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Seattle Housing Authority opens new 136-unit residential building at Yesler


Seattle Housing Authority opens new 136-unit residential building at Yesler

Hinoki residential building

Hewitt Pyatok

The Seattle Housing Authority has completed and started leasing Hinoki, its fifth new residential building at Yesler, a neighborhood near downtown Seattle that is being redeveloped by SHA into a vibrant, new mixed-income community. Hinoki is located at E Yesler Way and 10th Ave S.

Hinoki features 136 units of housing affordable to people with low incomes. Its sustainable design includes rain gardens around the perimeter of the building to filter rainwater back into the ground instead of the storm sewer, photovoltaic panels to provide solar power to the building and energy saving appliances and ventilation systems. Residents will have access to a large central courtyard and playground, gardening plots, underground parking and bike storage. Some of the apartments at Hinoki are specifically designed for residents with hearing or visual impairment and others are “Breathe Easy” units designed for people with asthma and other respiratory health concerns. Three units can be licensed as in-home daycare businesses.

With the completion of Hinoki, SHA is well over halfway toward replacing the 561 Yesler Terrace public housing units previously on the site with new apartments for extremely low-income residents. In addition to replacing all of the older units, more than 1,100 additional affordable homes are being built, along with more than 2,500 market-rate rental apartments developed by private development partners.

Yesler Terrace was the city’s first public housing, built in 1940 by the then newly established Seattle Housing Authority. The redevelopment of Yesler Terrace began in 2013 after SHA, with the help of a Citizens Review Committee comprised of Yesler residents, surrounding neighbors, city officials, nonprofit service partners and citizens at large, shaped a plan for replacing Yesler Terrace’s aging housing and deteriorated infrastructure with a new community for Yesler residents and people across a spectrum of income levels.

Amenities in the transformed Yesler neighborhood include a large central park with views of Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound, a fully accessible pedestrian pathway connecting Yesler with adjacent neighborhoods, the Yesler Hillclimb joining Yesler with Little Saigon and the Chinatown-International District, a green-street loop with exercise stations, public art, pocket parks, community gardening plots and a new streetcar line. SHA is continuing to work with community partners to expand its wide range of services for low-income residents to provide them with increased educational, health, employment and other opportunities.

SHA’s first new residential building at Yesler, Kebero Court, opened in 2015, followed by Raven Terrace in 2016, Hoa Mai Gardens in 2017, Red Cedar in 2019 and now Hinoki, which is named for a species of cypress tree native to central Japan. Two more SHA residential buildings are planned – Sawara, which is under construction, and Juniper, which is in design.

Yesler redevelopment is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, funding from the City of Seattle and JPMorgan Chase, and select property sales to private developers. Construction of Hinoki was made possible by funding from Wells Fargo Bank and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The contractor was Andersen Construction and Hewitt Pyatok was the architect.