University District Zoning Changes

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Former University Temple United Methodist Church, July 2021

Four years ago, the Seattle City Council changed the zoning in the University District to encourage greater density around the new Light Rail Station, which has just opened.  The zoning change greatly increased the value of property in the U District, which in turn greatly increased the property taxes on the parcels.  For example, the assessment on the Seattle Go Center property, at the western edge of the U District, increased 250% in three years. These conditions have brought on many changes.  A 23 story building is planned for where the two story Go Center now stands.  Luckily, the Seattle Go Center will have a space in the new building.  A July 1, 2021 article in the Daily Journal of Commerce pointed out that many churches in the University area are being demolished or threatened.  I presume that they do not have to pay property taxes, but other rising expenses, compared with the recent rise in property values, are forcing congregations to make hard choices.

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