Features Jul 29, 2015 at 4:00 am

Do You Realize How Much It Costs to Build a Single Parking Space?

Velo apartments in Fremont: Although the building was marketed as bike-friendly and has a bicycle incorporated into its logo, the developer waited until parking spaces went unused before it decided to build more bike storage. Malcolm Smith


Summary of Metro's own study: "In other words, the more transit options a person had access to, the less likely he or she would be to park (and, presumably, own) a car."

LOL! Maybe housing costs wouldn't be so high if Metro didn't eliminate routes and raise fares recently? Let's not forget the City of Seattle's recent push to make street parking require either a permit or paying at a pay station.

Only the city of Seattle government is to blame.
I don't think the reason behind our skyrocketing housing costs is all that secret. I moved here in 2002 and have been in the same downtown apartment all this time. My rent was pretty stable until a few years ago when Amazon hires started taking over downtown, and moving in.

It's been big annual rent increases since then (and yet no increases in the number of parking spots in the building). If Amazon's business model were to crash and burn, demand would fall and rents would fall with them.

I'm not disputing the cost of building unnecessary parking spots. But reducing or eliminating parking space requirements won't stop the increases in housing costs as long as the number of people who want to live here grows faster than the number of housing units coming online.

Of course parking adds to construction costs. But it's hopeful thinking that developers would pass any savings from no parking spaces on to renters, particularly because these spaces are usually add-ons to the base rent. Thus, renters in these units simply park their cars in nearby neighborhoods, claiming the street parking dedicated to these single-family zone residents. This city must accomodate its current growth before it completely destroys the neighborhoods that make Seattle so desirable in the first place.
$50,000.00 for a PARKING SPACE in Seattle?! Fuck.
> Parking also takes up precious space where more housing units could be built.

Where? Below ground?
Seattle needs to swallow the bitter pill and eliminate "permit street parking" in ALL neighborhoods and eliminate ALL off-street requirements for new construction right now! Every driver for themselves. Seattle should also be free to steal as many street parking spots as it sees fit to install bus and bike lanes.

If you moved near Husky stadium or Seattle Center or up to Capitol Hill where massive number of people are trying to park on a certain day, time, or all the time, TOO BAD for you. You don't own the street. You live in a vibrant, growing city. Why should you get special favors for parking? Even if you have lived there for 100 years... even if you pay a little for a permit... you are parking on public land! that should be available to everyone. All the time.

This is the ONLY way people will give up their cars in Seattle. Imagine the money that will be saved by not having to administer all those special permits - and with the extra transit revenue and sudden emergency need to for transit, we could finally build the monorail all over Seattle. Something that should have been done years ago.
How do you think you can "get people out of their cars", when Metro cut 40 percent of bus routes, and reduced service on the rest?
Public transportation in this area is worse than a joke.
The real reason we (Seattle) doesn't like parking: After Frank Colacurcio, nobody aside from the Diamond parking mafia has been willing to scrape together a payoff for the Seattle City Council members to get a permit to build parking.
"There's also the question of whether developers would lower rents even if they could afford to."

Ya think? Who wants to take the side that they will pass on the savings to the renters? I'll give you 10:1 odds.
This is flawed.

Rent is set by the market and is completely uncoupled from construction costs.

The only way the cost of parking construction is impacting rent is in restricting the number of projects being built presently. Seattle is presently building at one of the fastest rates in the nation. There is little to lead anyone to believe that supply is inhibited due to parking requirements.

Even if it were, the downward impact is much smaller in scale than the excess demand we presently see.

Just remember: Rent is high because people like living in Seattle. As long as the city is desirable, rent will be high. That's it.
Parking is so tight now on Cap Hill, that when I go to visit, I have to spend 10 minutes cruising the neighborhood to try and find somewhere to park. Usually blocks away from where I'm visiting. Where is all this supposed "unused" available parking? If streets are jammed with cars, then more parking needs to be added, not taken away.
@29 I assume you are looking for free parking. It turns out free products are consistently sold out. You should try buying some parking at regular price, you'll find there are plenty of locations selling parking.
This article is flawed greatly, for many reasons already explained by other commentators. I own a condo in a downtown high rise. All 1 bedrooms came with 1 parking spot, all 2 beds with 2, a d all 3 beds and giant penthouses with 3. Most one bedrooms are young couples or retired empty-nesters with two vehicles. Many of them work in the city and only need a place to park their car 5+ days per week. People still like to explore the beautiful rural PNW on weekends, and shouldn't have to rent a ZipCar for that. In a building that goes all the way down to P8, there are pretty much 0 spots empty. I was able to buy a motorcycle spot for $5k (only a handful in the building), and when the developer put up the last 6 car spots to auction, 25 of us showed up. They were going for $45k each and I would have gladly taken one at $5k more over that price (on a 30 y HELOC at 4% that is ~$200/mo). They all sold out before my number was ever picked. Downtown is also losing a high percentage of street spots to bike tracks that very few use.

