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Sound Transit and the Office of Housing have approved the joint proposal submitted by Bellwether Housing and Mercy Housing NW for the 6600 Roosevelt area. This new, mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD) will be a large step forward in achieving Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) goals for more family–sized apartment units with the need to maximize the number of affordable units in the City.

VIA is leading the master planning and entitlement process for the development. The Bellwether-Mercy Housing team’s design focuses on creating dense, efficient housing for families, resulting in a greater number of expected residents than typical urban developments. By providing more apartment units with two and three bedrooms, families are more likely to find their future homes in this dense, transit-oriented development.

“This project is a perfect example of Sound Transit’s commitment to affordable housing. I’m grateful to the project team for their excellent proposal, the neighborhood for its tireless advocacy, and the City and Sound Transit for making this exciting project come to fruition.”

– Rob Johnson, Sound Transit Boardmember and Seattle City Councilmember.

The new Roosevelt Station, a key part of this development, is one of the two underground stations in the North Link extension. Roosevelt Station will open in fall 2021, providing light rail access to the University District and Northgate neighborhoods, as well as the broader Link Light Rail network. The site will also incorporate a range of active social service and retail/commercial uses which will be revealed by Sound Transit.

Matt Roewe, VIA Director, speaking on the collective effort behind the winning submission said, “This was a phenomenal group effort to create a highly dynamic, family friendly, neighborhood friendly, Sound Transit friendly, retail diverse and rich, and 100% affordable project.”

The above image shows the grand steps that will lead to the Village Square, as viewed from the new Green Street on NE 66th Street. Read Sound Transit’s announcement of the Roosevelt TOD here.


With an original target of LEED Silver, we’re happy to announce that Angle Lake Station has officially achieved LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council! This was welcome news that stands apart from most your typical transit station project. It is uncommon for rail stations to be certifiable under LEED’s New Construction score card due to the limited extent of conditioned spaced and lack of FTE occupants. The project, created through the design-build delivery method, was offered no special incentives to go above and beyond a minimum sustainability target. Through a rigorous design process across multiple collaborative teams, the project resulted in a station that exemplifies a dedication to fostering sustainability.

“The Angle Lake Station exemplifies the creative ways in which transit facilities can function as sustainable resources in their communities. Achieving LEED Gold status for our newest Link station is a testament to Sound Transit’s commitment to use taxpayer dollars to design and build facilities that contribute to the health of our environment here in the Puget Sound region.”

– Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff.


VIA was the architectural lead of the design-build team (comprised of PCL as lead contractor and HDR as lead engineer consultant). VIA incorporated an ambitious sustainability program, including a rooftop photovoltaic array that will generate 2.5% of the station’s annual power needs and rainwater harvesting to serve 100% of the station’s landscape irrigation needs.

Angle Lake Station is the first light rail station in the Northwest to certify LEED Gold, setting a new standard for future designs. We here at VIA could not be more thrilled to have worked with such a forward-looking client and team.

For even more information on the project, see what Sound Transit have to say about Angle Lake Station here.

Black Shed White Spring Ranch

Image courtesy White Spring Ranch Museum/Archive Library Facebook page

Architecture students at Washington State University’s School of Design and Construction (SDC) have recently wrapped up a long standing project at White Spring Ranch Musem/Archive Library in Genessee, Idaho. The project, titled ‘Black Shed,’ is a barn for storage that also acts as an amphitheater for the Ranch to support community events.

VIA’s Managing Director Wolf Saar, acting as part of SDC’s Architectural Advisory Board, helped contribute mentorship to the group of students that worked to design and build the project. Over the course of two years the students worked tirelessly to develop Black Shed from its original planned form in 2015. The students can be seen on the Ranch’s Facebook page engaged in constructing the shed, even in some of western Idaho’s most temperamental weather. Snow storms are an annual occurrence on the Palouse, though this does not appear to have slowed down the determined group.

The students were led by Taiji Miyasaka, Associate Professor at WSU. The shed will be unveiled at the Ranch’s annual Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social on July 15th.


VIA Vancouver is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Transit/Urban Infrastructure Architect.

Key Skills

  • Politically astute client and project lead comfortable presenting to and facilitating process with both public and private audiences;
  • Connecter of disciplines, clients, stakeholders and municipalities, building bridges to achieve the best results for the project;
  • 3D thinker comfortable with addressing complex sites,  geometries and stakeholder groups.


