Update: See what happened to those two cute houses sold as lots and what they look like now!

You may have read about Amazon’s overwhelming impacts on Seattle but let’s take a walk through formerly sleepy Ballard to get a sense of how one neighborhood is changing.

Firstly, these houses qualify as teardowns in Seattle (the blue one sold for $600,000):

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

There are signs up like this all over the neighborhood of realtors seeking to buy homes for developers:

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Here’s what’s being built in their place — townhomes with twelve foot wide living spaces — many for Amazon employees (mostly men). In other words, those are four vertical townhomes each twelve feet wide. These are across the street and down half a block from those teardowns:

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

This is a close up of the front porch of one unit:
Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

And two inside views:
Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Here’s a view of what the townhomes are typically being built beside:

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Mature trees like the one’s shown at right are replaced with sticks like this one:
Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

This is my friend’s backyard – once surrounded by comparable homes, now completely surrounded by taller townhomes. The western afternoon light is gone:

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

This panorama of the backyard shows new townhomes built behind and beside their home (the yard appears larger than it is because of the panorama.)
Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Here’s the view from the front:

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Nearby, here’s an example of more modest new construction townhomes that offer similar family density but fit into the neighborhood better. Seattle has no zoning which might prohibit the big box construction or encourage designs like these to better fit within the neighborhood. Development in Ballard is a free for all.
Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Also nearby, here’s a new construction microhousing (pods) going in. It’s still a number of blocks away from any transit that will take people to downtown Seattle. It brings density which may be good but many of these people will still need cars and there’s limited parking for them.

Amazon Impact on Seattle's Ballard Housing

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Try scheduling a meeting with his new startup Meeting Planner (https://meetingplanner.io), simpler, faster scheduling for work or play and read his series about building it). Follow @reifman on Twitter.