One solution is to force private garages to drop their rates based on market demand at night. Instead of $10 or $20 over night, they should drop to $5/night. That way people in the urban cores can rent these excess spaces for fair value. We do need real transit in this city, but the war on cars by the Stranger and this city's far left government is only making enemies and things worse.
Lots of the complaining is coming from people who want to live on Cap.Hill with a barista income but can not accept that the rent has finally caught up with it's strategic location with respect to other greater downtown neighborhoods. The new crowd is certainly not moving there for the gay bars (by the way, a demographic that displaced others before them some 2-3 decades ago). Not sure why the CH crowd didn't buy any dumps up there for cheap while they could- too busy spending your money on weed, booze, and tattoos? A few weeks ago I found (8) single family homes on Redfin within Seattle city limits for < $200k. A three bedroom was going for $165k. Taxes + interest + principle + insurance would be < $1,000/mo. Sure, they need work and are further out, but those will look like absolute steals in two years. Is anyone of the Stranger's audience looking into buying these homes up? Nope, because it isn't Cap.Hill ( a luxury at this point). It isn't good enough for them.
@31, 32. Force parking garages to lower their rates? So you think the people running the garages are too stupid, or just prefer losing money by charging what you consider too high a price? And how do you know "very few" use the bike lanes downtown? Do you sit out there counting cyclists all day?

Also what does the fact that run down, fixer-uppers on the outskirts of town exist for cheap (a relative term of course, because any house that "needs work" could end up needing 2k or 200k worth of work) have to do with anything?

Though I will admit you got me curious so I just searched on Redfin and currently there is exactly ONE single family house in the city limits for under 200k. A tiny and hideous fixer being sold "as is" in Highland Park.
Why go after parking, when there are so many SFM (Single Family Mansions) in Seattle.

SFHs in Seattle are already on tiny plots of land, and in many cases they are shared by multiple adults or families with children.

But rezoning the Land Hogs into multi-tenant housing would be the quickest way to solve the housing crisis. For example:

"However, Griffin added, what developers charge to rent an apartment has less to do with a building's cost than it does with what the market is willing to pay."

Other comments already covered it but this is the most important point. Construction costs are all but irrelevant to rents. Owners will increase rents until the cost begins to impact vacancy rates. It is really that simple.

"Downtown is also losing a high percentage of street spots to bike tracks that very few use."

Got any sources for this claim you just pulled out of your ass? If you think increased bike infrastructure is hurting the parking situation you are too stupid to participate in this conversation.
"However, Griffin added, what developers charge to rent an apartment has less to do with a building's cost than it does with what the market is willing to pay. So it's not like a landlord can always rely on passing on the entire cost of its parking construction to its tenants." And of course the corollary to this is the absence of parking does not mean that cost savings are passed on to tenants in lower rents.
This was a deeply flawed, piss-poor article representative of someone who should most definitely NOT pursue any career in journalism!

There are many, many other and more valid reasons, but to choose parking is a red herring!

One important factor alone, not mentioned: when King County personnel did an egregious interest rate swap, and were taken to the cleaners, those costs had to be recouped by Metro fare hikes, property tax increases, etc., etc., etc.

Too many other points to go into, but the sane and rational reader should see where I am headed . . .
@28 I made this same argument to this guy who was proselytizing on this issue in a previous parking related post a week or two ago.

I have strong suspicions that this statistical analysis that says that parking adds x much to rent has been cooked up by people with an agenda liberally bending statistics. Assumption seems to be that developers and landlords in Seattle have razor thin margins so they must raise rents to compensate for parking costs to continue to make a profit. This is almost certainly bullshit. There is also the obvious hole: if rents are higher in a building where a developer was subject to parking requirements would not this building/developer be at a competitive disadvantage to the similar building next door that was not subject to parking requirements (like for instance if it was built before they came into force)? We would expect large disparities in rent between buildings with parking and buildings without. Maybe that is the case. I highly doubt it.

