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Environmental Review Process

In April 2010, the Seattle Housing Authority and the city’s Human Services Department began an environmental review process for the Yesler Terrace redevelopment project. Areas studied—including air quality, noise and energy—were identified in a public scoping process that captured input from the community, public agencies and other stakeholders. Results of the thorough study were published in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or Draft EIS.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement, or Final EIS, was issued on April 14, 2011. This marked the conclusion of the comprehensive year-long environmental review carried out by a team of Seattle Housing staff, consultant engineers, scientists, designers and others. The Final EIS takes into account feedback provided by more than 50 different members of the public, government agencies and other stakeholders during the Draft EIS public comment period.    

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Yesler Terrace concept drawing

Seattle Housing is explorating ways to incorporate urban gardening opportunities throughout the redevelopment. Click to see a larger version.

Yesler Terrace concept drawing

Yesler and Broadway wills serve as centralized main streets. Click to see a larger version.

Yesler Terrace concept drawing

The redevelopment will create a unique outdoor environment through linked and interconnected parks, sidewalks, urban gardens, walking paths, courtyards and private yards. Click to see a larger version.

The Draft EIS analyzed four redevelopment alternatives (including a variation on one alternative) and a "no action" alternative, which evaluated the site in its current state. The alternatives reflect a range of development options on the site that would result in low, medium, high and current population densities. The alternatives were defined by the Seattle Housing Authority, with input from residents, stakeholders and the Citizen Review Committee. All four redevelopment alternatives would replace each of the existing 561 units of extremely low-income housing. Alternatives 1-3 would add additional low-income housing serving very low-income residents.

All four alternatives would provide infrastructure upgrades. Alternatives 2 and 3 anticipate changing the location of several streets. The alternatives provide for new parks and open spaces, improve the walking environment and better connect to surrounding neighborhoods, including Little Saigon.

The four alternatives would also add market-rate housing to the site. Alternatives 1-3 also include office, neighborhood commercial and neighborhood service areas. Under Alternative 4, no new non-residential uses are planned. All of the alternatives will keep the Yesler Community Center.

The DEIS appendices, also known as Volume II, are available here

Public Comments on Draft EIS

More than 50 members of the public, government agencies and other stakeholders provided comments on the Draft EIS. The comment period began Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 and concluded Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. A Draft EIS Public Hearing was held on
Nov. 30, 2010.

A PDF (15 MB) version of the comments is also available.


The Preferred Alternative

Taking into account findings from the Draft EIS and resulting public comments, Seattle Housing recently identified a Preferred Alternative for the Yesler Terrace Redevelopment project. Key components include:

  • 5,000 housing units (4.3 million square feet of residential space)
  • 900,000 square feet of office space
  • 88,000 square feet of retail space
  • 15.9 acres of public and private open spaces
  • 65,000 square feet of neighborhood services (including the existing Community Center)
  • 5,100 parking spaces

The Preferred Alternative defines factors requiring further study as part of the environmental review process. The amounts of housing, office, retail, parking and open space suggested within the Preferred Alternative represent the maximum amounts feasible, not necessarily the maximum amounts to which Seattle Housing will build. With one exception: Seattle Housing will replace all 561 units of existing extremely low-income public housing—at or within two blocks of Yesler Terrace—regardless  of the amount of ancillary development. By studying these relatively high maximums, Seattle Housing will retain the most flexibility to accommodate market changes over the next 20 years.

The Preferred Alternative will be studied in the final phase of the environmental review process, which is expected to conclude this spring.

For more about the Yesler Terrace Preferred Alternative.

Draft EIS appendices