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Chapter Fourteen: Seattle's Neighborhoods

Seattle is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own individual character, perks and amenities. Understanding the personality and opportunities each neighborhood offers is critical to finding the right space, whether you are looking for a work studio, live/work space, rehearsal space, office space or performance space. This chapter provides general neighborhood resources and detailed information on each of Seattle's neighborhoods.

The majority of information found in this chapter is from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website, additional information was obtained from the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development and the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development.

With nearly 145 square miles of cityscape, Seattle has something for everyone. Some neighborhoods initially seem too far from the local art scene and other artistic activity, while others may provide an abundance of resources at an astronomical price. Despite our attempt to include as much information as possible, the best way to get a true feeling for any of these communities is to walk or drive the streets and talk to area residents and business owners. This, combined with your own exploration, will help you decide if a neighborhood meets your needs.

This first section of this chapter identifies general resources that will help you navigate issues such as transportation, safety, districts, and pricing to allow you to easily compare and contrast features of each neighborhood. The Neighborhood Profile section provides neighborhood boundaries, a description of the neighborhood as described in the official neighborhood plan and examples of arts organizations that currently occupy space in each neighborhood.

TIP: Take advantage of existing community resources such as area business owner, residents and neighborhood service centers to learn more about a neighborhood.

General Neighborhood Information

There are several important features and resources in each of Seattle's neighborhoods that is important for you to consider while searching for space.

Transportation

Access to transportation is an important consideration in your search for space. Not only do you and other artists, performers, and employees need adequate access to transportation it is incredibly important for audience members, patrons, or customers. It becomes especially important if you are moving from an area of high population and arts density to an area of lower population and arts density because your new space needs to be easily accessible even if the space has adequate space for parking. If your space restricts access you or your organization may falter or fail. Currently in Seattle the development of light rail may provide opportunities to create or refurbish spaces in communities that are becoming accessible and therefore are normally more affordable as the neighborhood begins the gentrification and or development process. The two main transportation providers in the Seattle area are King County Metro and Sound transit. Visit their websites to research route maps, fares, and trip planners at: King County Metro:http://metro.kingcounty.gov/ and Sound Transit at: http://www.soundtransit.org/

Safety

Safety is a concern for obvious reasons, not only do you want to feel secure that you, your belongings and art are safe in a space - if you have audience members or patrons visiting our space you want to provide a safe place for them to come. Sometimes more affordable spaces are located in neighborhoods that may be or may appear to be less safe then other more expensive neighborhoods. It is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others. The Seattle Police Department website offers several valuable tools. They have crime statistics based upon zip code and also offer tips to decrease the likelihood of criminal activity. Visit their website at: http://www.cityofseattle.net/Police/. The most valuable tool to evaluate safety is your own gut feeling, when you visit neighborhoods listen to your feelings about the neighborhood and space. Additionally, talk with neighbors and people in the community they oftentimes provide an invaluable resource.

Miscellaneous City of Seattle Resources:

There are several programs/tools offered by the City of Seattle that may assist you in your space hunt in a variety of ways -

  • Office of Economic Development - Business Development Districts: OED's Neighborhood Business District Program promotes a healthy business environment for neighborhood business districts and business organizations, and is designed to help grow and strengthen the business community in its respective neighborhoods. OED funds projects and activities to improve business districts, including capital improvements, farmers markets, and training for business group members. OED also supports a variety of low interest real estate loans. For more information on OED programs, visit their website: http://www.seattle.gov/economicdevelopment/n_c_devt.htm
  • Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation: DON manages historic preservation in Seattle and has designated six historical districts, in addition they have inventoried historic space in Seattle. Visit their website at: http://www.cityofseattle.net/neighborhoods/preservation
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation: The parks and recreation department manages the placement of art and have recently developed a strategic plan for arts which may prove helpful in understanding the future of arts in particular areas. Visit their website at: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Arts/default.htm
  • Cultural Overlay District: The Cultural Overlay District Advisory Committee made recommendations to the City Council in September 2008 for the development of Cultural Overlay Districts. This clearly may prove to be a valuable resource depending upon how the recommendations are implemented. Visit the CODAC website for more information at http://www.seattle.gov/council/codac/default.htm.

Real Estate Information

Residential

With few exceptions, Seattle real estate prices are rising rapidly. In 2006, 53 of the 86 neighborhoods in King County had a median home price of $350,000 or more. And Seattle average home prices in many neighborhoods are well above the $400,000 mark.