  • Strategic leadership of Infrastructure and Transit market pursuits;
  • Project management and design team leadership;
  • Client care and communication.

 Desired Experience

  • Licensed Architect with 10-15 years of professional practice;
  • Career focus and recent projects in complex multi-disciplinary public sectors such as transit architecture, urban design, or infrastructure design.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Generous benefits are offered to employees, their spouses, domestic partners and families, including: medical/dental insurance, retirement funds contribution matching, and transit subsidy.

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter, resume and work samples in PDF format (no more than 2MB) to Charlene Kovacs, Managing Director, at Please include “Urban infrastructure Architect” in subject-line.

No phone calls or office visits please.

VIA is an equal-opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, disability, sex, sexual-orientation or gender-identity.


We are currently seeking candidates for architectural Grad/Intern positions for our Vancouver office. These people will supplement and work within our multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive architectural services for various projects. We are interested in exceptional candidates with strong analytical, communication and technical skills who are passionate and involved in community building at all scales.

Experience Requirements – Architectural Interns

  • Junior Intern with 2 to 5 years of Canadian architectural experience
  • Proficiency in REVIT, AutoCAD & Sketchup highly desired. Fluency with digital model rendering, Adobe and other graphic programs a plus
  • Be skilled in the preparation of graphic presentation material
  • LEED AP preferred but not mandatory

Key Skills

  • Dedicated team player, excellent communicator, a self-starter possessing analytic and problem solving capabilities
  • Some experience with all project phases of design, construction documents and field services
  • Some understanding of the technical considerations involved in design, documenting, coordinating and executing a variety of building types
  • Some familiarity of BCBC and local Bylaws
  • Interest in professional advancement to more intermediate levels and responsibilities

How to Apply

Please email resume in PDF with cover letter/email, and “YourName_Architectural Grad/Intern” in subject‐line, attention Charlene Kovacs, ckovacs@via‐

  • Please include samples of your work, keeping total email size below 2 MB.
  • No phone calls or office visits please.
  • Applicants must meet minimum experience qualifications to be considered for these positions.
  • Only candidates considered for an interview will be contacted.
  • Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Generous benefits include extended medical coverage and retirement funds contribution matching.

VIA is an equal-opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, disability, sex, sexual-orientation or gender-identity.

AlanHart GrahamMcGarva

OTTAWA, May 16, 2017 – VIA founding partners Alan Hart (left) and Graham McGarva (right) have been named as Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in recognition of outstanding achievement in architecture.

Alan, a founding principal at VIA, leads the firm strategic positioning for all offices in addition to leading many transit and infrastructure projects across the west coast.

Graham, a founding principal and now a special advisor to VIA since retiring from the firm in 2016, now focuses on lecturing on community building and the arts, and on his poetry.

RAIC 2017 Fellows Announcement
RAIC 2017 Book of Fellows

May is Bike Everywhere Month, a celebration of pedal-powered movement in all forms – whether it’s commuting to work or just enjoying the springtime weather. The Bike Everywhere Challenge allows cyclists to track their commutes and encourage friendly competition between their peers. Building off of this momentum, several members of the VIA team participated in the office’s second annual VIA Mobility Challenge.

IMG_1175Ready, Set, Go – Taking place during evening rush hour traffic, the challenge was for three teams to race half a mile from the office to a nearby destination via bike, mass transit, and foot. Each team was equipped with a stopwatch and camera to document their journey. Our goal was to see which transit mode could arrive at our destination most efficiently. We then discussed some of the advantages and challenges that each team grappled with.

team bikes

1st Place – Arriving first was Team Bikes, who took to the streets with their bikes, locks, and helmets in tow. While other teams were able to leave the building immediately, the team needed to first visit the storage room to retrieve their equipment. Upon arrival, they also needed to find a location to lock up their bikes. Despite this, they arrived at our destination at an impressive 9 minutes, 44 seconds. Not accounting bike pick-up and parking, Google Maps estimates this trip taking 7 minutes.

Runner Up – Arriving second was Team Mass Transit, equipped with bus passes and a knowledge of bus stop locations and local routes. Limited to traveling on corridors with transit service and contending with potential service delays, they arrived at our destination two minutes later at 11 minutes, 22 seconds. For reference, Google Maps estimates this trip taking 10 minutes.

3rd Place – Arriving last was Team Foot. Despite having the most direct route with multiple options, they faced crowded sidewalks mixing shoppers, commuters, and tourists in all directions. They nonetheless put up a great effort, arriving five minutes later at 16 minutes, 2 seconds. For reference, Google Maps estimates this trip taking 15 minutes.

