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Seattle Incentive Zoning Program can help developers make most of space

In Seattle, commercial real estate development can be lucrative, but it can also be very challenging. Making the most out of every available opportunity can be the difference between a successful project and a failure. One potential opportunity available to developers in Seattle is the Incentive Zoning Program.

By making allowances for affordable housing, developers can exceed certain limitations

Zoning rules in Seattle prevent developers from exceeding certain base height or floor area ratio limits. However, under the Incentive Zoning Program, structures can be built with a greater capacity than would otherwise be allowable.

The Incentive Zoning Program is available for residential and non-residential developers. To take advantage of the program, residential developers working in an eligible zone with a maximum height limit of 85 feet have to include a small portion of affordable housing units. These units are meant primarily for moderate-wage workers. For rental spaces, the units must be within the price range of households with incomes at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income. For ownership spaces, the standard is 100 percent of Area Median Income.

In lieu of creating affordable housing spaces themselves, non-residential or high-rise residential developers in some zones are eligible to participate in the Incentive Zoning Program by making a cash contribution to the City to be used for the purposes of funding affordable housing.

In return for including affordable housing units in their project or making a contribution to the City for affordable units, developers get additional floor area above and beyond the floor area ratio or base height limits. Even if a developer does not wish to exercise the option to exceed the limits on a current project, there may be the potential for Transferable Development Rights; excess development rights which can be sold to other developers or moved from one location to another.

Contact an experienced Seattle real estate development lawyer

While the Incentive Zoning Program can be great for developers, a recent consultant study found that most Seattle developers are not utilizing the program to increase development capacity. This extra development capacity can give a substantial boost to the bottom line of a project.

If your real estate development company needs assistance in taking advantage of the Incentive Zoning Program or dealing with other legal issues concerning real estate development, you need experienced, professional representation. A Seattle real estate development lawyer can help make your project work. Bring your real estate development issue to a lawyer today, and ensure that your project is set up for success.