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Lake City Court brings new housing to north Seattle

Apartments for 86 families created in convenient urban setting

SEATTLE—September 20, 2011—Seattle Housing Authority today marked the opening of Lake City Court (12536 33rd Ave. NE), a new apartment building that will provide 86 apartments for low-income residents on a 1.8-acre site rich with urban conveniences and services.

Lake City Court Entry

Lake City Court at 12536 33rd Ave. NE, Seattle

With an emphasis on energy-efficiency and livability, the new apartment building conforms to the highest standards of green building.

The new complex is located on a site that formerly contained 16 public-housing townhomes and a small commercial building. Plagued by persistent flooding due to inadequate drainage facilities in the area, the townhomes became uninhabitable and were demolished in 2001. The City of Seattle has corrected the conditions that caused the flooding, and the site has been re-graded.

"We are exceptionally pleased with the results we have achieved at Lake City Court," noted Executive Director Tom Tierney. "At a difficult time in our economy, this construction project has created 71 jobs, including jobs for 37 low-income residents and has preserved more than 530 jobs overall. It has created new housing for large families in the north end of Seattle, in a creative multifamily environment. And, it is a great example of stimulus dollars effectively used."


Jibriil Yusuf (left) and Mitchell Cheatham were both hired by Andersen Construction for the Lake City Court project. Yusuf, who graduated from the UW in 2010, was hired as project engineer. "I didn't just get a job through this program," he said, "I launched a career."

"Lake City Court is yet another example of the success of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and why we need to continue to invest in it," said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). "This program creates jobs in our communities and provides critical affordable housing for those in need. I plan on introducing legislation to help spur investment in more projects like Lake City Court that provide homes for Washington families and grow our local economy."

KeyBank provided the construction loan that allowed work to proceed smoothly. "KeyBank’s Community Development Lending unit is mission-driven to support development of affordable housing in low-to-moderate income areas," said Dinah Thoreson, vice president in Key’s Community Development Lending office in Seattle. "Key’s $10.6 million investment in Lake City Court was made easy by our 20-year relationship with Seattle Housing Authority, their proven ability to consistently produce high-quality residential properties, and our expertise in working with a complex network of financing resources."

Doris Koo

Keynote speaker Doris Koo, senior advisor at Enterprise

Doris Koo, former CEO and President of Enterprise Community Partners and currently a Senior Advisor to the organization, was the keynote speaker at the event. Koo formerly held the position of Director of Development at Seattle Housing Authority and was instrumental in the agency’s successful implementation of HOPE VI redevelopments. Enterprise helped to make the project financing work by contributing $12 million in low-income tax credit equity.

"Lake City Court is a model for green affordable housing. Close to public transportation and excellent schools, it is an ideal location for families with low-incomes to build a strong foundation in a neighborhood well served by retail and other life services," said Koo. "We are proud to have worked with the Seattle Housing Authority and the other partners to help make Lake City Court a home for so many Seattle residents."

Funding for the project totals $31 million. A federal HOPE VI grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided $10.5 million, and a stimulus grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $8 million. Tax-credit equity of $12 million was contributed by Enterprise Community Partners.

About two-thirds (51) of the apartments will serve residents with incomes below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (about $26,000 annually for a family of four). An additional 35 apartments will serve residents with incomes below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (about $52,000 annually for a family of four).

Lake City Court Opening Crowd

A large crowd celebrated at Lake City Court on Sept. 20, 2011.

Most of the apartments at Lake City Court will serve families. In order to accommodate families with children, the building has been carefully designed for privacy and controlled access. Most ground-floor apartments have direct access to the outside.
The Lake City Court site itself contains many amenities for residents including community gardens with a tool shed, a playground, and a barbecue and picnic area that is shared with residents from the adjacent Lake City House.

Secure underground garage parking for 90 cars also provides secure bike storage and access by elevator to the upper floors. A technology center managed by Children’s Home Society offers a dozen computers and computer literacy classes.

Lake City Court follows a high standard for green building. Overall, Lake City Court is 30 percent more energy-efficient than typical new construction. Its roof has an array of solar panels that will provide at least ten percent of the building’s energy needs and includes a solar hot water system to generate up to half of the building’s domestic hot water. Apartments are heated with high efficiency gas-fired hydronic heat.

Original artwork produced by local artist Melissa Koch graces the common areas of the building, tying the indoors to the outside environment and reinforcing residents’ connection to the natural environment. Healthy building materials contribute to high-quality indoor air. These materials include linoleum floor coverings, plywood cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms and no-or low-VOC paints and sealants throughout the building.