June 28, 2019
New phase of Yesler Terrace revamp completed
- Seattle Housing Authority says it has replaced more than half of Yesler’s 561 older low-income public housing units.
Celebrations will be held today for the opening of two new Seattle apartment projects in Yesler Terrace: Seattle Housing Authority’s Red Cedar and Vulcan Real Estate’s Cypress.
There will be a ribbon cutting from 10 a.m. to noon for the 119-unit Red Cedar at 808 Fir St., with building tours and remarks by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. From 5 to 7:30 p.m. there will be a community gathering and supper at a pocket park at Fir Street and Broadway to celebrate the openings of both projects.
Cypress, at 120 Broadway, has 237 apartments, with 48 designated to be affordable for households earning 65% to 80% of area median income, according to a press release from SHA.
Vulcan’s website says the seven-story project has a rooftop lounge, rooftop deck with a barbecue kitchen, fitness center, dog relief area and 8,000 square feet of retail space. It is targeting LEED Platinum and Salmon-Safe Certification. Runberg Architecture Group is listed as the architect and Exxel Pacific as the contractor.
Yesler Terrace — the city’s first public housing — was built in 1940 by the then newly established Seattle Housing Authority. The authority’s $1.7 billion redevelopment of the 30-acre property began in 2013.
Red Cedar is SHA’s fourth new residential building to open as part the redevelopment of what SHA now just calls Yesler.
Red Cedar was named to honor the Western red cedar tree that has provided bark for clothing, canoes and other Northwest native uses for centuries.
The apartments are one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom, including some accessible units for people with disabilities and some “breathe easy” apartments, designed for people with asthma and other respiratory problems.
Eighty of the apartments will be occupied by people making 30% or less of the area median income and the rest are for people making up to 60% of AMI.
The project has energy-efficient appliances, windows and lighting, a community room, play area and courtyard, community services space, SHA Yesler property management offices, bike storage and a parking garage with 74 spaces, free to residents.
The project team includes SRG Partnership, architect; Pyatok Architecture, associate architect; Andersen Construction, general contractor; Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer; SvR Engineering, civil engineer; Berger Partnership, landscape architect; Rushing Co., mechanical engineer; Hargis Engineers, electrical/telecommunications engineer; Dark Light, lighting consultant; The Greenbusch Group, acoustical consultant; Amec Foster Wheeler, geotech engineer; Rider Levett Bucknall, cost estimator; Fermata, sustainability; and Karen Braitmayer, accessibility consultant.
SHA said the construction was made possible by funders JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and the city of Seattle.
It said amenities in the transformed Yesler neighborhood include a central park, a pedestrian pathway connecting Yesler with adjacent neighborhoods, the Yesler Hillclimb joining Yesler with Little Saigon and the Chinatown-International District, a green-street loop with exercise stations, public art, pocket parks, community gardening plots and a new streetcar line.
SHA said it is more than halfway toward replacing all 561 older Yesler public housing units with new apartments for low-income residents. Also, more than 1,000 additional affordable homes will be built, along with more than 2,500 market-rate rental apartments developed by private development partners.
The redevelopment is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, funding from the city of Seattle and JPMorgan Chase, and select property sales to private developers.
SHA’s first new residential building at Yesler, Kebero Court, opened in mid-2015, followed by Raven Terrace in early 2016 and Hoa Mai Gardens in 2017. Its fifth new building, Hinoki, is in design. It will have 139 apartments for people with low incomes and is scheduled to open in early 2021.