Built in the early 1940s, Seattle’s first publicly subsidized housing community, Yesler Terrace, is undergoing a significant transformation into a mixed-income, amenity-rich neighborhood.
“Our goal at the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has been when our communities reach the end of their useful life to redevelop as mixed income to provide a neighborhood of opportunity for our residents,” says Stephanie Van Dyke, director of development.
Although centrally located in Seattle, the 30-acre site had been isolated with very low-density residential and a lack of amenities. The SHA worked with the city to rezone the site to do a high-density, transit-oriented community with reconnected street grids, new infrastructure, a mix of housing types, and an interwoven fabric of parks and open spaces.
The end goal for the redeveloped Yesler Terrace is 5,000 housing units, including 1,800 subsidized homes for low- and moderate-income residents.
As part of that mission, SHA completed its second new housing development on the site in early 2016. Raven Terrace provides affordable housing for residents of all ages as well as community gathering space. Of the building’s 83 units, 50 are set aside for residents earning no more than 30% of the area median income (AMI) and the remainder serve residents earning no more than 60% of the AMI.
The sustainable community offers a wealth of services, including increased health-care resources, a lending library program for children, and job readiness programming.
The $27.8 million development also is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program. In addition to federal, city, and SHA funding, it received tax-exempt bonds and 4% low-income housing tax credits.
“Raven Terrace is a very visible project that is meeting all of our promises. It’s so lovely, and people have great views from it,” says Van Dyke. “It has a strong beautiful presence in a way that is bringing pride to the residents so they believe this redevelopment is for them.”