Uptown: Framework for the Future

What's Happening Now?

Uptown Neighborhood Design Guidelines - State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination Published

In 2018 we worked with the Uptown Alliance Land Use Review Committee to prepare an update to the Uptown Neighborhood Design Guidelines. We shared Draft design guidelines with the broader community in Spring 2018. We refined the design guidelines based on input from the community and expert review by other City staff. We are now preparing legislation to adopt the updated design guidelines.

On November 13, 2018, we published the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Determination of Non-Significance Draft Ordinance, Draft Uptown Neighborhood Design Guidelines and a Director's Report.

The updated Uptown Neighborhood Design Guidelines will provide design guidance that reflects the recent. Multi-year planning effort that resulted in the 2016 Uptown Urban Design Framework and the 2017 Uptown Rezoning. These design guidelines will be used by the Design Review Board in reviewing proposed projects in the Uptown Urban Center, and will supplement the Citywide Design Guidelines. The overarching goal of Design Guidelines, and the Design Review Program is to foster design excellence in new multifamily and commercial projects.

What's Next?

It is anticipated that the City Council will consider this update in early 2019.

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.

Project Timeline

  • June 2014 
    First community design charrette (see the charrette notes)
  • September 2014
    Second community design charrette
  • November 2014
    Third (and final) community design charrette
  • October 2015
    Publish draft Urban Design Framework
    Public workshop for review and comment
  • December 2015
    Publish final Urban Design Framework
  • Spring 2016
    Release Draft Rezone Environmental Impact Statement
  • Fall 2016
    Release Final Rezone Environmental Impact Statement
    Release Draft Rezone Recommendation
  • September 2017
    Council adopts new Uptown Zoning and resolution
  • January 2018
    Work on Neighborhood Design Guidelines Update, Historic Resources Survey and Republican Street Streetscape Concept Plan begin
  • April 2018
    Released Draft Neighborhood Design Guidelines
    Hosted a What's New in North Downtown Community Open House
  • Fall 2018
    Send updated Neighborhood Design Guidelines to City Council
  • Early 2019
    Council Adopts updated Uptown Neighborhood Design Guidelines