The New Northgate

The New Northgate

A not-so downtown downtown.

“We want the space of suburbia with the amenities of a city, but who can afford that?” wrote Amy Daire for an Insider editorial last year, reviewing popular American neighborhoods.

At the beginning of the year, Fortune magazine predicted that Seattle will be one of the hottest home-buying markets in 2018, as it had already been trending for months prior to that announcement. Mike Rosenberg of the Seattle Times reported in March that home prices in the area have hit record highs, with home prices growing at least 15% not only in King County, but in every surrounding county as well, over the same time last year.  This growth is already having major impacts on both housing development and commercial real estate development in Seattle.

For example, the Northgate area will see a surge of infrastructure and housing development in coming years, a positive sign for incoming tech industry employees and existing Seattlites alike, as well as commercial developers. An often overlooked neighborhood of Seattle proper, Northgate already offers more affordability in housing than more popular Seattle areas, while still offering easy freeway access (I-5, 99) and shopping amenities. With the decline of brick-and-mortar retail however, the local Northgate Mall seems to be less of a draw as a lifestyle amenity for homebuyers than it was in its historical heyday. That may be changing, and soon. The Seattle Department of Transportation closed a public comment period on April 16, 2018, for a pedestrian bridge that is planned to be built over I-5, providing faster access to transit and North Seattle College from the Northgate Mall location. The City estimates use by over 7,000 daily across the approximately 2K foot long bridge. Sound Transit simultaneously has plans to open a new Northgate Link Light Rail Station to the public by 2021, immediately accessible by the city’s pedestrian and bicycle bridge. These developments are indicators that Seattle wants to make all of its neighborhoods more accessible to those living and working throught the region, not just downtown.

Simon Property Group, the owner of Northgate Mall, has just announced the most promising development of all for the Northgate area—or, redevelopment rather. Simon plans to redevelop the mall property to add up to 750,000 SF of Class A office space (enough to accommodate 2,500-3,700 workers), hundreds of housing units, a hotel, green and/or public spaces, and ground-floor retail. The proposed “re-imaging” by Simon Property Group is likely the combined result of infrastructure changes to access sunch as transit being made by the City of Seattle, in addition to zoning changes that were proposed last November, allowing for taller buildings in the area.

What do Seattle neighborhood’s most desirable for millennials have in common? All those things that Northgate is soon offering: affordability, close-in location, transportation, and amenities.

Links to the projects referred to in this article can be found at www.soundtransit.org and www.seattle.gov.

Ironwood Commercial Real Estate has been in business in the Seattle area for over three decades, working with investors and owners to analyze and manage their real estate portfolios. Visit www.iwcre.com to learn more about Northgate market opportunities, and other property solutions in the greater Seattle area.