The Seattle Housing Authority announced Thursday that it has received a $19.73 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to jump start construction of replacement low-income housing in Yesler Terrace.
The grant comes on the heels of a $10 million HUD grant SHA received in 2011 to start Phase I of the redevelopment, which included 118 replacement homes and improvements to Horiuchi Park. Phase I also aims to connect Little Saigon with Yesler Terrace via a 10th Ave hillclimb path.
Phase II will build “more replacement housing for extremely low-income households, increased services and additional community improvements,” according to the press release from SHA. Phase II will build another 164 replacement homes, bringing low-income housing levels to 38 percent of the total SHA housing replacements (212 of 516) planned in the large-scale redevelopment of the neighborhood into a high-density, mixed-income area.
During deliberations over the plans, many people expressed concerns that the redevelopment plans would not work out, leaving SHA without enough money to replace all the units destroyed to make way for the new market-rate highrise office and housing towers. These grants give the plans a big head start, but replacing many of the remaining units will require proceeds from land sales to big developers. The SHA is narrowing in on choosing a redevelopment partner, with Paul Allen’s Vulcan and a Cleveland firm on the short list of potential firms.
The Phase II money will also help finish the hillclimb and fund some work on the green street loop through the neighborhood. Some money will also assist with health, scholarship and job-finding programs. The grant will also provide financial assistance to Historic Seattle’s renovation of Washington Hall at 14th and Fir.
“In 2013, we will begin to see the actual physical transformation of Yesler Terrace into the neighborhood of the future envisioned by residents and stakeholders as the construction of homes, parks, and the Hillclimb gets underway,” said SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton in the press release. “We are looking forward to making our first new homes for low-income residents available by the end of 2013.”
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced the award of a second Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant totaling $19.73 million to Seattle Housing Authority for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. HUD awarded Seattle Housing an initial Choice Neighborhoods grant of $10.27 million in August 2011. This second round of federal funding will jumpstart physical construction of the heart of the new Yesler Terrace.
“HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports local visions for how to transform high-poverty, distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity,” said Secretary Donovan. “We’re emphasizing a comprehensive approach to revitalizing neighborhoods by considering the totality of a community with regard to health, safety, education, jobs and quality housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.”
Seattle Housing’s first Choice Neighborhoods grant in 2011 began the transformation of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood, fueling the first phase of the redevelopment project. Phase I, which began in 2012, includes construction of 98 replacement homes for extremely low-income residents, 20 new homes for low-income residents, community gardening improvements at Horiuchi Park, the launch of the 10th Avenue Hillclimb connecting Yesler Terrace and the Little Saigon business district, and Cradle to College education support for residents of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood.
This second Choice Neighborhoods grant will launch Phase II of the redevelopment, which includes more replacement housing for extremely low-income households, increased services and additional community improvements. The grant leverages the significant federal, City, and private resources already invested in the revitalization of the Yesler Terrace community and will help to generate additional funds and support for the redevelopment of the neighborhood.
“I am so pleased that Yesler Terrace was one of the four projects selected nationwide for a Choice Grant,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I have fought to continue funding this program because it provides HUD the opportunity to be a partner with local housing authorities and communities that can leverage this funding to revitalize neighborhoods, develop affordable housing, and create new opportunities for residents.”
“From NewHolly to Rainier Vista, High Point to Lake City, the Seattle Housing Authority has a proven and distinguished track record of revitalizing communities,” said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. “The Authority and its partners will take all the lessons learned from these successes to transform Yesler Terrace into a vibrant, mixed-income and mixed-use community. HUD is very pleased to be a part of this effort.”
“By building a mixed-use community at Yesler Terrace we can improve the quality of life for very low-income families and create new affordable housing opportunities,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s support of this important project will help us meet the needs of even more members of our community.”
Funded by the second Choice Neighborhoods grant along with dollars leveraged from additional public and private sources, Phase II of Yesler Terrace redevelopment will begin in January 2013 and include the following:
- Healthy, energy efficient replacement homes for 114 extremely low-income families and an additional 60 new homes for low-income households. When Phases I and II are complete 38% (212 homes) of the total 561 replacement homes will be complete.
- Construction of the South Washington Street portion of the Green Street Loop, connecting southern portions of the neighborhood.
- Continuation of the central pedestrian connection from the 10th Avenue Hillclimb between the Yesler Terrace and Little Saigon neighborhoods to the new Yesler neighborhood park, which will be located in the heart of the neighborhood.
- Financial assistance for Historic Seattle for the rehabilitation of Washington Hall, located at 14th Avenue and Fir Street.
- In partnership with Seattle University and others, extension of Cradle to College education support for all residents of Yesler Terrace including early learning programs, youth tutoring and mentoring activities.
- In partnership with Neighborcare Health, funding for two health educators to connect residents with medical services and help them understand how to navigate the medical system.
- In partnership with the Workforce Development Council, job placement services to assist Yesler Terrace residents in finding and obtaining jobs.
“This is a strong endorsement of the six years of important collaboration and planning with the community and the City to help guide the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace,” said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of Seattle Housing Authority. “In 2013, we will begin to see the actual physical transformation of Yesler Terrace into the neighborhood of the future envisioned by residents and stakeholders as the construction of homes, parks, and the Hillclimb gets underway. We are looking forward to making our first new homes for low-income residents available by the end of 2013.”
The overall vision for a redeveloped Yesler Terrace includes creating a safe, vibrant mixed-income community, supporting economic and cultural diversity, increasing economic opportunity for residents and employing sustainable, green building principles. Seattle Housing’s main focus in redevelopment is replacing the existing 561 aging public housing units in locations throughout Yesler Terrace and enhancing services and quality of life for low-income residents and others throughout the community.