Vulcan, Cleveland firm on shortlist for Yesler Terrace make-over partnership

Paul Allen’s Vulcan is one of two firms competing to partner with the Seattle Housing Authority in the Yesler Terrace redevelopment that is planned for the neighborhood through the next 20 years.

Vulcan is perhaps best known for it’s redevelopment work in the South Lake Union neighborhood. If selected, they will work with Capitol Hill Housing over the lifetime of the redevelopment. They are competing with the LA-based Cleveland-based company Forest City, which would work with New York-based Jonathan Rose Companies on the plan if selected.

The plans for redevelopment would dramatically change the shape and economic make-up of the neighborhood. Current subsidized housing units would be replaced using funds from land sales to high-rise developers. The plans passed the SHA’s board and the City Council this year, despite concerns from some residents and neighbors.

More details on the Master Development Partner decision from SHA:

Seattle Housing Authority today announced that Forest City with Jonathan Rose Companies, and Vulcan Real Estate with Capitol Hill Housing, are the two finalists in the Yesler Terrace Master Development Partner selection process.  The Master Development Partner will work in close partnership with Seattle Housing throughout the life of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment project, providing significant financial resources and extensive expertise in planning and implementing complex, long-term projects. 

“We are excited to have two major leaders in the real estate development field as our finalists,” said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of Seattle Housing Authority.  “There are very few firms that have the resources and deep expertise for an ambitious project such as the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.  Either of these candidates will be an excellent partner.”

The 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.  The redevelopment plan centers on replacing the existing 561 aging public housing units in locations throughout Yesler Terrace.  The vision is contained in the Cooperative Agreement adopted by the City of Seattle and Seattle Housing Authority.

“We have worked hard with residents, stakeholders and the City of Seattle to craft a redevelopment plan that ultimately creates greater opportunities for our residents.  We expect our Master Development Partner to fully embrace the vision, principles and goals built around social equity and environmental sustainability that have been established for Yesler Terrace,” said Lofton.  “Both of our finalists are excited by the opportunity to partner with us to realize our vision.  This will be a unique public/private partnership that will align the expertise and interests of both parties with the core mission of our redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.”

Seattle Housing issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on June 1, 2012 seeking a Master Development Partner with the vision, experience, expertise, financial resources and organizational capacity to partner with Seattle Housing on the final design and implementation of the development plan for Yesler Terrace.  Applicants were required to demonstrate the expertise, capacity and track record to implement a comprehensive, phased, mixed-income, mixed-use plan similar in scale and scope to the Yesler Terrace Development Plan.

The RFQ was published broadly and more than 40 individuals representing a wide array of local, regional, national and international real estate firms attended the pre-submission conference for the RFQ on June 26, 2012.  In addition to the teams named as finalists, Hunt Companies with Bellwether and Urban Renaissance Group submitted a response to the RFQ.

Both finalists are currently engaged in a due diligence process and final interviews will be conducted in December 2012. Seattle Housing will select one of the teams to enter into an exclusive negotiating period with the expectation that a contract will be signed in 2013.  The Yesler Terrace redevelopment project is zoned for up to 5,000 units of housing, up to 900,000 square feet of office space, and up to 153,000 square feet of retail and community space.

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