Ten infill residential developments help strengthen the urban fabric and add density where it is needed most | Urban Land Institute

The content for this article was originally feature in the Urban Land Institute website on June 12, 2023.

Infill housing can transform the existing urban environment, increasing pedestrian activity, replacing neglected buildings that have reached the end of their useful life, filling empty gaps on the street, and giving people places to live close to public transit and other essential infrastructure. Many infill opportunities involve constrained or oddly shaped sites, requiring creative approaches
to make the new housing cohere with its surroundings while fulfilling the essential functions of residential uses.

The following 10 projects—all completed during the past five years—include a seven-unit apartment building on an 11-foot-wide (3 m) strip of land, multifamily structures that occupy irregular sites across the street from transit stations, a tower that replaces 39 apartments from the 1940s with 249 affordable apartments, a cross-laminated timber (CLT) co-op apartment building, and a pair of mixed-use residential towers that incorporate large-scale terrariums.


With the goal of reducing displacement in the Othello neighborhood of south Seattle, local nonprofit housing developer HomeSight is developing a long-empty parcel of land next to the Othello Light Rail Station into the mixed-use Othello Square. Local architecture firm Weber Thompson designed one of the four buildings, Orenda, for local real estate investment firm Laird Norton Properties and local developer Spectrum Development Solutions. Orenda opened in 2021 with a ground-level children’s clinic run by Seattle Children’s Hospital, a child-care facility, and 176 apartments for households earning between 65 and 120 percent of the AMI.

Artwork by local artists plays a key role in the building. Seattle muralist Emily Eisenhart led neighborhood residents in creating a colorful mural that wraps around the seven-story building’s main entrance. “Art pillars” between storefront sections bear the work of local artists of Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous heritage. An outdoor rooftop lounge offers views of Mount Rainier.

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Tagged with Orenda, Othello Square, Workforce Housing

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