By Meghan Hall
In a bid to increase its stock of homeless and supportive housing, King County has closed on the purchase of the Inn at Queen Anne in Seattle. Although King County’s acquisition was originally announced in May, the deal was not finalized June 1st. King County paid $16.5 million, or about $206,250 per room, for the property. Public documents show that the seller was affiliated with Wedgewood Court III Associates, LLC.
The property is located at 505 First Ave. N. and was built 1928. The property has 80 guest rooms.
“Our small historic Seattle hotel features the old world characteristics of coved ceilings, arched entryways and period furnishings,” states the hotel’s website. “Step back in time when you stay at our hotel in Queen Anne, Seattle, a rare gem that offers easy access to the modern downtown area.”
For the past year, however, the hotel’s clientele has shifted, and the property has been sheltering homeless Seattleites. The Inn’s current residents were originally transferred from St. Martin de Porres, a shelter downtown. Prior to moving, residents slept on mats on the ground. Most are above the age of 55, according to City officials.
As King County takes over the running of the hotel, it will cost between $1.5 to $2 million annually to maintain operations. Additional support will be provided by Catholic Community Services. King County is expected to close on a number of other hotel properties in the coming weeks to months as part of a larger initiative to house 1,600 people by the end of 2022.
In October of 2020, the King County Council passed a proposal known as “Health Through Housing” in order to create investment to help those experiencing homelessness. Supported by a 0.01 percent sales tax increase, the legislation will provide permanent, supportive for those who are deemed “chronically homeless,” i.e, those who reside in places not meant for human habitation, as well as those with physical or behavioral health issues. There are about 4,500 people who are considered chronically homeless within King County based on official estimates. While the legislation will only be able to help about 2,000 of those individuals, many hope that the Health Through Housing program will provide a critical first step in the right direction.