Eliminating or greatly reducing parking requirements is just a huge giveaway to developers. Basically a public subsidy, as their residents will of course still mostly have cars and that will mean more street parking eaten up by cars that don't move more than once or twice a week.
"what developers charge to rent an apartment has less to do with a building's cost than it does with what the market is willing to pay."

Key comment there at the end of the article.
@32, I've been on CH in a co-op for 8 years and my wife for 17...

You're shouting at clouds.
Seems I was a bit slow in my post. Time for more coffee. Well done those who posted above!
"...housing costs wouldn't be so high..."

Housing costs are high because of real estate being used as an investment rather than as a place for living.

As I look around, there are hundreds...thousands...of empty homes around here, some on the market for months and years.

They were bought like stocks or bank notes. The investors are counting on high increasing valuations. In many cases they don't want to rent as it is more trouble than what it is worth and the increasing prices more than cover what little they could get in rent.

Do you want more places to live?

Then increase your property taxes and make the Land Hogs pay top dollar for hoarding valuable resources.
By the way, if this area is adding 100,000 new residents, I hope they are all marriageable females between the ages of 25 and 45. That is the "missing generation" around here.
I can see loosening up on parking minimums in the downtown and Pike/Pine corridor where there's an over abundance of public transport, zip cars, good sidewalks and subsidized rental bikes available. However, the rest of the city does not have the kind of access to public transport or luxury of travel choices as downtown. This means getting rid of parking requirement city wide is impractical and will face stiff pushback.

Moving people around Seattle and beyond is not fast, efficient, nor easy right now. Taking buses on a daily basis from the hinterlands where you have to take a local milk run to get on a rapid ride to DT, where you have to then switch to go to SODO, Georgetown, or Bellevue takes an hour or more. If you just have one bus delay or no show, you are adding an extra 30-40 mins to an hour long commute. That's not including game days and accidents on the freeways.

Where in this plan does it address the cost of moving people around by bikes, streetcar, light rail, buses, sidewalks? That HIDDEN cost needs to be added into the equation for a fair analysis and comparison to a parking spot cost. Developers and builders need to step up and pay for these things if they want to get rid of parking requirement. The same for utilities, building schools, road and bridge maintenance.

This plan like the SF zoning plan looks at one issue in a vacuum. It tries to make the same case that this is the MAIN reason for the affordability (and equity) issue, but ignores all the interconnected parts, without context and relationship.

I live at Velo and refuse to pay their outrageous monthly parking fee of over a hundred dollars while I am living in a cube with a door for $1730. Seattle is in the middle of running out the middle class and the very people that made this area so full of art and beautiful things. Seattle is not worth Brooklyn prices!
Gad, quoting Griffin is like quoting the lawyer with the huge $1.4million SF house in Laurelhurst.

The guy wants to revamp the convention center with 800 (or 1600) parking spots at a cost of $1billion +. And get rid of the bus tunnel. All paid by hotel tax (I really hope that's the case here and not more tax subsidized).
@44, I asked for a source and you provided your 'personal attestation.'

Welp, guess we're done here. Mr. X from the interwebz says its true and he even reiterated that it is a FACT with all capital letters so no point in further discussion.

"You remind me of Ed Murray saying there's no War on Cars. I can believe you and him, or my lying eyes. Like most Seattle residents, I choose the latter."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Just keep trusting your lying eyes, they'll tell you everything you want to hear.

"The City just acknowledged that bike use downtown is actually down." Uh huh, I bet.
How dare developers give away a commodity that can be seperated, collateralized and sold at a premium. Right now, there are some new high rise residential buildings being permitted in the Freemont area with minimal or no parking provisions. Meanwhile, the pay for parking godfather has acquired property for a multi level pay for parking garage. The economic viability of which is dependent on the creation of a shortage by city planners. Right now, such a garage would face significant public opposition. But once a few buildings full of people are squeezed into the surrounding neighborhoods streets, the community will beg to sign off on the permits.

