Sound Transit has teamed with developer Gerding Edlen to create a transit-oriented, mixed-income and mixed-use development to surround a new Capitol Hill light rail station in Seattle.

The partners held a groundbreaking event in the Seattle neighborhood to mark the start of construction. “This day has been a long time coming but will be worth the wait,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff in a statement. “The vision for our Link station site developed by Gerding Edlen and the Capitol Hill community will create the kind of vibrant neighborhood improvements that we will be looking to facilitate as we expand our bus and rail services throughout the region.”  

The plan includes opening a new Capitol Hill light rail station in 2020, the center of a design that also features a four-building development to provide 428 apartments—178 of which come as affordable—210 underground parking spaces, a community room, approximately 30,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail and a new public plaza to serve as the home of the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Farmers Market.

In the process, Sound Transit selected Gerding Edlen as the master developer for all four sites through a competitive process. Sound Transit will ground lease sites A, B-South and C to Gerding Edlen and sell site B-North to Capitol Hill Housing, Gerding Edlen’s co-developer for the site. Bentall Kennedy’s U.S. Core Fund will serve as Gerding Edlen’s joint venture partner on Sites A, B-South and C. The Capitol Hill station development is a federal Transit Administration joint development project.

The mixed-income project includes 42% of units leased at below market-rate rents. Site B-North will include 110 apartments affordable to households that earn at or below 30%, 50% and 60% of the area median income. The mixture of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units will pursue a LEED Platinum standard. Additional funding from the Seattle Office of Housing ($8.7 million) and King County ($4.7 million) goes toward construction.

The three additional market-rate sites will participate in Seattle’s Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program, resulting in 68 below-market units affordable to households earning 65% to 85% of the area median income.

In April, the Sound Transit board adopted an updated policy for equitable transit-oriented development that guides the use of property remaining as surplus after voter-approved transit investments are complete. Matching regional growth plans, the updated policy focuses urban growth at transit centers and commits Sound Transit to work with local communities and stakeholders to develop projects on surplus property, all while encouraging transit-oriented development in nearby areas.

Lease Crutcher Lewis serves as the general contractor for Sites A, B-South and C, while Walsh Construction takes on B-North. Hewitt Architects and Schemata Workshop both handled design for two sites, while The Berger Partnership serves as the site’s landscape architect.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb