Giant red letters announce the boldest new development in Seattle.

Photo by William Wright
Photo by William Wright

The large “12 Ave Arts” sign fits a building that dares to be home to 88 affordable apartments, three theater companies, nonprofit and arts offices, local restaurants, and parking for the Seattle Police Department.

More than 15 years of work was realized when the development opened its doors.

“12th Avenue Arts is a great example of how a whole community can work together to create affordable and vibrant neighborhoods for everyone,” says Christopher Persons, CEO of Capitol Hill Housing, the local nonprofit developer behind the project.

Replacing an old police department parking lot, the new $47 million project required complex financing, including funding from the city, state, and Capitol Hill Housing's first-ever capital campaign, which raised more than $4.6 Million.

Serving households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, the apartments include eight studios, 72 one-bedroom, and eight two-bedroom units.

Designed by SMR Architects, the building is more than housing. It is also at the heart of the neighborhood’s flourishing arts district.

12th Avenue Arts includes two theater spaces that are leased to Black Box Operations, a partnership of three local companies–New Century Theatre Company, Strawberry Theatre Workshop and Washington Ensemble Theatre.

Street-level retail spaces will be occupied by U:Don noodle house, Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar and Rachel’s Ginger Beer, all scheduled to open in Spring 2015.

Capitol Hill Housing and several other organizations have also moved their offices into the new building.

The housing portion cost about $23 million. Financing includes a $6.5 million in permanent debt from KeyBank; $5.6 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from the National Development Council; $7.7 million from the city of Seattle, $2 million from the Washington Housing Trust Fund; and $1.4 million in deferred developer fees.