Parking will become a market unto itself in many of these urban centers. And the garage operators are depending on the city to put regulations in place to make this so.
@47 has nailed it. Looking at parking without considering the broader context of transpo infrastructure makes parking development costs a bad boy, while the broader issue is the City of Seattle's failure to collect impact fees. The Growth Management Act, enacted in 1990 allows cities and counties to collect impact fees from developers, because growth impacts existing public infrastructure and services. In the broadest sense these include public transit, schools, libraries, parks, public safety, etc. Unfortunately, the City of Seattle has kissed the Chamber's ass forever and ignored the reality that growth never pays for itself. Seattle remains behind the curve in collecting impact fees across the board, and recently shelved linkage fees to replace low and moderate income housing knocked down by the growth bubble we're in because the HALA report is going to take care of that. Right. The city should of course collect feels for impacts on public transit, but in its magical thinking it assumes Uber and car sharing will take care of gridlock by providing people with choices. Taxing ourselves to restore Metro to service levels that existed before Metro slashed service is also two steps back, two steps forward that doesn't really get ourselves where w need to be.

The notion of concurrency is that adequate public facilities should be in place and should be functioning at the locally adopted level of service at the development occurs. The existing level of service for many roads in Seattle during rush hour is F, meaning not only fucked, but the very worst level of functionality. Ditto for state highways and interstates, as evidenced that it now often takes an hour to drive from Seattle to Everett in rush hour. Many other cities of Seattle's size have more than one 14 mile light rail line, and many have a robust subway system with multiple lines. All along during periods of growth Seattle could at least attempted to address its transpo by extracting impact fees for transpo to fund buses, light rail, streetcars (though they totally get stuck in traffic with cars) bike lanes, and yes even SUBWAYS so people would not feel the need to own and drive cars. Sadly, that would have ruffled the delicate feathers of developers, and we are where we are, and it looks like this:


We have a historic chance to elect a Council who gives a shit about something other than currying favor and campaign contribs from developmers and their wealthy minions. So far, less than 10% of registered voters have returned their ballots. Hopefully, that will change by August 4th. It would be great to see the what me care about transpo and affordable (yes, truly affordable to low income and even homeless people) housing? incumbents taken out like the trash they are.
Just because something costs developers money doesn't mean it's bad. They also have to go through costly design review for the architectural aesthetic impact of the building. This cost is also passed along to renters. Should be also jettison design review, in your eyes? What else can we do to help line the pockets of developers?
Interesting article, I hadn't been aware that parking was one of the (obviously many) factors contributing to higher rents.

convincing people to break their attachment to their cars—and the ease with which they can park them—will have to be part of the solution.

Yeah, breaking attachment to cars is a multi-pronged strategy... with the largest prong being that getting around has to be as-easy or easier than driving. Sadly, the 50s mentality of building giant roads and encouraging sprawl with its cul-de-sac bedroom communities and big box stores is a major factor. Currently getting from, say, the Central District to Ballard by bus is well over an hour, while by car it takes around 20-30 minutes. Compare that to London or Paris where you do not need a car at all, and you can cross the entire city in 30 minutes or so. We've built our very infrastructure to require car ownership, and now we are lying in that stinky hydrocarbon bed.

I still don't understand why Seattle didn't start building urban rail --or at least reserving the right-of-ways-- immediately after the World's Fair in 1962. We really missed the train on that one, now we have to retrofit the entire fucking city at great expense. Lack of foresight.
Why would we get rid of design review? That has an obvious purpose and use. Parking minimums are just creating wasted space in a city where space is at a premium. So that's a stupid comparison, unless you're just arguing that we should keep every requirement that costs developers money because fuck 'em.

Also remember that parking minimums apply to public/nonprofit affordable housing projects as well as private ventures. Their budgets feel the hit of wasteful parking requirements as well.
$50k for a parking space = $250/sqft.

Somebody is selling you a hot one...
Although rents are indeed partially set by the market, the number of residential buildings to rent (the supply) is set by (among many factors) the cost of each individual building. The Capitol Hill building in which I now reside was recently constructed, and has two additional levels just for parking. If you tell me those two levels of painted concrete are not adding to my rent, you've got quite a case to make.

If we want more residences in densely-populated, walkable neighborhoods, we should discourage the construction of parking spaces in new apartment buildings. This would tend to increase the number of available homes, without adding to the number of cars.

Why are my Seattle property taxes going to subsidies for car drivers? Get off my roads built for bikes!
@58 Are you saying you do not have a car but you went and rented an apartment in a building that is significantly more than a similar apartment in a building that does not have parking? Why would you go and do that? If instead, curiously enough, your rent is actually very similar to the rent for a similar apartment in a building that does not have parking then I would say it is you who needs to be making the case that parking raises rents.

