in Roosevelt

Under construction is Fireside Flats at 841 NE 68th Street, Cedar Crossing at 660 Roosevelt Way NE, a small apartment building at 800 NE 64th Street, and Corner 63 at 6300 9th Avenue NE. Fireside Flats will be an eight-story, 102-unit apartment building. Cedar Crossing is the affordable development by Bellwether Housing and Mercy Housing Northwest. It will have 253 affordable homes, a public village square, retail, a community room, and affordable childcare. At 800 NE 64th Street, a four-story 26-unit apartment building is under construction. Corner 63 will be a seven-story, 77-unit apartment building.

Right by Centerline is the ongoing 15th Avenue NE paving project. This project will add new protected and unprotected bike lanes, new flashing beacons, and new left-turn pockets. Parking will be removed from one side of the street, sidewalks will be repaired, and curb ramps will be upgraded. At Roosevelt High School, the City is adding Safe Routes to School and neighborhood greenway crossings improvements and expects to finish in spring of 2022.

A graphic of the improvements coming with the 15th Ave NE paving project (Courtesy of SDOT)

What’s Next

Eleven other projects are currently at various stages of the permitting process. These can be roughly split between those within a block of Roosevelt Way NE and those on NE 65th Street east of 12th Avenue NE.

  • Apartment render of apartment proposal 7012 Roosevelt Way NE
  • The site plan proposed at 1011 NE 68th Street. Residential and Retail are proposed
  • A rendering of 811 NE 66th St's proposed apartment building
  • The proposed apartment building at 815 NE 66th St by skidmore janette, this would near the Roosevelt light rail station
  • A render of a proposed apartment building by Rooster Apartments
  • A proposed apartment building at 6501 Roosevelt Way NE's rendering
  • 7012 Roosevelt Way NE
    • A proposed five-story, 91-unit apartment building.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 1011 NE 68th Street
    • A very recently proposed multifamily building with retail.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 811 NE 66th Street
    • A proposed five-story, 20-unit apartment building with a basement, and a roof with residential space.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 815 NE 66th Street – Theo Apartments
    • A permitted seven-story 79-unit apartment building.
  • 831 NE 66th Street
    • A proposed seven-story, 36-unit apartment building.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 6501 Roosevelt Way NE
    • A permitted seven-story, 20-unit apartment building with no parking.
  • A rendering of 6550 Brooklyn Avenue Ne or 1309 NE 66th Street call Brooklyn 1B. It's one of two buildings on a block just south of Roosevelt High School
  • One of two proposed projects just south of Roosevelt High School. This project called Brooklyn 1A is the large of the two proposals
  • A proposed apartment at 6420 Brooklyn Ave NE's rending. It will be on 65th, close to Roosevelt High School
  • A rendering of the apartment building proposal at 1403 NE 65th Street
  • A rendering of a mixed use apartment building at the edge the Roosevelt Urban Village and at 6502 15th Avenue NE
  • 6550 Brooklyn Avenue NE/1309 NE 66th Street – Brooklyn 1B
    • A proposed seven-story, 77-unit apartment building.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 1300 NE 65th Street – Brooklyn 1A
    • A proposed eight-story, 199-unit apartment building.
    • This project is in permitting.
  • 6420 Brooklyn Avenue NE
    • A permitted four-story, 35-unit apartment building.
    • Permits have been issued for this project, but have expired.
  • 1403 NE 65th Street
    • A permitted four-story building with 65 small efficiency dwelling units.
    • Permits have been issued and recently renewed for this project.
  • 6502 15th Avenue NE
    • A proposed six-story, 149-unit apartment building with 5,044 square feet of retail and parking for 84 cars.
    • This project is in permitting.

Planning for the future

If all of the permitted projects are completed, the amount of more liberally zoned and undeveloped land in Roosevelt will severely decrease. Mid-rise zoning in the neighborhood is limited to two intersecting narrow corridors, which are already getting rather crowded with apartments. Having the light rail station located on the outer perimeter of this zoning means that on the opposite side of the station there’s a baffling amount of very low density housing that decreases the potential light rail ridership at the Roosevelt Station.

The zoning map of the Roosevelt Urban Village, notice all the low density zoning it it. Outside the solid perimeter line is single family zoning for the most part
The Roosevelt Urban Villages saw a good deal of low-rise zoning. (City of Seattle)

The limitations placed on development in the neighborhood are already showing. If we include all the completed projects from 2015 to today, those under construction, and all those in permitting, the total arrives at around 3,300 units. By contrast, Northgate could see over 4,000 new units, and the Northgate Station area has barely exhausted nearby underdeveloped sites. Perhaps the Roosevelt Station area is running into the limitation of mid-rises, but a clear cause of the limitation to new housing near light rail in the neighborhood is a zoning map that protects single-family home zones, locking in low density — and expensive — housing, right next to the station.

In his article for The Urbanist, Ron Davis called for a zoning refresh in the Roosevelt urban village. Davis identified roughly 86 acres of low-density zoning within a 10-minute walkshed of the Roosevelt light rail station. He uses that number to argue that 18,000 more homes could be added to the station area if they were zoned as ambitiously as Centerline or Cedar Crossing. This number is lowered artificially by the fact that the close by, single-family home zoned Ravenna-Cowen Historic District is not counted in the low-density zoning acreage.

A rending of a completed 4515 Brooklyn Ave NE in the U District. The building is currently under construction and is very close to the U District light rail station.
4515 Brooklyn Ave NE, a 25-story mixed-use apartment building under construction across the street from the U District Station that’s opening alongside Roosevelt Station. Why can’t Roosevelt have one of these? (Courtesy of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture)

There clearly is a lot of room for Seattle to rezone the Roosevelt Station area to increase urban density with an eye toward making sure the light rail station gets the ridership a multi-million dollar public investment deserves. Roosevelt is also a strong demonstration of the willingness of developers building to the extent of the neighborhood’s mid-rise zoning — surely developers would be willing to build a tower with double digit stories in the neighborhood. Let’s upzone Roosevelt and make appropriate use of that $633 million station.

Article Author

Shaun Kuo is a junior editor at The Urbanist and a recent graduate from the UW Tacoma Master of Arts in Community Planning. He is a urban planner at the Puget Sound Regional Council and a Seattle native that has lived in Wallingford, Northgate, and Lake Forest Park. He enjoys exploring the city by bus and foot.