University of Washington Gets Approval for Major Expansion
A ten-year vision to accommodate another 7,000 students and staff, the UW's expansion plans call for 6 million square feet of new construction. Seattle City Council has approved the plan this month, Daniel Beekman writes, after preliminary approval in September.
The plan includes an "innovation district" made up of "high rises there where students and researchers can partner with companies, governments and nonprofits to start new projects and businesses." Towers as tall as 17 stories may rise in the vicinity of the medical center.
City Council approval came with a stipulation that "the university must have no more than 12 percent of students and employees commute by driving alone by 2028," strengthening the university original proposal of 15 percent.
Another condition previously required the university to build at least 450 units of affordable housing for low-wage employees. The UW subsequently agreed to do so as long as the construction was treated as voluntary. One councilmember, Kshama Sawant, approved the plan but called 450 units a "paltry number when you consider the actual need."