It seems to me we have a whole lot of confirmation bias in evidence in this article, in the research by Sightline and in these comments. I would suggest that much more likely than raising rents, in an over-priced housing market like we have here, parking reduces margins for developers. This is why developers do not like parking requirements, especially developers who throw up cheap ass buildings.
To everyone in Seattle complaining about rent:

How much money would it take for you to move to (say) Kansas City?

Would you do it for $1000 per month? Keep in mind, you salary will go down about 25% while you are at it.

If you look at household income and rent for 2-br apartment, you actually still have $5k more per year by living in Seattle.

What that all tells me is that rents will continue to go up, regardless of anything. We have high salaries, there is lots of money out there to be spent, on rent, on fancy brunches and $6 coffes and $8 croissants.
@57, actually the cost per sq. ft. is more like $143. You have to allocate a share of driveway lanes to each parking stall. It's been a while but developers used to figure 350 sq. ft. per stall when the necessary access is included.
"The cost of building one parking stall in residential garages is estimated to be between $20,000 and $50,000."

One, you'd have to pencil out that statement for me because it sounds very inflated.

"(There's also the question of whether developers would lower rents even if they could afford to.)"

Two,very funny. "even if they could afford to" should be "even if they want to" - which they don't.

"The magic of that is it breaks apart the local political coalition," Durning explained. "

Note to Mr. Durning - who seems to be the Mayor's "godfather" of housing (a la Tim Burgess), we are having NEIGHBORHOOD elections precisely because we don't want to break up our local political coalitions.
Why at $250/sq (or even $143/sq) those are aPodment prices!
@58 Are you saying you do not have a car but you went and rented an apartment in a building that is significantly more than a similar apartment in a building that does not have parking? Why would you go and do that?

Because there were other, more significant, factors involved. (In fact, I moved out of a building which had no off-street parking.) Only in Econ 101 textbooks is price the only factor in such a decision.

$50k for a parking space = $250/sqft.

There are 20 parking spaces on each of the two levels. If the cost of adding a level is $1M, then each space did indeed cost $50K.

Get off my roads built for bikes!

Preach it, brother! :-D

The obvious solution is to permit the renting of parking spaces to tent campers for a hundred bucks a month with construction work site portapotty requirements.The city and/or private do-gooders could supply vouchers to our poor and oppressed and illegal aliens from around the world.
@65 If there were 'more significant factors involved' then we are not comparing two similar apartments.
Please. Prices are set by supply and demand, not by building cost. When supply is high and/or demand is low then prices fall, when supply is low and/or demand is high then prices rise.

Seattle is a desirable location for a lot of people and as the author said people are moving there and the population is increasing. This means demand is high and they can raise prices as long as there's people wanting to move there that can afford it. If people were moving out of Seattle then prices would be going down to draw people in and fill the housing up. There's at least a couple things that can be about this. One, introduce rent controls and two, build more housing than what's required to meet demand thereby increasing supply.

Besides, eliminating off-street parking will only congest what little parking there is elsewhere which will drive away customers of local businesses and renters alike.
Two interesting takeaways: Seattle essentially no longer requires parking in most (virtually all?) areas zoned for multifamily housing. The parking that is being provided is because the developers/financiers perceive a market need.

The unused parking statistic came from King County. Well, that's completely different. If you go to Kent or Redmond, you're going to come across those large multibuilding apartment complexes that have to have a fair number of spare spaces for visitors, delivery, service people, etc. I expect that's where most of the "unused" space actually is. The one example in town (Velo) showed that "parking" spaces can actually be converted to valuable bicycle (and probably motorcycle or other) storage.

If Amazon collapsed tomorrow and the 20,000 or 30,000 $100K/yr tech bro jobs vanished overnight, you wouldn't be talking about the cost of parking having any effect whatsoever on rents.
@65 Glad to see you bought into it hook line and sinker.
@ Mr. X, Do you not understand the report that you linked to? Your report shows that you are wrong. While bike riders as a percentage of total traffic decreased from 3.3% to 3.1%, the total traffic increased from 182,057 to 205,077. So your report shows that bike ridership went UP 5% between 2012 and 2014.

