South Lake Union

  • Public Engagement
  • Public Review
  • Final Report
  • Council Process
  • Final Decision

What’s Happening Now?

We are working with the South Lake Union community to prepare an update to the South Lake Union Neighborhood Design Guidelines. The purpose of this update is to provide design guidance that reflects the substantial change in the neighborhood since 2005 when the current design guidelines were approved, include new direction recommended by neighborhood stakeholders through the South Lake Union Urban Design Framework process, and provide guidance in the application of new development standards adopted as part of the 2013 South Lake Union rezone legislation. These design guidelines will be used by the Design Review Board in reviewing proposed projects in the South Lake Union Urban Center. The South Lake Union Neighborhood Design Guidelines are supplemental to the Citywide Design Guidelines. The overarching goal of the City-wide design guidelines, and the Design Review Program is to foster design excellence in new multifamily and commercial projects.

Next Steps

It is anticipated that the City Council will consider this update Spring of 2018.


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.

2013 Schedule

Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program

  • July 8
    Legislation Introduced to Council
  • July 10
    Seattle Council PLUS Committee Discussion
  • July 23 or 30
    King County Council Budget Committee Discussion
  • August 14
    Seattle Council PLUS Committee Hearing
  • August 20
    King County Council Budget Committee Vote
  • August 24
    Seattle Council PLUS Committee Discussion
  • August 28
    King County Full Council Vote
  • September 11 or 19
    Seattle Council PLUS Committee Vote
  • September 16 or 23
    Seattle Council Full Council Vote