Yesler Terrace redevelopment plans move to City Council this summer (+ video)

Ambitious plans to redevelop Yesler Terrace are set to go before the City Council this summer as residents and planners prepare for the sweeping changes to the neighborhood.

In order to fund the creation of new subsidized housing units, the Seattle Housing Authority (“SHA”) intends to sell some of the land it owns in the neighborhood to private developers. The full redevelopment is anticipated to take 10-20 years.

The plan includes 661 “extremely” low-income units to replace the 561 currently in the neighborhood as well as 290 “very” low-income units and 850 “workforce” units. In addition, the plan calls for 3,199 market-rate units, mostly in high-rise condo and apartment buildings.

The changes will likely mean that Yesler Terrace will shift from being one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the city to having an affluent majority. Residents will also lose the front yards that adorn the current homes.

One sticky issue with many current residents is fear that they will not be able to return to the neighborhood once they are displaced from their current, aging housing units. The SHA has promised residents that everyone who wants to return will have a unit reserved.

For more background on the plans for the neighborhood and a look at what the unique neighborhood is like today, see our two-part series (part 1, part 2).

Seattle Channel’s City Inside/Out recently spoke to proponents and concerned residents about the plans and the road ahead:

Other big changes are already headed to the neighborhood. The city and Sound Transit have already begun construction on the First Hill Streetcar, which will go through the heart of Yesler Terrace with a stop at the community center at Broadway and Yesler. The streetcar should be operational in early 2014.

Here’s some data on the current make-up of the Yesler Terrace population, presented to the City Council in April:


13 thoughts on “Yesler Terrace redevelopment plans move to City Council this summer (+ video)

  1. Just a note that the image used at 4:44 when Brian’s saying, “High Priced Development that could move with them,” is an image of King County Housing Authority’s Greenbridge project. It’s pretty nice, isn’t it? Not exactly high priced development though.

  2. Looking forward to this and the street car to begin to bring the vibrant city life only well planned and designed mixed use density can bring! Perhaps a living building or two?

  3. We are pretty much the closest neighborhood news source to Yesler Terrace. It’s kind of it’s own little neighborhood — part First Hill, part ID and part CD (but mostly it is its own unique spot). There’s a lot of social overlap with CD, especially since the YT kids mostly go to Bailey Gatzert Elementary.

    CDNews has typically covered YT news, even though it would probably not be included in most people’s idea of the CD boundaries.

  4. I believe the City Council needs to have those potentional real estate developers accountable for possible displacement of these poor families.
    The planners who developed Holly Park into New Holly, and Rainier Vista housing projects lied to those tennants, giving them the promise that they could return after the construction was complete. So called money to subsidize their rent was all smoke and mirrors.
    The end result was medium and high priced dwellings that the poor could not afford. So the poor had no option but to move way out and search for housing and keep from being counted among the homeless.
    From the time I was born (1955) until early 1967, my family lived in S.W. Seattle’s Highpoint public housing, Rainier Vista, and Holly Park. We were thankful for our housing, until our family was financially able move into a real home of our own.

  5. Gentrification is a good thing. The city must maintain an economically viable population. It is in otherwords – growth of the middle class. If you want the middle class to move to Texas, just say so. Perhaps you want Seattle to be more like Detroit. Let’s build a vibrant city. Cant wait for the new bike lane on Broadway. Even poor folk can ride bikes.

  6. Some aren’t moviing to Texas; some are staying right here and moving toward a poorer class.

  7. The Yesler Terrace is not supposed to be a lifetime subsidized housing, and particularly in such prime real estate. Is it really right for a 90 year old Vietnamese grandmother to take a spot from someone who is in the workplace and needs cheap housing?

    Having said that, Seattle is no longer financially viable. What’s the point of barely getting by, when you can’t get ahead and put something away for retirement and old age? It’s a vicious cycle.

    As much as I loathe those who have made Seattle a trendy boutique city, everying is supply and demand and I know if I can’t afford it, it’s time to move.

  8. waaa waaaa waaaaaa. silly little baby. ‘all the smart people are doing better than me.’ waaaa waaa waaa.

  9. Are you implying that it would be ok for a white or black family to settle in? WTF?

  10. Is G being racist or was that an obtuse suggestion that we evaluate the purpose of public housing and question the direction of social engineering? What was the new deal? What is a hand up? Where do we put the safety net? How big of a net dow we want to use? Who will hold up the net? (Let’s not spin down into the tired atlas b.s. Karl).

    Why do we provide public housing assistance? Why do we allow tax exemptions for children, home ownership, electric cars, job expenses, medical expenses, education…..)

    We do most of these things to achieve a desired socioeconomic outcome – social engineering. Some of us assume that the engineering is supposed create an infrastructure to for growth – beyond the hand out.

    Let’s assume that the 90yo Vietnamese comment was not meant to be racists, even though that is difficult to do. Let’s do it. The point then is what is the growth opportunity for subsidizing groups of people that are much less likely to contribute given this hand up. Than what. Well, let’s say a (just for the heck of it) single mother of two. Can we assume that this young woman and here young children may be able to grow more as a result of the hand up than the person needing end of life assistance? Can we consider this question? Is there a scarcity of resources? Shouldn’t we be blind to age, race, gender, ability?

    Given that we can’t really answer all that, I think it is important to make every effort to grow the group that can help hold the net. More affordable market rate housing in the city is important. Such a developement would pay to replace aging homes and bring in working people, paying taxes, livinging in homes that have minimal environmental impact (inner city, low car utilization, small landscape foot print.)

    I can see questioning the project execution, but, the project concept is a no brainer. It is neccessary.

  11. Huhhhh? ” Seattle a trendy boutique city” OK, then Rainier Beach, and North of the U Disrtict and Lake City Way and any other run down and crime infested place like part of the CD is a “boutique”? Get this person a cup of coffee (Perferably not the weak crap Starbucks sells) and a new pair of glasses. Even the “boutique” parts of Seattle are not boutique if you have been to any other large global city.