Home prices in Seattle neighborhoods with prestige will cost a pretty penny, as these 2004 median prices will tell you. Madison Park's median price range was $905,000 and Laurelhurst wasn't at $600,000. Queen Anne - with its beautiful views - had a median price range of $500,000 and private Magnolia ran in the $700,000 range.

If you're on a budget and still wish to buy a home in Seattle, don't despair. There are neighborhoods with more affordable home prices in Seattle. But you'll need to look south of downtown to find them. South Seattle real estate prices in communities like Beacon Hill, Rainier Beach, and Georgetown had a 2006 median price in the $340,000 to $390,000 range.

Rental prices vary widely across the city, but the average month's rent for a one bedroom apartment in 2008 was $730.

Commercial/Industrial

Price per square feel varies widely in the commercial and industrial markets. It is best to hire a Real Estate broker with substantial commercial/residential experience to help you negotiate a fair lease or purchase price. Visit Chapter 7 & Chapter 8 for detailed Real Estate Information.

Neighborhood Profiles

Seattle is a city compromised of many neighborhoods each with their own unique character and amenities. While there is some discrepancy as to how neighborhoods are identified and categorized for the purpose of this manual the DON neighborhood plans will serve as the template for neighborhood identification.

Neighborhood Geographic Location

This section is intended to serve as a starting point for your neighborhood search. The 38 neighborhoods are divided into 6 geographic categories, Northeast, Northwest, City-west, City-east, Southwest, Southeast. As previously mentioned the best way to research neighborhoods is to go to the neighborhood, walk around and talk to residents. To begin narrowing down neighborhoods you are interested in looking for space a good starting point is the neighborhood plans. These plans have been an ongoing process between the neighborhoods and the City of Seattle. The plans are a good resource because they give an overview of the character of the neighborhood as well as the goals for growth and development. Visit these neighborhood plan links to begin your search: http://www.cityofseattle.net/neighborhoods/npi/factsheets/

http://www.cityofseattle.net/neighborhoods/npi/plans.htm

Northeast Neighborhoods:

  • Broadview Bitterlake/Haller Lake
  • Aurora Lichton Springs
  • Crown Hill - Ballard Hub Urban Village
  • Greenwood - Phinney Ridge Residential Urban Village
  • Greenlake Residential Urban Village
  • Wallingford Residential Urban Village
  • Fremont Hub Urban Village

Northwest Neighborhoods:

  • Lake City Hub Urban Village
  • Northgate Urban Center
  • Roosevelt Residential Urban Village
  • University Community Urban Center

City-west Neighborhoods:

  • Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing Industrial Center
  • Queen Anne Residential Urban Village
  • Uptown Urban Center
  • Belltown Urban Center Village
  • Pike/Pine Center Village
  • Eastlake Residential Urban Village
  • South Lake Union Hub Urban Village
  • Denny Triangle
  • Commercial Core
  • First Hill Urban Center
  • Pioneer Square Urban Center
  • Chinatown - International District Urban Center

City-east Neighborhoods

  • Capitol Hill Urban Center
  • Central Area

Southwest Neighborhoods

  • Admiral Residential Urban Village
  • West Seattle Hub Urban Village
  • Duwamish Manufacturing Industrial Center
  • Delridge Neighborhood Plan Area
  • Georgetown
  • Morgan Junction Residential Urban Village
  • South Park Residential Urban Village
  • West-wood Highland Park Residential Urban Village

Southeast Neighborhoods

  • North Beacon Hill Residential Urban Village
  • North Rainier Hub Urban Village
  • Columbia City
  • MLK @ Holly Street
  • Rainier Beach Residential Urban Village

Neighborhood Resources

After you have determined the neighborhoods you are interested in pursuing, the DON website offers an excellent resource on their website. It is an interactive map that allows you search for a variety of information such as arts and recreation, community, education, parks, permits, public safety, transportation and utilities. The breakdown of the neighborhoods is slightly different from the above categorization, and is divided into 13 sections. Each of section corresponds to the above geographic categorization. Some on the neighborhoods are listed individually such as Ballard due to the high concentration of amenities as well as its larger geographic footprint. Visit the link on the DON website at: http://web1.seattle.gov/MNM/ Also, visit the neighborhood service center closest to your prospective space to access valuable neighborhood centric resources. To find the closest Neighborhood Service Center, visit the DON website: http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc/.



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