Restoration of Mt. Baker Village Apartments Recognized for Unique Financing, Outstanding Renovations and New Construction Elements in Prestigious Award’s Preservation Category
Seattle (June 10, 2018) – Seattle area non-profit affordable housing developer Mt. Baker Housing (www.mtbakerhousing.org) (MBH) today announced that its Mt. Baker Village preservation project has been recognized by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine as a finalist for the 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards.
MBH transformed the existing four-story, seven building Mt. Baker Village Apartments into a modern, transit-oriented development two blocks from Seattle’s Mt. Baker Light Rail Station with 156 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartment homes affordable at 30 to 60 percent area median income.
“Being acknowledged on a national scale for our efforts is a tremendous honor,” said Mike Rooney, Executive Director at Mt. Baker Housing. “This project’s broad scope and unique financing, along with the tenant coordination involved, make it likely one of the most complex projects we’ll ever complete.”
Preserving One of Seattle’s Largest Affordable Housing Assets
Mt. Baker Village Apartments, located at 2900 McClellan St. in Seattle, was built in 1957 as garden-style market rate apartments. MBH was formed in the late 1980s to purchase and update the property in order to make it a safe community for its residents, who, then as now, are largely Southeast Asian Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees who relocated to the Seattle area in the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, MBH’s 1988 renovation of Mt. Baker Village represented an early use of the low-income housing tax credit program in Washington State.
The latest renovations—designed to ensure the project remains affordable for decades to come—include fully-updating the existing 107 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units and upgrading common spaces including the community kitchen/entertainment rooms and gathering lounge.
Additionally, MBH also acquired a small neighboring property as part of the project— allowing the construction of an additional 49 new units to meet the needs of Seattle’s aging population, including via accessible units and a new elevator.
In addition to its large scope of construction and renovations, financing for the Mt. Baker Village project was also unique—with the firm creatively using debt, tax credit equity and seller note funds. MBH was also one of the first Seattle firms to utilize a new HUD program to leverage more debt.
“I’m incredibly proud of the unique and innovative nature of the financing for Mt. Baker Village,” said Conor Hansen, Director of Real Estate at Mt. Baker Housing. “A project of this size almost always requires public support, however, in this project we were able to move forward without utilizing any additional public funds beyond those already committed to the project in the 1988 renovation.”
MBH began as a community redevelopment project focused on the Mt. Baker Village Apartments—which had been poorly maintained by its previous owner, leaving hundreds of refugee families in unsafe conditions—and it has since developed seven low-income/affordable housing properties which it now owns and operates. As MBH’s namesake company, Mt. Baker Village started it all.
“Mt. Baker Village is our namesake—it was the project for which the local community created Mt. Baker Housing thirty years ago,” continued Rooney. “We are proud of the legacy of Mt. Baker Village, in particular that it is home to an important segment of Seattle’s Southeast Asian community. We are very happy that with the completion of this project, we’re able to contribute to keeping intact a very special and important Seattle community.”
Project team members for Mt. Baker Village included Mt. Baker Housing (Developer), Rafn Company (General Contractor) and ARC Architects (Architect, Interior Designer) and Beacon Development Group (Development Consultant).
Additionally, financing partners included National Equity Fund, Union Bank, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Office of Housing and Mt. Baker Housing. Construction is expected to be fully- complete by October 2019.
The Mt. Baker Village project will be featured in the July/August issue of Affordable Housing Finance magazine and online. Subscribers can then vote for their favorites in each category as well as one overall winner at the following link: www.housingfinance.com/readers-choiceAbout Mt. Baker Housing Association.
Founded in 1988, Mt. Baker Housing Association (MBHA) 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, MBHA has since developed (and now owns and operates) seven low-income and affordable housing properties totaling over 400 units. By furthering its vision that all people, regardless of income, will have secure, affordable places to live—MBHA has improved residents’ lives by providing vibrant, affordable communities that residents are happy to call home. For more information, visit: www.mtbakerhousing.org.