By Meghan Hall
As housing prices across the region have skyrocketed, increasing risk of displacement for median and low-income households, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has worked to expand its housing stock. In a recent transaction, SHA purchased the Northgate Apartments on First Ave. NE for $61 million, or about $295,000 per unit. The seller was Northgate Plaza LLC, an entity associated with John and Vincent Mullally of Seattle.
Apartments.com indicates that the complex is comprised of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. There are 207 units total range from between 400 to 780 square feet in size, while pricing varies from just over $1,000 per month to $1,500 per month.
The property is located at 11200 1st Ave. NE. and just adjacent to the Northgate Mall, a rapidly changing neighborhood where money is pouring in from investors. Currently, the 33-acre Northgate Mall is owned by Simon Property Group. The property owner is currently working with the City to redevelop the property into more than 768,000 square feet of office and 1,200 residential units, and is in the midst of receiving design approvals for the multi-phased development.
And, in a transaction that also closed this week, Chicago-based Equity Residential purchased the Lane Apartments from Goodman Real Estate for $85 million, or $390,000 per-unit. The complex, completed in 2019 has 218 units, and its rents range from $1,470 and $2,225 per month.
With prices in the neighborhood set to rise as the submarket becomes more competitive, the maintenance of affordable housing will become imperative. In February of this year, the SHA announced that the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved an acquisition and preservation plan that would allow the SHA to purchase up to 500 units to accommodate households who earn between 30 to 80 percent of area median income. The plan also allows the SHA to purchase an additional 169 units as opportunities were identified.
“At a time when Seattle is losing affordable housing at an alarmingly rapid rate, SHA leadership asked how we could help stem that tide,” said Debbie Thiele, Chair of the SHA Board of Commissioners in a statement. “We are pleased that through creative partnerships and funding mechanisms, hundreds of low-income people will be able to stay in their homes, which will be preserved as affordable housing in Seattle into the future.”