Seattle developers' meeting over 'Apodments' gets heated

by: Alison Grande Updated:

Residents squared off with developers over small spaces in Seattle Monday night. The meeting was about “Apodments”, very small apartments.

The apartments have room for a bed and a bathroom and multiple units share a common kitchen. Loretta Donnelly, who lives in an “Apodment”  spoke out.

 She said  she wouldn’t be able to afford living downtown anywhere else, “I walk everywhere or I take the bus and I love it there.” 

Adam Parast said it’s a good option for his friends, many of them have had to move off of Capitol Hill due to the high cost.

He told the crowd, “So this is about affordability."

Others say the “Apodments” aren’t as good a deal as they sound. Gary Friedman said, “It’s driving up the rent for everybody else in the area.”

The latest housing phenomenon in Seattle and it’s taking some city codes by surprise.

They just don’t seem to fit the new living arrangement.

Until last month developers were getting the Multi-Family Tax Exemption and if the building had less than 8 kitchens they didn’t have to go through the design review process.  

Keep in mind a building could have 7 kitchens and still house 56 people give or take.  

In April, the housing department closed that loophole, claiming the tax benefit builders must go through the design review.

Monday night, the anger seemed to be focused on the high density projects going up without warning. Even if the building goes through a design review, it’s the exterior design, not what it looks like on the inside.


Some worried how many people would actually be sleeping in each unit. Others brought up safety concerns like emergency exits.


Many residents asked the city councilmembers in attendance to issue a moratorium until the city can sort out exactly how the “Apodments” should work.


Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata does not expect a moratorium, “I believe the council will take some kind of incremental actions. I don’t see us adopting a moratorium.”