UW and SHA tap Bellwether Housing to build mixed-income development in U District
The University of Washington and the Seattle Housing Authority today announced that Bellwether Housing has been selected to develop a mixed-income high-rise of about 240 units in the University District, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents.
Once completed, the 16-story project will provide a child care space and much-needed housing for faculty and staff, as well as others who want to take advantage of the central location, in the 4200 block of Roosevelt Way Northeast, near the UW campus and multiple transit options.
“Our university is dedicated to helping the communities we serve become more diverse, equitable and livable, and that begins right here in our own U District neighborhood, where we urgently need affordable, quality housing,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “We are especially excited about the opportunities this will create for university faculty and staff and their families to live and have access to child care in close proximity to our Seattle campus.”
Bellwether plans to use a mix of public and private funding to create this mixed-income community. Both funding sources support each other to make the project feasible, allowing Bellwether to maximize the development capacity of the site without straining existing public financing sources.
“We are thrilled that the UW shares our vision for this site — to provide about 240 low- and moderate-income families with affordable, high-quality, transit-oriented homes in the heart of a vibrant neighborhood. Our mixed-income model allows us to leverage this opportunity to create as many new homes as possible in this city that needs as much affordable housing as we can build,” said Bellwether Housing CEO Susan Boyd.
Initial plans are to serve households earning between 60% to 100% of Area Median Income, or AMI. A majority of the units, 163, are earmarked for families at around 60% of AMI, with the remainder reserved for the so-called “missing middle” at between 80% and 100% of AMI.
Having a range of incomes in one building best serves UW employees and the community by increasing diversity and housing options, Cauce said. There are limited housing choices available to those whose income disqualifies them from special programs for low-income households, but still isn’t enough to be competitive in Seattle’s booming housing market. By creating the “missing middle” housing, more of the UW workforce will be able to live near their jobs, reducing the time, expense and environmental costs of long commutes.
In 2017, UW approached the Seattle Housing Authority about partnering on development of the property, given SHA’s extensive experience in developing affordable housing.
“We are excited to be working collaboratively with the University of Washington on this project,” said Rod Brandon, SHA’s executive director. “We have had great success in developing mixed-income communities and think this approach will best meet the needs of the neighborhood, and people who need to live there but are otherwise priced out. Bellwether is exactly the right partner to help bring this vision to life.”
The building will include 65 two- and three-bedroom apartments for larger families, an outdoor space, shared play area, common room and other residential amenities. Plans also are in place for a 7,318-square-foot child care facility on the ground floor with a separate drop-off zone and its own outdoor play area.
The half-acre property is owned by the UW, and the UW will ground lease the land to Bellwether. The existing residential and commercial structures will be demolished to make space for the new construction.
If approved, construction is scheduled to begin by December 2024.