In 2004, the Seattle City Council designated the South Lake Union Neighborhood as one of the City’s six Urban Centers. This designation reflected the recent growth in both jobs and housing in the neighborhood and signified that South Lake Union will continue to receive a regionally significant share of growth in the future. Since 2004, we have updated the South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan, worked with the community to develop the South Lake Union Urban Design Framework, and developed an incentive zoning ordinance that was adopted by the City Council in 2013.
Through the incentive zoning program, projects may gain extra floor area or height by providing affordable housing and participating in a regional transfer of development rights program. This program will provide capacity for up to 12,000 households and 22,000 new jobs over the next 20 years. This program is expected to generate approximately $45 million for affordable housing and $27 million in new infrastructure investments, and will preserve 25,000 acres of rural farm and forest land over the next 25 years.