And since you seem to think that King5 is a great source, how do you explain this report from just last week (not 5 months ago) that states that bike ridership along 2nd Avenue has TRIPLED since the installation of the bike lane? http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/se…

It seems to me that you are the one full of BS
You morons know that supply = cost incurred by the least efficient (highest cost/unit) supplier, right? No? Shocking...

State school rubes
Extend the light rail lines to Everett and Tacoma. These are cities ripe with opportunity and cheap housing. Not everyone will be able to afford Seattle. Get in now if you can (see my < $200k Seattle house example). If I had to move to the Bay Area, I'd probably pick somewhere in Oakland. SF would not even cross my mind given it's cost. Service workers who do not want to take two trains into to Seattle for their shifts can refuse to work there and take similar jobs near their new cities. Help will then be in short supply in Seattle, and service job hourly rates will go up.
@35, yes, when you remove 2,000 spots, mostly in the Greater Downtown neighborhoods, and a whole shitload of them on Second for instance, there begins to be a parking issue at the expense of the bike riders.
Sure, why not? The housing crisis is caused by overregulation and somehow specifically this one parking regulation is the biggest offender.

It has nothing to do with a huge influx of highly paid workers, 40 years of stagnation in middle class incomes, real estate speculation, or generational change in the desirability of cities.

Seriously, was this paper bought by developers, or does the ghost of Milton Friedman haunt your offices or something?

Urban redevelopment benefits poor people of color!!! Deregulation will solve all our social problems!! Jeb!
Outstanding. Thank you. Remarkable how many people think you cam turn a reactionary argument -- that non-drivers should be made to subsidize car storage for drivers -- simply by demonizing developers. Those doubting to 20-50k figure should pick up Shoup's book and learn. He gives a clear explanation and breakdown of the cost of various kinds of parking.
@ Mr. X, You wrote wrote @44 that bike use downtown is down. You were wrong. When you were called on your BS you provided a link to a report that proved that you were wrong.

I'm not putting words in your mouth at all. Simply pointing out that the claims that you're trying to make are total BS and that the evidence that YOU provided proves that you're full of BS.
Urban warfare. Sigh. I'm not sure why there must be such extremes in these discussion. If you want to remove parking minimums, then you need to look at what are the modes, frequency, and reliability of transportation alternates. It makes sense in dense urban core like Capitol Hill and downtown where Matt Griffin lives, to adjust the minimums down. These areas are flushed with many transportation modes, including walking if you work downtown. Renting a car2go is easy because they are right there. You don't even have to own a bike, just rent one. It's ideal.

That scenario is limited to small cores within Seattle. I would think when these proposals are set forth by the august HALA 28, they are looking at the whole city infrastructure in their planning. Not just at one note - the cost of building one parking lot.

Prof.Shoup study is interesting and makes a good case. However, what it doesn't reveal (I've haven't been able to find it so far) is the analysis in comparing cost of building infrastructure to provide and maintain alternative modes of transportation to cost of building parking spot. This is where real world butts in.

A study published in 2010 looked at parking needs and cost in 2 communities: Redmond and Capitol Hill. the study authors takes great note that public transit and walkability are important factors to consider when making planning decision.


Can we please have a bit of that can do, common sense, we are in this together approach here? The HALA recommendations come off more as a wish or demand list. They lack nuance and context to all the moving parts which citizens of this city must live with everyday. I think that is why people are so up in arms. These recommendations assume a certain static condition to be the same for all neighborhoods.

Can we take a pause on HALA and include more neighborhood inputs along with infrastructure appraisal so we have a sensible, workable, and livable plan?

Oops, sorry, that should be parking spot, not lot. And for the bad grammar.
Reducing parking is fine, as long as there is adequate and affordable mass transit. Which there is not. Not even close. Try getting from one neighborhood to another in Seattle.

My time has value, and if a fifteen minute commute turns into a 1-hour bus ride with transfers, then my work day increases by over an hour and a half. That's not right. Plus, if I have to carry 50 pounds of tools or bring a lively Labrador Retriever to work, mass transit is not an option.

