Large-Scale, Transit-Oriented Development Slated to Add 300 ‘Family-Sized’ Affordable Homes and Approximately 400 Market-Rate Units Near Future Light Rail Station
Contaminated Site Clean-up Will Benefit Affordable Housing; Represents First-of-Its Kind Partnership Between Non-Profit Developer, For-Profit Developer and Washington State Department of Ecology
Seattle, June 29, 2018 – Local non-profit and affordable housing developer Mt. Baker Housing (www.mtbakerhousing.org) (MBH) and local developer Lake Union Partners (www.lakeunionpartners.com) (LUP) today announced ‘Grand Street Commons,’ a new 3.2 acre transit-oriented development project located in Seattle’s Judkins Park neighborhood. Local real estate firm HAL Real Estate (www.halrealestate.com) (HAL) is providing a majority of the project equity. The site was purchased from multiple parcel owners for $19,869,650.
The multi-block site has been vacant for more than 10 years and was previously home to several businesses that contaminated it over a long period of time. Through an innovative clean-up program for brownfield sites through the Washington State Department of Ecology, the project team will now be able to remediate the site and bridge what would otherwise be a financially unworkable redevelopment challenge.
“This pioneering project leverages the strengths and resources of a non-profit affordable housing developer and a private workforce/market-rate/mixed-use developer alongside the resources of a public agency—all with a shared focus of building affordable housing,” said Mt. Baker Housing Association Director of Real Estate Conor Hansen. “It represents the type of creative, innovative work we aspire to build at Mt. Baker Housing.”
Located at Rainier Ave. S and Grand Street, the 139,392 sq. ft. future site of the ‘Grand Street Commons’ will include a diverse mix of approximately 700 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable- and market-rate housing units built by Mt. Baker Housing and Lake Union Partners. Half of the total new homes will be affordable.
MBH will build at least 150 homes targeted at individuals and families earning 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), half of which will be family-sized two- and three-bedroom units. Lake Union Partners will also add another 150 homes targeting 60-85% AMI, as well as 400 market-rate units, assuming the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) city-wide Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) rezone package continues advancing. LUP’s apartment homes will include a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
“We are greatly encouraged by the number of State and City leaders who are in support of creative housing solutions, like that of Grand Street Commons,” said Joe Ferguson, Lake Union Partners Co-Founder and Principal. “The Department of Ecology’s ability to assist with the on-site clean up funding takes a non-workable site and transforms it into an asset for the neighborhood—adding a significant amount of affordable housing where it is much-needed.”
New State Remediation Program Clears Path for Affordable Housing on Complex Site
As a first-of-its-kind partnership between MBH, LUP and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), MBH will use state funds to clean-up part of the onsite contamination for Grand Street Commons through a legal agreement with Ecology called a Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree (PPCD). Originally used for brownfield clean up available to cities, ports and other government entities, the State Legislature broadened the policy in 2013 to include affordable housing and other “public benefits.”
“We’re excited to be using the cleanup process to preserve the neighborhood.” said Jim Pendowski, who manages Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program. “Our financial assistance for cleanups can now benefit affordable housing projects, and we see this as a high priority.
“We are excited to help clean-up three contaminated, underutilized blocks located just steps from the future Judkins Park light rail station and, in turn, provide needed new affordable and market rate housing, as well as missing neighborhood amenities,” said HAL Real Estate President Jonathan Manheim. “This is a complex project requiring a lot of learning and creativity and we are eager to continue forward with such a strong team.”
“This is our second experience working with the Department of Ecology and its brownfields clean-up funds for affordable housing, and it’s so exciting to see the State prioritizing clean-up funds in this way,” Hansen added. “Ecology recognized this opportunity and worked hard to ensure the success of this deal. As a result, the North Rainier Valley community will benefit from remediation of an environmental nuisance, new retail opportunities for a spectrum of businesses and, most importantly, affordable transit oriented housing.”
MBH recently announced The Maddux, the first Ecology pilot program to use its brownfield clean-up program for an affordable housing site. The Maddux is a two-building, multifamily affordable housing project at a key site in Mt. Baker Town Center, located on S. McClellan Street on the east side of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. This pivotal transit-oriented development site will help create a “gateway” between the Mt. Baker Town Center and the Mt. Baker residential neighborhood. Ecology last year provided $400,000 to MBH to start the extensive cleanup process left behind by a gas station and dry cleaner. The Legislature authorized another $6.2M to complete the cleanup work for the project, and Ecology will provide funding to MBH starting this summer.
Grand Street Commons: New Retail and Open Spaces Within Steps of Light Rail
Comprised of three existing blocks situated just south of the future Judkins Park Light Rail Station at the intersection of Grand Street and 22nd Ave S (between Rainier Ave. S and 23rd Ave. S), the team is also looking to design 22nd Ave S. as an attractive retail core.
Featuring 65,000 sq. ft. of neighborhood retail amenities, the space is slated to include three major tenants including a grocery store, drug store and/or medical clinic, as well as a complementary mix of small commercial spaces ideally-situated for local entrepreneurs including local food and crafts. The diverse housing community will also include a large community room for residents, all leading to the future Judkins Park Light Rail Station.
“Because of the size and continuity of this three-block site, we’re able to be creative with the design, allowing for onsite open spaces, plazas and a stronger sense of place and community for residents,” continued Ferguson.
The project will also include 65,000 sq. ft. of new neighborhood retail and will also include onsite open space. The project is slated to begin construction in 2021 and anticipated to be complete in 2023 in time for the Judkins Park Light Rail Station opening.
Project team members include engineering firm Aspect Consulting and law firm Perkins Coie. Jason Rosauer and Rob Anderson from Kidder Matthews represented the seller on the deal.
About Mt. Baker Housing
Founded in 1988, Mt. Baker Housing (MBH) is a Seattle-based nonprofit low-income housing developer. Its mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities by creating quality, affordable housing and supporting residents in southeast Seattle—including renovating existing properties and pursuing new construction projects. Since its first project, rehabilitation of the nine-building Mt. Baker Village Apartments complex, MBH has since developed (and now owns and operates) seven low-income and affordable housing properties totaling just over 300 units. By furthering its vision that all people, regardless of income, will have secure, affordable places to live—MBH has improved residents’ lives by providing vibrant, affordable communities that residents are happy to call home. For more information, visit: www.mtbakerhousing.org.
About HAL Real Estate
HAL Real Estate Inc. is a Seattle-based real estate investment firm focused on direct and joint-venture investment opportunities across the Greater Puget Sound region. HAL has deep experience in acquisition, development and recapitalization of apartment, condominium, office, and mixed-use properties. The firm also invests in raw land, industrial and retail properties. HAL has the financial resources of a large institutional investor, but operates with the speed and flexibility of a local private investor using its own capital. More information available at: www.halrealestate.com.
About Lake Union Partners
Seattle-based Lake Union Partners is an urban real estate company specializing in residential mixed-use and commercial projects in Seattle. As a team of creative and experienced developers, the company is focused on building projects with design integrity and sensitivity to local neighborhoods. Learn more at www.lakeunionpartners.com.