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NewHolly Redevelopment plan

NewHolly Redevelopment plan

Between 1997 and 2006, Holly Park was redeveloped into a new mixed-income neighborhood, and was renamed “NewHolly.” It originally consisted of 871 units of low-income housing, spread over 102 acres and accessible by curvilinear streets.

Built in 1941 to house defense workers, the one- and two-story wood frame buildings were designated as public housing by the Lanham Act in the early 1950s. They housed returning veterans and low-income families for five decades.

As years of use and weathering took their toll, Holly Park became expensive to maintain and less effective as public housing.

Reconnecting with South Seattle

The HOPE VI grant that made redevelopment possible was designed to knit the distressed Holly Park neighborhood back into the surrounding community.

Streets were redrawn to reconnect to the area's street grid, and New Urbanist planning and design principles were applied. One of the priorities for housing design was to foster human connections among residents. Narrow streets slow traffic, and front porches located closer to the street give residents a good excuse to trade greetings and share experiences. Low fences around private back yards provide each household a sense of security and ownership of their own space, but still allow for visibility and conversation with neighbors.

Developing neighborhood amenities

NewHolly's Neighborhood Campus sits at the heart of the neighborhood. A group of non-profit partners work together at the campus to provide services to the community, including a learning center, a Seattle Public Library branch, classrooms for South Seattle Community College, Head Start, a preschool, youth tutoring, and employment programs, among several others.

Trees and open spaces are also key features at NewHolly. Van Asselt and John C. Little Sr. Parks offer large areas of green space, while a number of smaller community and pocket parks are spread throughout the neighborhood.

The LINK Light Rail, accessible at the Othello Street station just steps from NewHolly, gives residents convenient, reliable, frequent, and inexpensive connections to Downtown, the University of Washington, Sea-Tac airport, and beyond. 

Creating a livable mixed-income community

A cornerstone of the redevelopment was the transition of the neighborhood to a mixed-income community, where approximately one-third of the housing is low-income rentals, one-third is market rate rentals, and one-third is privately-owned homes. The total number of units is around 1,400.

By returning land at NewHolly to private ownership, several goals were accomplished. First, proceeds from the land and home sales helped fund low-income housing in the immediate neighborhood and elsewhere in Seattle. Second, the land is returned to the property tax rolls, where it generates revenues for local government. Finally, high quality new homes at reasonable prices were made available in a revitalized, transit-oriented, desirable neighborhood.

The mix of housing at NewHolly now includes units for residents with extremely low incomes (30 percent of area median income or below), and low incomes (80 percent or below), in addition to market-rate rental and for-sale housing:

Housing type

Income Category


Public housing

Extremely low income


For-sale housing

Any income level


Affordable rental housing

Low income


Affordable for-sale housing

Low income


Senior housing

Extremely low income


Senior housing, assisted living

Any income level


Senior housing, assisted living

Extremely low income


Senior housing, assisted living

Low income


Rental housing

Any income level


Units of on-site housing



The redevelopment resulted in 463 more units of off-site housing for extremely low-income residents. An additional 250 housing assistance vouchers were also awarded to Seattle Housing Authority connected to the redevelopment.


Total investment at NewHolly is estimated at $340 million. The money was used for housing construction, new infrastructure—including new roads, sidewalks, underground utility systems—and the creation of parks, playgrounds, open spaces, and important community amenities like the Neighborhood Campus and Elder Village:

Funding source


Private investment


Tax-exempt borrowing


HOPE VI grant


Other public funding


Tax credit partnership equity


Total investment