And not everyone is able to ride a bike.
Ahh the sad happeniing in the Autohaulic city of See-Little (return on your investment). I moved to this place in the early 90s but knew quite quickly the city would be nothing more than a wasteful wannabe of Gassholes and potholes! the city shall never work because there is no way to get from one place to another because of the mass addiction to the gasshole mentality. Hills prevent the fat from walking and the autohailcs thirst for blood before the red light changes shall always shun off the bikers. the buses can never gain a postion in traffic and thus now the only hope is streetside trains big enough to edge their way onto the assfault. good luck SeeLittles i had to leave to find greener pastures and a bit more sensible life....oh and i surely dont miss the poorlice patrols biting on anything that crosses theri path!!the bloodthirst that drives them is far worse than that of the ave autohaulic for sure!!!
@85 even more can't drive a car, by a large degree. Roughly 20% of the population is under 16 - That's not even counting those over 16 who don't have a license.

So if you want to tell me that, say, 25% of the population is too disabled to ride a bike, you've got an argument. Of course, that's not true, so, you know, your point is invalid.
33/jack: Though I will admit you got me curious so I just searched on Redfin and currently there is exactly ONE single family house in the city limits for under 200k. A tiny and hideous fixer being sold "as is" in Highland Park.

One single family house in the city limits for under 200k on the market. There are likely many single family homes under $200K within the city limits of Seattle; it's just that they're currently not on the market. I don't know how accurate the prices on Zillow are but I presume they're reasonably accurate. I live in Upper Rainier Beach and, on just my block, Zillow lists five houses for under $200K. They're all small (probably "tiny" to you) and a couple of them could use some work but only one is pretty hideous (although it has a huge yard.)

However, it's not just the size. It's location location location. If these same houses were in Wallingford or Ballard, they'd be valued at far more. If a person/couple wants to live in a desirable neighborhood, where everyone wants to live, they're gonna have to pay a lot more.
...developers charge to rent an apartment has less to do with a building's cost than it does with what the market is willing to pay...

Why don't more people Crowdsource the construction of apartment buildings?

Think about it. Say you don't want to own a home. And you don't want the pseudo-ownership of a condo. What you really want is a low cost apartment to be available.

Since the Syndicate is not going to put more units on the market and decrease their monopoly.

100,000 sounds like a lot of people, but you could accommodate them easily with 100 new apartment complexes of the low rise suburban type I live in...or the high rise types you build in downtown.

With the right property tax structure, you could force building on prime lands like the Lake Washington waterfront by making it too pricey to maintain a mansion or large plot home.
This is one of the most cherry-picked, nonsensical articles I've ever read. Skipping the falsehoods, I'll ask the deal-breaker question the author didn't: how many of the "Get rid of parking" people interviewed for this article can be found standing in the rain in January waiting for a bus to take them to work?

I'm guessing: "0"

When hypocrites talk, I hear dead air.
Just throwing in my 2 cents. I started commuting to work downtown by bike a year ago. I work at a large Seattle company with a good income. And I will be damned if I drive my car downtown and pay $100-200 per month for a spot in a garage. What an absolute waste of money! I can afford it, but it's just STUPID. And this is on top of the cost of gas, and car maintenance if you want to go that far. I can take the bus (and sometimes do), but it actually takes longer than commuting by bike. About 30 minutes to get from west Seattle to downtown. That's about on par with driving a car, AND without the cost. It's just not worth my time or money to drive downtown, even on the weekends. Ultimately, people are stuck in their cars. They would be SO SURPRISED to see how truly short it actually is to bike instead of drive any given distance in Seattle.
On that note, the worst part of my commute is when I get downtown. I don't really use the 2nd ave bike lane bc my route doesn't involve it, but wow I wish there were bike lanes on every road. There are times I think that it's only a matter of time before I get run over or hit because it's so dangerous for cyclists. Downtown is a total sh*t show. Take away parking downtown. It worked on me, pushing me out of my car & forcing me to find an alternative, and I'm glad it did. Hope all u downtown drivers have fun continuously b*tching about lack of parking (and the bad traffic) downtown
@42-I can't follow your argument.

First, you claim that "[h]ousing costs are high because of real estate being used as an investment rather than as a place for living." But then you argue that investors won't rent housing out because of "what little they could get in rent." I'm not sure how much appreciation you think investors are getting on their homes, but consider a house purchased for $500,000 in a middle-range neighborhood. Taxes and insurance will run close to $6,000/year on that. Let's say that it appreciates to $600,000 in 5 years. In that time, taxes and insurance (ignoring upkeep) will eat 30% of that gain. Even at the long-term capital gains rate, another $15k is gone. And then pay 6% = $36,000 to sell it and you have made a handsome $19,000 on your half-million dollar investment.

