Take Link light rail to opening celebration of new live/work development

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Artspace project lands new affordable apartments, retail space at light rail doorstep in Rainier Valley

Sound Transit joins local musicians and performers tomorrow celebrating the grand opening of a new mixed-use development of apartments and arts spaces on land Sound Transit used for construction staging adjacent to the Mt. Baker Link light rail station.

The Artspace organization built the 57 rental units of affordable live/work space for artists and their families after purchasing the land from Sound Transit in 2013. The agency hauled away contaminated soils from the site, which formerly housed an auto repair shop, and prepared it to support new development after completing the light rail station construction. The ground floor includes a community room and 12 commercial spaces for non-profits, creative enterprises and related businesses. It has no dedicated parking.

"Well-designed, affordable places such as Artspace support our vision of vibrant communities where people can rely on convenient transit service to live in the city," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The grand opening celebration will include food and refreshments, open art studios in the building and performances by local musicians and others in the plaza around the light rail station beginning at 4 p.m.

The project is one of several new developments opening in the Rainier Valley within walking distance of the light rail line. In April Sound Transit selected Mercy Housing Northwest to build up to 108 new affordable apartments near Othello Station, about three miles south of Mt. Baker Station.

Later this fall Sound Transit will review proposals from developers seeking to build at least 397 new apartments, retail spaces and a public plaza above the future Capitol Hill Station. The Capitol Hill Station opens in 2016 as part of the 3.1-mile University Link light rail extension between downtown Seattle and the University of Washington. Development above the station will begin soon after the line opens.

The Sound Transit Board has made smart development near transit stations a priority as the agency expands the light rail system to more than 50 miles by 2023. Developments like the Artspace and Mercy projects help grow ridership and promote positive land uses and development within walking distance of transit hubs.

For more information on the agency's approach to Transit Oriented Development see: soundtransit.org/TOD