Update on Lincoln Street Student Housing Project

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Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Concept Drawing of the NXNW Complex

The developers of the "student" housing project on Lincoln St., just south of the Lakeway Fred Meyer store, provided an update to the Puget Neighborhood recently. [Follow links to my previous articles on this development here] Local residents have witnessed the progress of the construction of the 13 associated buildings located between Lincoln Creek and I-5.  Project management has indicated the complex will be finished and ready for occupancy by September 2016, in time for the academic year.  Although the apartments will be marketed mainly to students, fair housing laws do not permit developers to refuse leases to other members of the community.  "Pre-leasing" has already begun.

This complex is certainly not low-end housing.  Even the development website describes the complex as upscale housing. Leases will be by individual bedroom with only one person permitted per bedroom.  How this will be enforced is problematic. The lowest priced bedrooms will be in the three-bedroom units - two separate floorplans - with each bedroom going for $655-$675 per month depending on the floorplan chosen.  There will be 152 three-bedroom units.  The two-bedroom units - 96 in all - will rent for $765 per bedroom.  Rent includes all furnishings plus a number of amentities such as cable, Wi-Fi, washer and dryer, etc.  The tenants will also have use of a fitness center, computer lounge, study lounge, game room, tanning beds (danger - a law suit in the making), fire pit and a free shuttle to the WWU campus.  There was no mention of a shuttle to BTI or to WCC.  It appears occupants will get their money's worth.  One wonders if single retirees or young workers might even want to move in here!

Parking is bound to be an issue with 648 residents.  The developer has planned 448 parking spaces.  The property management team is counting on the proximity of the bus hub, bicycle use and mere walking to limit the number of cars.  This may be wishful thinking, however, time will tell.  Since employees of the management company, Asset Campus Housing, will largely be drawn from the resident population, parking for employees will not be of great importance.  Thirty spaces will be available for guests, however this may prove to be woefully inadequate.  There is virtually NO on-street parking in that Lincoln St. is devoid of spaces.  The nearby Lincoln parking lot for the WTA transportation hub is being turned into a permit-only lot by the owner, WWU.  Fred Meyer's parking lot just north of the apartments will be off-limits, although enforcement may be an issue and a problem for the store.  Across the street is a mobile home park that primarily houses seniors.  Any attempt by student tenants to use this area for parking will meet a swift and surely negative response. 

There will be no smoking - including marijuana - and no firearms allowed according to property management representatives.  Alcohol use will be permitted, however, given the probable age range of the tenants (17-22), it is not clear how underage drinking can be controlled, except to group individual residents in the units by age.  Parties in individual units attended by a number of student tenants or guests within the age range will pose a special problem. 

Given the anticipated 3,000 vehicle trips per day in and out of the complex at all hours, including the commercial strip along Lincoln St., there may well be a continuing problem with noise, particularly for the senior residents at the mobile home park and especially in the late evening or very early morning hours. The property management firm assures the Puget Neighborhood Association that it will be availble to answer all complaints and work closely with the neighbors on all issues.  The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

More information on this complex can be found at the NXNW website.



Dick Conoboy  //  Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 2:43 pm

Another large student “dormitory” project (Forest Garden Student Housing) is in the works between Forest and Garden Streets at the site of the Adventist church.  This project is to accommodate over 400 students but is not affiliated with WWU. You can view the information about this development as it was submitted to the design review board in 2014 at + Link)”]}]}

Site preparation has not yet begun.  It will be interesting to see if the Lincoln St. project with over 600 tenants and this project with over 400 tenants will make any appreciable dent in the tight rental housing market.

Abe Jacobson  //  Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 5:03 pm

Thanks Dick for your informative report. This development will hopefully lessen the housing shortage, and will certainly be an improvement relative to the hypodermic-needle-and-trash dump the site had become.

On a major arterial, close to frequent bus service, near grocery and other shopping, and not intrusive into existing single-family neighborhood. Well-done development.

Abe Jacobson

Tip Johnson  //  Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 10:23 pm

There is a chance it will reduce a segment of the housing shortage.  I’m sure it will be a lot better than those $4-500/mo detached accessory dwelling units dovetailed into the community that create all the problems described here:
+ Link

Anyway, good choices! I’m sure it won’t turn into a giant Animal House.


Tip Johnson  //  Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 11:17 pm

What I meant to say was, “Isn’t it beautiful?  Have you ever seen anything like it?”

Dick Conoboy  //  Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 8:53 am

Affordable ADUs?  I think I remember Chris Koch of the planning staff say at the 19 Nov work session of the Planning Commission that mean (average) monthly rent in Portland for an ADU is about $750.  Looks like landlords aren’t into charity there either. The average cost to build an ADU there is about $80,000. In Bellingham it is a lot cheaper.  All the landlord has to do is carpet the garage and close the door.  Instant ADU!

As for a possible animal house on Lincoln St., time will tell.  In the meantime the tenants may keep a low profile due to sucking up the exhaust fumes from I-5.

Update on Lincoln Street Student Housing Project

Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The student housing project for 648 individuals called NXNW (North by Northwest) on Lincoln Street is moving forward briskly. This is an update.

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