NO ONE is going to see that as sensible. They can and do rent the house out in the interim, because it makes no financial sense not to. Let's say that house rents for $1800/month (a steal in this market). In the same 5 years, you have now taken in about $100k in rent (allowing for a bit of vacant time). who in their right mind would not choose to rent the place out?

"As I look around, there are hundreds...thousands...of empty homes around here, some on the market for months and years." Where are these houses? You can't "looking around" in Seattle.

Bottom line is that houses only make sense as investments if they ARE used as "places for living." Are landlords in the business to make money? Sure (do you go to work for free every day?) Some of them are even greedy. But they aren't morons, and they sure as hell aren't driving up your rent by holding properties off the rental market.
90 comments from people who think the City runs the buses, arguing over verifiable facts, and whatever bailo is blathering about. The click-bait seems to have worked.
$50K a parking space amortized over the 100 year lifespan of a residential building is $42 a month -- chump change for accommodating 21st Century personal transportation. Loving bike parking, but silly to believe non-motorized 2-wheeled vehicles are statistically relevant in traffic alleviation calculations. Even sillier to re-build cities around 19 Century streetcar thinking when society is moving toward on-demand/on-location services. The internal combustion engine is going away. Safe and convenient owned personal transportation is not.
My time has value, and if a fifteen minute commute turns into a 1-hour bus ride with transfers, then my work day increases by over an hour and a half. That's not right.

Sounds like you're a good candidate for car ownership. That's fine! Just pay for storing it yourself, and stop asking the government to force non-drivers to subsidize your choices.
@92, --- @42 was entirely correct!!!!

You are exhibiting a complete lack of knowledge of finance (specifically fantasy finance or structured finace) as practised today in Amerika. You are citing a small number of the facts, not all of the financial facts available, otherwise Blackstone Group would not have been the number one landlord in the USA last year (may still be, I haven't kept up with whether they've sold off some of those housing tracts they purchased).

This article was sponsored by the Community Development Roundtable for your reading pleasure

Remember, you can ALWAYS trust realtors and developers, they are ONLY looking after your best interests:


@92, suggest you visit the IRS site and read their extensive procedures in profiting from property depreciation.
@97-99: ayy lmao
Born and raised in Seattle, I moved to Chicago about 4 years ago because of the onslaught of gentrification going on and the blandness that was incorporated it. With the Jambox gone, original Funhouse, Two Bit Saloon, the original Comet, and the remodel of the Croc (it was better as a shitty dive)... I have no real reason to go back and don't want to. (I think that only leaves the Highline and Chop Suey) The demographic has changed and is completely tech oriented. I would rather not subjugate myself to people who work 70 hour work weeks to maintain a standard of living and drink too much on the weekends alienating all the service people who want to survive. The growth in Seattle is surprising because we get 9 months of grey... If that's something you want, then feel free. I'd rather take shitty weather to maintain a level of living than live in a shitty weathered area with shitty people. Honestly, when you leave, you'll notice that it's depressing until you go somewhere with sun. Yes, the outdoors are amazing, but only for about 4 months out of the year. Any original born and raised PNW will tell you that. Honestly... This city is becoming a metropolis for those who want to live some fantasy lifestyle that only exists with exuberance. It's a facade. And honestly it's sad for me because if I want to go back home to join the generations of family who've been there since 1865, I can't.... I can't even afford to buy some Ivar's Clam Chowder.... Thanks a lot you techie takeovers...

Starting to regret that Philosophy degree?
This article was SO maddening that, despite the 102 other commenters, I had to add my voice. Other folks have already enumerated the many ways you f'd this article up, so I won't rehash those. I've been renting right in the middle of the Pike/Pine corridor for years and have had my rents spike with everyone else's -independent of any parking (I just moved from the 110 year old building that houses the Wildrose for christ sake, which had no parking at all). I'm on The Stranger's side that we need more public transit infrastructure and less parking spaces, but it's absolutely galling to read on your pages how the poor developers are being forced to build parking spots that they can't seem to rent (at $195/month in my current building!). If you expect us to believe for a second that the outrageous rent hikes we are experiencing are tied to parking spaces, it's just another example of lost credibility and you have to ask yourself why should your readers believe any of the actually important stuff you print. Thanks for reading.
That soo many Seattleites are underpaid is a fact that should not be overlooked ( when discussing housing issues), nor should the influence Wall Street has on policy makers ( many of whom own stocks and will eventually return to the "Private" Sector) .

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