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King County seeks new proposals to build affordable housing on Metro property near future Northgate light rail station

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King County seeks new proposals to build affordable housing on Metro property near future Northgate light rail station


King County on Tuesday began a new search for a team of developers to transform publicly-owned land at Metro’s Northgate Park-and-Ride into a mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood with 200 or more units of affordable housing near the Link light rail station scheduled to open in 2021.


King County issued a Request for Qualifications/Concepts that seeks proposals by 2 p.m. on October 29.

The Equitable Transit Oriented Development (ETOD) project will include at least 200 units of long-term affordable housing and be funded in part by $10 million from King County and $10 million from the city of Seattle.

King County and the City of Seattle have worked together to craft a vision for a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood around the future light rail station. Metro’s property presents a prime opportunity to further that vision with affordable housing and transportation options for families, workers and others.

The new RFQ/C requires a market rate developer to offer a dedicated site on the park-and-ride property to a subsidized affordable housing developer at no cost in order to build the required affordable housing. The County has identified this as the timeliest way to meet its goal of maximizing the affordable and market rate housing onsite, while also meeting the objectives of state law drafted to encourage more affordable housing options on public property. This approach also provides developers with greater certainty about land costs.

The RFQ/C seeks to include the following elements:

  • A minimum of 200 units of subsidized affordable housing on a dedicated site that will serve households earning up to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) for at least 50 years.
  • A minimum of 20 units (10 percent of the subsidized units) must be “system-connected” – serving very low to extremely low income households below 50 percent AMI.
  • No vesting until at least May 30, 2019 to allow for the City of Seattle’s adoption of new zoning in conjunction with Mandatory Housing Affordability requirements for Northgate.
  • Equitable Transit Oriented uses - multi-family residential, retail, transit supportive uses.
  • Approximately 10,000 square foot east/west pedestrian-bicycle corridor easement to support transit in perpetuity.
  • Delivery of housing as soon as possible for a range of households including families.
  • Ground plane activation.
  • Inclusion of amenities to support low-income residents.
  • Sustainability.
  • Racially just and inclusive development that prevents gentrification.
  • Maximization of density to the extent supported by the market.  

The RFQ/C is posted online for potentially interested development teams from around the country.

Next steps

County staff plan to review responses to the RFQ/C and select a development team by November 28. This will launch negotiations for the transfer of the Metro property. The RFQ/C outlines an expectation for delivery of affordable housing around the time of the opening of the new Northgate light rail station in 2021, but the development and construction schedule would need to be proposed by the development team.


The Northgate project builds on King County’s commitment to promote transit-oriented development, which includes the Village at Overlake Station in Redmond, and the award-winning project at South Kirkland.

Creating mixed-use neighborhoods that are connected to transit centers is part of King County’s strategic plan to encourage a growing and diverse economy and vibrant, thriving, and sustainable communities.