South Lake Union

From Forgotten Industrial Zone to Unforgettable Innovation District

In the 1990s the Age of Technology began to take root in in Seattle. When Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s development company, Vulcan, sought to transform a forgotten industrial neighborhood, they turned to UDA for the Master Plan. Located adjacent to the downtown along the southern edge of Lake Union (think Sleepless in Seattle), UDA steered the planning process for what would become one of the most dynamic innovation districts in the nation, yielding a form-based zoning strategy, a framework for building sites, improved streets, a new streetcar line, pedestrian ways, and courtyard places. SLU is now a vibrant mixed-use area – home to Amazon’s HQ and countless other tech companies, as well as new mixed-income housing, restaurants, retail, hotels and parks. UDA’s work laid the foundation for 2.85 billion total investment since 2004, generating an estimated $1.3 billion in cumulative tax revenue through 2025.