The purchase of a full city block in Seattle’s Central District by Lake Union Partners will provide nearly 250 affordable housing into the development known as Midtown, located on the corner of 23rd and East Union. Lake Union Partners closed on the deal last week when it paid $23,250,000 for the property. MidTown LP, an entity of the Bangasser family, finally sold the property after a hold-up that prevented the sale from moving forward earlier.
“The Midtown block has become one of the focal points for the gentrification conversation in the Central District,” said Africatown Board Member Kenny Pleasant in an announcement. “This historic partnership builds on the equitable development goals achieved in the Liberty Bank project and forges a shared prosperity that directly benefits the Central District and the black community.”
Lake Union Partners plans to develop between 400 and 420 apartment homes on the site and of those, 125 units will be allocated for affordable housing. The units will be available to people whose household income is between 60 and 85 percent of the area-median income (AMI) or those earning between $40,000 and $65,000 per year. To do this, Lake Union Partners is utilizing Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program and the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program.
Through this acquisition, Lake Union Partners is also working with Africatown Community Land Trust (Africatown) and Forterra, Washington’s largest land conservation, stewardship and community building organization, to sell them back a portion of the block. Forterra will serve as the interim purchaser on behalf of Africatown and will work with the group to transfer the property into a community development partnership entity.
With the property that Africatown/Forterra has, the partnership will develop between 120 and 135 affordable housing units. Those units will be available to people making $26,880 or 40 percent AMI. All in all, about 50 percent of the housing on the block will be affordable housing.
“Given our other investments at 23rd & Union, we’ve worked hard to connect well with the neighborhood and as always, we simply try to do good work with our design, be respectful of the community, and create projects with neighborhood retail that residents of the area need and want,” said Patrick Foley, partner at Lake Union Partners. “It’s an honor for us to be part of this historic partnership between our company, Forterra and Africatown. It’s a huge responsibility and we take it seriously.”
Lake Union Partners is familiar with the Central District and has a number of properties in the neighborhood including a property at 2203 East Union. It’s a 92-unit apartment building with 4,500 square feet of retail space. The group also has Stencil and East Union. Stencil is a 39-unit building with 2,600 square feet of retail and East Union is a 144-unit building with 18,000 square feet of retail.
The group plans to break ground and develop simultaneously while sharing design and and construction team resources. Designs will have to go through the Seattle design review board process for approval.