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LIHI selected to develop 160 affordable homes in Seattle’s U District

Rendering by Hewitt

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) is pleased to announce that Sound Transit and the Seattle Office of Housing have selected LIHI to develop affordable housing on Sound Transit’s property at 1000 NE 45th Street in Seattle’s University District. Sound Transit and the Office of Housing issued a joint RFP in September 2023 for transit-oriented development (TOD) and selected LIHI through a competitive process. The site is approximately two blocks from the U District light rail station.

LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee said, “We are thrilled to bring more affordable housing and an Urban Rest Stop to the University District. Thank you to Sound Transit and the City of Seattle for advancing the vision for the U District to be a more inclusive community. The housing will prioritize people in the U District and other neighborhoods who are experiencing unaffordable rents and displacement.”

Mayor Bruce Harrell said, "Solving our region’s housing crisis takes innovative partnerships, such as the one between Sound Transit and our Seattle Office of Housing – who are working together to redevelop this 45th Street property into affordable homes with direct access to transit, retail, and community spaces. The selection of LIHI as the developer for this project will leverage their experience creating meaningful housing solutions – from tiny house villages to permanent homes – and will help ensure more of our neighbors can afford to live and work in our beautiful city for years to come."

"Sound Transit is excited to help foster more affordable housing on our surplus land in Seattle's University District through our partnership with Low Income Housing Institute," said Thatcher Imboden, Sound Transit's Director of Community Development. "This project is a great example of how partnerships bring innovative ideas and community-centered outcomes to our station areas."

"This is an exciting development for the U District," said Don Blakeney, Executive Director of The U District Partnership. "For years the community has identified affordable housing and public restrooms as top priorities for the neighborhood. This project will deliver both, in addition to an Urban Rest Stop, which will meet many of the needs of our unhoused population in northeast Seattle."

The proposed 12-story building will feature 160 apartments serving families and individuals with a mix of incomes at 30%, 50% and 80% of the area median income (AMI), with an average at or below 60% AMI. Approximately one-third of the units will be two- and three-bedroom family-sized apartments.

Design firms that are part of the development team include Hewitt and Pyatok. Both are known for their multifamily award winning designs. The building will utilize Type IV Mass Timber construction, a green, sustainable technique that uses a light, renewable resource (wood) with a lower carbon footprint that is 75% less than traditional steel and concrete.

In addition to the housing, the property will feature street level retail, a public restroom and an Urban Rest Stop that provides showers, laundry, and hygiene services to homeless people. LIHI is thrilled to be bringing a permanent Urban Rest Stop back to the U District after having to close its former U District location due to the end of its lease in 2020. The proposed public restroom will be located facing the bikeway along Roosevelt Way NE and will attract bikers, transit riders, shoppers, students, residents and visitors to the U District.

Sound Transit will convey the property at below market value to LIHI. Washington state law requires 80% of Sound Transit’s surplus property that is suitable for housing to be offered for affordable housing for households at or below 80% AMI. The Seattle Office of Housing has committed $15 million for construction. Other public funds are identified as well as private debt, tax exempt bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and charitable grants.

LIHI is partnering with University Heights Center to conduct public outreach to complete the alley vacation process that bisects the 18,000 SF property. In 2023 the Seattle City Council passed legislation to approve the alley vacation and its realignment to 11th Ave. NE.

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