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Announcing Patsy Surh Place Groundbreaking

77 affordable apartments for seniors

Rendering by Weber Thompson Architects

December 20, 2023, 11am

711 S. 38th St., Tacoma

Seattle, WA – The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) are pleased to announce the groundbreaking ceremony for Patsy Surh Place.

Speaking at the event will be Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, City Councilmember Catherine Ushka, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, Congressman Derek Kilmer, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, State Senator Yasmin Trudeau, Patsy Surh O’Connell, Lisa Vatske of WSHFC, APCC Executive Director Faaluaina Pritchard, and LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee.

Patsy Surh Place is a new construction project located in Tacoma’s Lincoln District. This 6-story building will provide 77 units of affordable housing for seniors making 30% and 50% of Area Median Income. The building will include 47 studios and 31 one-bedroom units. On-site amenities will include community space, a multipurpose room and gallery space, social service office, and an outdoor courtyard. One apartment will be set aside for a live-in manager. Commercial space for small businesses will be built along S. 38th St.

The building is named after Patsy Surh O'Connell. Patsy is an exceptional community leader with an unwavering commitment in promoting Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, culture, and arts throughout the region. Patsy’s passion stems from a unique desire to honor her Korean heritage and to honor her parents’ legacy. She was born in Shanghai, China to Korean parents, and lived her early life in Korea before immigrating to America as a student in 1963. She founded the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in 1996 with a dream to create a central gathering place for people to connect through Asian Pacific art and culture. Patsy serves as APCC’s President and under her strong leadership the organization has grown and expanded to serve hundreds of thousands of people each year throughout the State of Washington.

In addition to her work with APCC, Mrs. O’Connell was instrumental in forming the Washington Korean Artists Association. In 2018, she was awarded the Governor's Heritage Award for her decades of work and dedication. She served on the Washington State Arts Commission and on the Board of the Western States Arts Federation. Mrs. O’Connell has a heart of gold. Her sincerity and kindness shines through in all the work that she has done for the community.

“This building will be specifically targeting but not limited to Asian Pacific elders. This is an exciting moment for the Asia Pacific community to look forward to. We owe it all to LIHI for accepting APCC's call out to partner to produce a cultural and language sensitive low income senior building here in Tacoma. Thank you so very much Sharon Lee and LIHI! Asia Pacific people value elders because it is their culture to take good care of mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncle, aunty and older siblings. Low income senior housing is a huge need in Tacoma and Pierce County,” said Faaluaina Pritchard, APCC Executive Director.

“Patsy Surh Place will add to the vibrancy and cultural richness of Tacoma’s International District. We are thrilled to partner with APCC on developing and owning their first housing community. Thank you to Faaluaina Pritchard and the APCC Board for their vision and determination in making this project a reality,“ said LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee.

"I am profoundly proud and honored to have senior housing named after me. It is a testament to a shared commitment to the well-being and community support for our elderly. I look forward to the positive impact and sense of belonging that Patsy Surh Place will bring to older individuals in our community! Thank you so much LIHI and APCC for recognizing me in this special way. I am truly honored,” stated Patsy Surh.

“Affordable housing continues to be a challenge at the top of our minds, particularly for our senior populations on fixed incomes, and I am thrilled to see this project breaking ground that is focused on seniors below 50% of the Area Median Income,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “I am also so very proud to see the project named after Patsy Surh O'Connell, an icon in our community who has done so much to advocate for our Asian Pacific communities.”

“It is my honor and delight to participate in the groundbreaking for Patsy Surh Place,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “Patsy is someone I’ve long admired. She is an inspiration to me and I know she will be to the residents who will live in the new community that bears her name. I look forward to the celebration!”

The architect is Weber Thompson Architects. Contractor is Walsh Construction Co. The building size is 56,344 sf and construction is expected to be completed in April 2025.

Financing for Patsy Surh Place includes Pierce County, City of Tacoma, State Housing Trust Fund, Banner Bank, National Equity Fund, WSHFC, Tacoma Housing Authority, and Pierce County Housing Authority.

Thank you to Banner Bank for sponsoring the groundbreaking event. 

Asia Pacific Cultural Center is a 26 years old non-profit community based organization that bridges communities and generations through arts, culture, education and business. APCC represents, teaches, and showcases the 47 nations that make up all of Asia and all of the South Pacific. APCC is in schools, military, government, different communities, and the general public via cultural and arts education workshops, performances, demonstrations, lectures, visual arts, culinary, language classes, and more. APCC serves over 200,000 people annually. 

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