While this was a competition focused on traveling efficiency, there are many other interesting ways of measuring the viability of different transit modes to get us around, especially from environmental and equity standpoints. As our suite of transportation choices expands with new and interactive ways to get around town, we hope to test out other interesting transportation choices next year. Keep your eyes peeled – you may very well see a VIA team of hoverboards, E-bikes, and self-driving cars at our next Mobility Challenge!

We are currently seeking candidates for the position of a Full Time (37.5 hours/week) Office Administrator in our Vancouver office.  The right individual will have strong communications skills, a high level of initiative, adapt well to change, and work collaboratively as part of several teams including administration, accounting, and IT.


  • Represent office as first point of contact for general inquiries by phone and for visitors to the office
  • Greet visitors, order and set up requested refreshments/catering for meetings
  • Maintain and tidy meeting rooms and office-wide common areas
  • Organize and facilitate weekly staff meetings
  • Track and organize office supplies
  • Make travel arrangements for staff and clients as needed
  • Coordinate with vendor companies on support calls, ordering and invoicing
  • Assist Controller with accounting administration including Accounts Payable, bank reconciliations, filing, and other accounting duties as required
  • Provide support for IT problems requiring physical hands-on support including light troubleshooting of hardware and software, workstations, monitors, printers and set up of AV for meetings
  • Other clerical/support duties as needed


  • Excellent organizational, multi-tasking, and prioritization skills
  • Team player that is willing to do a variety of tasks as needed
  • Good/Excellent Microsoft Word and Excel skills
  • Reception experience in a professional office environment strongly preferred
  • Experience in IT and/or Accounting support an asset

Salary and Benefits

We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package in a professional environment.

How to Apply

Please email resume in PDF with cover letter/email, and “Receptionist/Office Administrator” in subject-line to

  • No phone calls or office visits please.
  • Applicants must meet minimum experience qualifications to be considered for the position.

We are currently seeking candidates for the position of Project Accountant in our Vancouver office. Reporting to the Vancouver Controller, the Project Accountant is responsible for setting up projects, reviewing contract documents, preparing invoices with input from the project managers, closing projects when completed, and working on special projects as needed. The Project Accountant will also assist project managers with consultant invoices, project planning, project resourcing, project compliance, and overall financial health and progress of the project. There will also be additional month-end responsibilities and will provide support to both accounts payable and payroll. The right individual will have a strong work ethic and analytical capabilities, a high level of initiative, adapt well to change and work quickly and accurately as part of a team.


• Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and minimum 3 years’ of project accounting experience preferred
• Experience in a professional services firm is preferred
• Proficient in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel
• Experience with ERP systems, Deltek Vision a major plus
• Good customer service, a positive attitude, and ability to work as a team player
• Possess character of high integrity, trustworthiness and reliability
• Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
• Ability to multitask and meet deadlines
• Ability to prioritize workloads


We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package in a professional environment, including paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, medical/dental/vision, disability, RRSP matching, bonus plan, transportation subsidy, and opportunities for tuition reimbursement.

How to Apply

Please email resume to in PDF format with cover letter/email, and “Project Accountant” in subject-line.

Applicants must meet minimum experience requirements to be considered for this position.

No phone calls or office visits please.

VIA is an equal-opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, disability, sex, sexual-orientation or gender-identity.

The Grand Bargain

Mar 10, 2017



Basic RGB

The AIA Seattle Urban Design Forum recently hosted a panel discussion on ‘The Grand Bargain’, an agreement negotiated between the City of Seattle, developers and housing advocates to implement some of the more impactful recommendations in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). The presentation and discussion were led by Rick Mohler and Marty Kooistra, and provided an informative overview of this recently passed piece of legislation. VIA’s Dylan Glosecki, Co-Chair of the Urban Design Forum, attended and has detailed the major takeaways from the presentation. 


During the Urban Design Forum presentation, it was noted that while The Grand Bargain policies are aimed at providing affordable housing, they do not address the lack of family-sized housing units in the City’s newest multi-family buildings.



‘The Missing Middle’


Nor do The Grand Bargain policies address what has been described as the ‘missing middle’ in Seattle: the lack of medium-density townhouses and small apartments that create transitions between single family neighborhoods and the 65’+ mixed-use construction that is becoming characteristic of Seattle’s Urban Villages.


