Seattle is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own individual character, perks and amenities. Understanding the personality and opportunities each neighborhood offers is critical to finding the right space, whether you are looking for a work studio, live/work space, rehearsal space, office space or performance space. This chapter provides general neighborhood resources and detailed information on each of Seattle's neighborhoods.
The majority of information found in this chapter is from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website, additional information was obtained from the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development and the City of Seattle Office of Planning & Community Development.
With nearly 145 square miles of cityscape, Seattle has something for everyone. Some neighborhoods initially seem too far from the local art scene and other artistic activity, while others may provide an abundance of resources at an astronomical price. Despite our attempt to include as much information as possible, the best way to get a true feeling for any of these communities is to walk or drive the streets and talk to area residents and business owners. This, combined with your own exploration, will help you decide if a neighborhood meets your needs.
This first section of this chapter identifies general resources that will help you navigate issues such as transportation, safety, districts, and pricing to allow you to easily compare and contrast features of each neighborhood. The Neighborhood Profile section provides neighborhood boundaries, a description of the neighborhood as described in the official neighborhood plan and examples of arts organizations that currently occupy space in each neighborhood.
TIP: Take advantage of existing community resources such as area business owner, residents and neighborhood service centers to learn more about a neighborhood.
General Neighborhood Information
There are several important features and resources in each of Seattle's neighborhoods that is important for you to consider while searching for space.
Access to transportation is an important consideration in your search for space. Not only do you and other artists, performers, and employees need adequate access to transportation it is incredibly important for audience members, patrons, or customers. It becomes especially important if you are moving from an area of high population and arts density to an area of lower population and arts density because your new space needs to be easily accessible even if the space has adequate space for parking. If your space restricts access you or your organization may falter or fail. Currently in Seattle the development of light rail may provide opportunities to create or refurbish spaces in communities that are becoming accessible and therefore are normally more affordable as the neighborhood begins the gentrification and or development process. The two main transportation providers in the Seattle area are King County Metro and Sound transit. Visit their websites to research route maps, fares, and trip planners.
Safety is a concern for obvious reasons, not only do you want to feel secure that you, your belongings and art are safe in a space - if you have audience members or patrons visiting our space you want to provide a safe place for them to come. Sometimes more affordable spaces are located in neighborhoods that may be or may appear to be less safe then other more expensive neighborhoods. It is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others. The Seattle Police Department website offers several valuable tools. They have crime statistics based upon zip code and also offer tips to decrease the likelihood of criminal activity. The most valuable tool to evaluate safety is your own gut feeling, when you visit neighborhoods listen to your feelings about the neighborhood and space. Additionally, talk with neighbors and people in the community they oftentimes provide an invaluable resource.
Miscellaneous City of Seattle Resources:
There are several programs/tools offered by the City of Seattle that may assist you in your space hunt in a variety of ways -
Office of Economic Development - Business Development Districts: OED's Neighborhood Business District Program promotes a healthy business environment for neighborhood business districts and business organizations, and is designed to help grow and strengthen the business community in its respective neighborhoods. OED funds projects and activities to improve business districts, including capital improvements, farmers markets, and training for business group members. OED also supports a variety of low interest real estate loans. For more information on OED programs, visit their website: https://www.seattle.gov/office-of-economic-development
Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation: DON manages historic preservation in Seattle and has designated six historical districts, in addition they have inventoried historic space in Seattle. Visit their website at: https://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/historic-preservation
Seattle Parks and Recreation:The parks and recreation department manages the placement of art and have recently developed a strategic plan for arts which may prove helpful in understanding the future of arts in particular areas. Visit their website at: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/Arts/default.htm
The City of Seattle created a program to nurture the presence of arts and culture in neighborhoods through Cultural Districts. The intent in creating these districts is to ensure that the organizations and individuals that give these unique neighborhoods their verve remain healthy and vibrant for future generations. Early cultural districts include Capitol Hill, Uptown, Columbia City and Hillman City, and the Central Area. The website can be found at https://www.seattle.gov/arts/programs/cultural-space/arts-and-cultural-districts
Real Estate Information
Seattle's residential real estate market has been hot for many years, and one of the most competitive markets in the country. Buying a single family home is out of the reach of many people, although some neighborhoods are more affordable than others.
There are some efforts to find alternative ways of financing or owning real estate, some of which can be found in the BASE library. The idea of "accessory dwelling units," where small units are either part of an existing home or as a detached unit, are becoming accepted in jurisdictions across King County. These additional units can help homeowners cover mortgage and tax payments, but the initial cost of constructing the additional unit is often a barrier.
Barriers are also being broken down to allowing cultural uses in single-family homes. Wa-Na-Wari is an example of a cultural space in a single family neighborhood, allowed through a zoning "change of use" permit and a challenging but ultimately successful process with the City.
Price per square feel varies widely in the commercial and industrial markets. It is best to hire a Real Estate broker with substantial commercial/residential experience to help you negotiate a fair lease or purchase price. Visit Chapter 7 & Chapter 8 for detailed Real Estate Information.
Seattle is a city compromised of many neighborhoods each with their own unique character and amenities. While there is some discrepancy as to how neighborhoods are identified and categorized for the purpose of this manual the DON neighborhood plans will serve as the template for neighborhood identification.
Neighborhood Geographic Location
This section is intended to serve as a starting point for your neighborhood search. The 38 neighborhoods are divided into 6 geographic categories, Northeast, Northwest, City-west, City-east, Southwest, Southeast. As previously mentioned the best way to research neighborhoods is to go to the neighborhood, walk around and talk to residents.
Broadview Bitterlake/Haller Lake
Aurora Lichton Springs
Crown Hill - Ballard Hub Urban Village
Greenwood - Phinney Ridge Residential Urban Village
Greenlake Residential Urban Village
Wallingford Residential Urban Village
Fremont Hub Urban Village
Lake City Hub Urban Village
Northgate Urban Center
Roosevelt Residential Urban Village
University Community Urban Center
Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing Industrial Center
Queen Anne Residential Urban Village
Uptown Urban Center
Belltown Urban Center Village
Pike/Pine Center Village
Eastlake Residential Urban Village
South Lake Union Hub Urban Village
First Hill Urban Center
Pioneer Square Urban Center
Chinatown - International District Urban Center
Capitol Hill Urban Center
Admiral Residential Urban Village
West Seattle Hub Urban Village
Duwamish Manufacturing Industrial Center
Delridge Neighborhood Plan Area
Morgan Junction Residential Urban Village
South Park Residential Urban Village
West-wood Highland Park Residential Urban Village
North Beacon Hill Residential Urban Village
North Rainier Hub Urban Village
MLK @ Holly Street
Rainier Beach Residential Urban Village
After you have determined the neighborhoods you are interested in pursuing, the DON website offers an excellent resource on their website. It is an interactive map that allows you search for a variety of information such as arts and recreation, community, education, parks, permits, public safety, transportation and utilities. The breakdown of the neighborhoods is slightly different from the above categorization, and is divided into 13 sections. Each of section corresponds to the above geographic categorization. Some on the neighborhoods are listed individually such as Ballard due to the high concentration of amenities as well as its larger geographic footprint. Visit the neighborhood service center closest to your prospective space to access valuable neighborhood centric resources. To find the closest Neighborhood Service Center, visit the DON website: http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nsc/.