U District Business Improvement Area

The U District Business Improvement Area (UDBIA) is a self identified geographic area within the U District, first established in 1996. To establish the UDBIA, a group of Ratepayers agreed to self assess a certain amount to provide services to aid the economic development, vitality, and livability in the area. The UDBIA is overseen by the local Ratepayer Advisory Board. Read more about the UDBIA in the sections below.

What is a BIA?

A Business Improvement Areas (BIA’s) is self assessing mechanism enabled by Washington State Law and created to fund business district revitalization and management within specific geographic boundaries. The City of Seattle collects the assessments from the area’s ratepayers (defined by Washington State as the owners of commercial, multi-use and multi-family properties in the area) on behalf of the BIA and reimburses monthly expenses incurred by the program manager. Each BIA is governed by a ratepayer’s advisory board that is responsible for creating bylaws and making key strategic decisions on programs and services, budgets, and goals.

Management of the UDBIA: Ratepayer Advisory Board

The UDBIA is overseen by the local Ratepayer Advisory Board. This board is composed of a diversely representative group of U District community members who advise the City of Seattle on the management of the UDBIA. The Ratepayers of the UDBIA also meet annually to share their recommendation of the next fiscal year’s budget, work plan, and program manager. The Program Manager of the UDBIA is the U District Partnership (UDP), a local nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Find a list of members of the UDBIA Ratepayer Advisory Board here

UDBIA Budget (July 2020 – June 2021)

Total Budget = $1,409,509

* Clean and Safe Program = $674,250

* Program Management = $200,033

* Economic Development Program = $241,872

* Marketing and Events Program = $197,331

* Urban Vitality Program = $96,023

History of the UDBIA

The original U District Business Improvement Area (UDBIA) was established by Seattle City Council ordinance in 1996 to levy special assessments upon owners of business property, multi-family residential property, and mixed-use property within the area to provide improved cleaning, security, and a forum to address community issues. The original area covered included University Way NE between Campus Parkway and 52nd Street and sections of the surrounding streets.

In 2015, the UDBIA was reestablished and expanded to include a wider region and scope. The UDBIA has a tiered assessment structure. Every Ratepayer inside the UDBIA boundaries pays a rate based on the Total Taxable Value of their property into the General BIA Fund. If a property is located within one of two cleaning areas, there is also an additional fee based on the total Lot Area of the property to cover the cost of regular cleaning. In 2020, the City Council voted 9-0 to renew the UDBIA for a 12-year period. You can view the ordinance here.

If you have questions about the UDBIA please contact Mark Crawford at mark@udistrictpartnership.org.