Uptown: Framework for the Future

Uptown Neighborhood Outline
We are developing a collaborative vision of Uptown that will guide growth and development towards a walkable, livable, healthy, and vibrant neighborhood.

What's Happening Now?

We are conducting an environmental review of three potential rezone scenarios in the Uptown Urban Center. We identified these rezone alternatives as part of the Uptown Urban Design Framework process and are studying the potential impacts of potential height increases through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

You may now view and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS considers three alternatives that evaluate a range of building heights developed in collaboration with the community:

  1. “No Action” alternative maintains current zoning and building heights for the dozens of parcels in the neighborhood that are expected to be redeveloped, but does not include new neighborhood-specific design and development standards to guide that growth.
  2. “Mid-rise” alternative has with five- to seven-story buildings that would include mandatory housing affordability requirements, along with new Uptown design standards.
  3. “High-rise” alternative features taller, thinner, more widely spaced 16-story buildings in areas of the Uptown Urban Center, also including mandatory contributions to housing affordability and the neighborhood design standards.

These alternatives are not zoning proposals, and any actual proposal could be a composite of the three recommendations.

We co-hosted an open house and public hearing on August 4 at the Seattle Center Armory. Attendees had an opportunity to learn more about the alternatives, ask questions, and provide public comment. The upcoming Seattle Center and Uptown Strategic Parking Study, the emerging Uptown Arts & Cultural District, citywide housing affordability policies, and proposed transit improvements were among the other topics.

Written public comment can be submitted until September 1 by writing to Jim Holmes.

We will prepare a final EIS once the DEIS comment period ends on September 1. Any legislation that increases height limits in the Uptown Urban Center will be the result of conversations with the community. There will be more opportunities for public participation. We expect that any legislation will not be acted on before 2017.

Project Benefits


  • Foster leadership and collaboration between the community, City staff, and other local organizations
  • Engage a broad constituency in the neighborhood, including traditionally underrepresented populations
  • Assess opportunities for improving connectivity around Uptown
  • Recommend opportunities for community improvements around ongoing planning and capital investment efforts in the area
  • Physical and cultural integration of Seattle Center with the surrounding neighborhood
  • Strategic organizing around business district health and development

As Uptown grows, we want to encourage:

  • Diversity in household type and affordability
  • Investment in the neighborhood
  • Support for local business year-round
  • Employment to bring people to the neighborhood during the day
  • Living and working without a car
  • A vibrant and safe public environment

The End Result

We will develop a collaborative vision of Uptown that describes how the physical development of the area can positively affect quality of life, recognizing the role that place-making and urban design play in creating a walkable, livable, healthy, and vibrant neighborhood.

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