Incentive ZoningSeattle citizens need to continue to voice their support for The Grand Bargain as the City Council votes on its implementation over thenext year. The policy is not yet a sure thing, city-wide. Additionally, to combat housing inequity and ensure our city supports an array of urban family types, citizens must stay engaged in housing policy discussions and encourage the City to pass more of the HALA recommendations and encourage the City to increase their focus on policy that creates family-sized units.


The discussion around HALA has been an ongoing topic for years now. We love some good stats here at VIA, .so below we offer our HALA cheat sheet, a more in-depth write up as to the makeup of this legislation, as well as some links to upcoming public engagements.


HALA Cheat Sheet:

The Grand Bargain

  • Affordable housing agreement between City, affordable housing advocates and developers.
  • Negotiated by HALA co-chairs, Mayor, Councilmember O’Brien, Housing Development Consortium, Coalition for Housing Solutions.
  • Past attempts focused on controlling developer profit and failed.
  • This attempt focused on generating affordable housing and what policies and land use changes would be necessary to generate affordable housing: upzones, Urban Village expansions and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA).

Mandatory Housing Affordability plan (MHA)

  • Requires developers to build affordable housing on the site of new commercial or residential development or to pay a “Fee in Lieu”.
  • Affordable housing defined as rent-restricted to 60% Area Median Income (AMI) for 75 years.
  • In the UW Urban Center, developers are required to build 9% affordable units on site or pay $20 per sf of built area.

Mayor Murray’s goal

  • 20,000 total 60% AMI units constructed or acquired and rehabbed in next 10 years.
  • 3,700 units from residential MHA.
  • 2,400 units from commercial MHA.
  • 13,900 units from other (i.e. Seattle Housing Levy, MFTE, Preservation Tax Exemption, State Real Estate Excise Tax (REET 3), Increase State Housing Trust Fund, Federal government resources)

Average Seattle rent

  • $1989 = New Construction
  • $1641 = All units
  • $1009 = 60% Area Median Income (AMI) household spending 30% of income on rent.
  • Has increased 35% in last 5 years.
  • 45,000 households spend more than 50% of their income on housing.

Seattle Housing Levy

  • In August 2016, the Seattle Housing Levy was approved, dedicating $290 million towards affordable housing.
  • Passed with 70% voter approval.
  • Costs the average homeowner $122 per year over 7 years.

Multi Family Tax Exemption (MFTE)

  • Already in place and has been successful at incentivizing 80% AMI units in Seattle.


Upcoming HALA engagements to be on the lookout for:

Public Hearing on Downtown/South Lake Union Rezone
Monday, March 13, 6 – 8pm
@ Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers

Community Open House hosted by HALA
Thursday, April 27, 6 – 8pm
@ Hale’s Ales Brewery (All Ages)
4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107

 Community Open House hosted by HALA
Tuesday, May 16, 6 – 8pm
@ Washington Hall
153 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122


Links to the presentation and additional info on HALA:
The Grand Bargain Presentation
HALA Report

The Grand Bargain is a compromise between multiple stakeholders to implement the Mandatory Housing Affordability program (MHA) in Seattle’s Urban Villages. The agreement is unprecedented in Seattle history. Never before have Seattle developers and housing advocates been able to compromise on a policy with the potential to provide affordable housing at such a large scale. By implementing MHA, developers contribute by building affordable housing onsite or paying fees that fund affordable housing elsewhere in the City. To put the MHA requirements into effect, the City is making zoning changes that allow for more development in the City’s Urban Villages, offsetting the costs to developers for providing affordable housing. However, The Grand Bargain is a tenuous agreement that could fall through should any of the primary stakeholders become discontent and decide to litigate.

The major pieces of The Grand Bargain are the MHA program, upzoning in Urban Villages and the expansion of several Urban Village boundaries. The City Council will be voting on the implementation of The Grand Bargain policies in several stages. The City is currently conducting a series of public outreach workshops where Seattle citizens can share their voice to shape how the proposed policy will impact their specific neighborhood.  

The University District is the first Urban Village in which Grand Bargain policies are being implemented. The City Council unanimously passed the zoning changes in the University District in late February. Later this year, the City Council will consider implementing Grand Bargain policies in the Downtown and South Lake Union Urban Villages, followed by the International District and 23rd & Union-Jackson. The City Council will likely vote on a city-wide Urban Village rezone to implement Grand Bargain policy in the remaining Villages in 2018.