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Frequently Asked QuestionsYesler Terrace logo

Why does Yesler Terrace have to be redeveloped?

Nearly 70-years old, Yesler Terrace’s water, sewer and other key infrastructure systems are failing. And while functional, many of its 561 low-income housing units need extensive maintenance. This is not a sustainable approach for the long-term needs of its residents or the surrounding community. As with the redevelopments at NewHolly, Rainier Vista and High Point, Yesler Terrace housing will be sturdier, more modern and more healthful than the existing aging housing. In addition, a redeveloped Yesler Terrace provides an opportunity to help meet the growing need for more low-income public housing in Seattle. We hope to increase low-income housing at Yesler Terrace from 561 units to 1,801 units. 

What kind of new community is Seattle Housing Authority planning to build at Yesler Terrace?

The new Yesler Terrace is envisioned as a dynamic and welcoming urban, mixed-use community with convenient connections to nearby neighborhoods. It will be a great place to live and work, and will increase the number of units of low-income and workforce housing near the urban core. The neighborhood will include a mix of market-rate housing, office and retail uses, as well as parks and open space, enhanced landscaping, improved streets and pedestrian and bike amenities. The future Yesler Terrace is envisioned as a model community – safe, healthy and sustainable – incorporating green design practices, enhanced transportation alternatives (including a new street car) and economic opportunity for its residents.

The mix of housing in the new Yesler Terrace is envisioned as follows:

  • 661 units (serving people with incomes below 30 percent Average Median Income) - 561 of these will be replacement for the low-income units that exist there now, and 100 will be additional low-income units
  • 290 additional low-income units (serving people with incomes from 30-60 percent AMI)
  • 850 workforce housing (serving people with incomes below 80 percent AMI)
  • 1,200-3,200 market-rate housing units

Will all of the low-income housing at Yesler Terrace be replaced?

Yes. We will replace all 561 low-income units that are now at Yesler Terrace and add an additional 1,240 low-income units. (“Low-income” is customarily defined as below 80 percent of median income.) The mix of housing we are planning is detailed above.

Will the current residents of Yesler Terrace be able to keep their housing?

Yes. Everyone who is living at Yesler Terrace now will have subsidized housing as long as they continue to qualify. This is one of the key promises we have made to residents. Depending on the household's choice, there may be opportunities for housing at Yesler Terrace or elsewhere in Seattle. It may be possible to build new housing over time so that residents can move gradually from old housing at Yesler Terrace to the new housing without having to relocate temporarily. Learn more about Seattle Housing’s replacement housing.

Should residents start looking for a new place to live?

No. There is no need for residents to consider moving at this time due to the redevelopment. Residents living at Yesler Terrace when development actually begins will be eligible for relocation benefits. If a resident has moved away by this time, relocation benefits would not be available. The anticipated start of redevelopment is the fall of 2011. We will meet with each household at Yesler Terrace in advance of redevelopment to review options and relocation plans that work best for them.

Will the existing Yesler Community Center remain in place?

Yes. Whatever new development occurs in the community will be built around this facility.