Puget Sound Housing Project

Housing bubble causes older properties to vanish

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Puget Sound Housing Project

A house surrounded by fencing in the process of construction

A house surrounded by fencing in the process of construction

John Tower

A house surrounded by fencing in the process of construction

John Tower

John Tower

A house surrounded by fencing in the process of construction

Ethan Willard, Section Editor

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Four hundred people move into Seattle every week. Though it is almost 11 miles from Shoreline, Seattle’s growth has affected the city greatly. With a now flourishing tech sector and strong economy, Seattle and the surrounding areas have a saturated housing market. Being the fifth fastest growing city in America, the city of Seattle is responsible for thousands of new jobs as well as headaches for older Shoreline residents. There’s a high demand for housing and profits in redeveloping existing properties are now soaring.

 

Seattle suburbs and surrounding cities are quickly being gutted out to make way for more expensive, urban housing to meet the demand of the population boom that is engulfing the city. As growth expands outward into Shoreline, housing must be made to satisfy the tide of buyers that seek to live near their new jobs. Shoreline and its surrounding areas are being swamped with construction that knocks down the old and builds up sleeker, modern houses. Secluded old homes are being razed to make way for million-dollar housing complexes, sometimes destroying dozens of trees in the process. Profit is central to the creation of the houses, and often times developers fit multiple houses onto where one house stood. Lots containing one or two homes are being bulldozed and replaced with up to   homes on one property.

 

Development companies like Sundquist Homes, (which was recently acquired by major home-building corporation Century Communities Inc.) have been carving out remnants of old Seattle, and thanks to the housing boom, it’s more lucrative than ever. The rush to produce the most homes in the least amount of time can lead to problems. In order to maximize profits, companies often cut corners on construction costs. Materials such as wood planks are substituted with particle board and to save design costs each home has the same or similar design which is slightly changed to the customer’s request. Those who buy these new homes often complain of home maintenance issues, ranging from plumbing to roof leakage. One homeowner, Jim B. complained to the Better Business Bureau of his Sundquist-built home in Edmonds: “The piping from the condominium building to the storm sewer has separated twice. I don’t know the whole cost (of repairs) but believe it cost over $10,000. Sundquist did not do an adequate job designing or building our community.”

 

The dissatisfaction caused by redevelopment in Shoreline doesn’t just extend to homebuyers. Some residents see new homes in the area as an eyesore, and others dread the increased traffic that comes with new residents. One notable example is planned Urban Center at Point Wells is a planned complex of condominiums and apartments to be built over the existing asphalt and petroleum refinery located on the border of Woodway and Richmond Beach. Members of the community have rallied for the halting of the building since the plan’s inception in 2009. One organization, called SaveRichmondBeach.org, has opposed the planned construction vehemently. The group of community volunteers cite the planned multiple 180 foot apartment towers’ impact on the quiet suburbs, and by their figures, more than 10,000 more cars will use Richmond Beach road every day. Despite the vocal opposition of the community at large and a failed battle in court, plans to build the complex are moving forward at a slow pace. The progress of building a new Shoreline has not relented. Despite the bitter opposition of tired long-time residents, it seems the courts and the housing market favor a redeveloped city.

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