Design review board has first look at Belmont Ave low-income and re-entry project

(Images: SMR Architects)

Capitol Hill’s design review pipeline has slowed to a trickle but there are still a few important new projects on the board. Wednesday night, a development from Pioneer Human Services part of $101 million in funding for affordable housing projects across Seattle will take its first step in the process.

Design Review: 1717 Belmont Ave

Pioneer on Belmont will be a seven-story apartment building with 90 units designed for a mix of the lowest income tenants and housing for formerly incarcerated and homeless residents:

Pioneer’s project will represent the first step in their journey to rehabilitate and redevelop their current housing portfolio to create long term stable, efficient, sustainable and dignified housing to better serve their clients and community. This new building will allow them to further develop their services and programming, help engage the street in a positive way and allow them to serve more than twice the number of clients as they do today.

With a design from SMR Architects, the project is lined up to replace Pioneer’s existing 107-year-old apartment building and parking lot in the 1700 block of Belmont. With 89 units for residents, a one-bedroom apartment for the building manager, and 4,000 square feet for community space and offices, the new building will be a major upgrade over the existing three-story, 41-unit structure.

“The off-arterial location, centrally located in Capitol Hill provides a great opportunity for the residents,” the developers write. “This project will meet the greater community’s goals by increasing housing affordability, strengthening and enhancing the existing character and providing a greater range of housing types. The streetscape quality will be improved with the project using open space design and use, residential privacy and reflecting the scale of similar existing buildings on the block.”

CHS first reported on the project in December as part of $101 million in city funding for affordable projects. The project will be also be financed with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, “and some combination of public and private financing.”

Pioneer says the development will serve a mix of “low (60%AMI), very low (50% AMI) and extremely low income (30% AMI) residents.” “A portion of the project will also provide opportunity for permanent supportive housing to formerly incarcerated and homeless residents,” the Pioneer announcement of the project reads. “Case management services” for those Pioneer residents will be provided at the facility.

Belmont Ave low-income and re-entry project part of $100M in Seattle affordable housing grants

In addition to utilizing the first year of funding from the 2016 voter-passed Seattle Housing Levy, the city said the Office of Housing’s investments include funding from incentive zoning payments, proceeds from the sale of surplus properties, and $29 million in bonds approved by the Seattle City Council.

SMR Architects, meanwhile, has provided designs for previous Pioneer projects and affordable projects including Plymouth Housing Group’s recently opened 77-unit development on First Hill.


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7 thoughts on “Design review board has first look at Belmont Ave low-income and re-entry project

  1. This seems like a very worthwhile project, and one which will help a very urgent need in our city. But I am curious as to exactly what “case management services” involves. Will there be a comprehensive program onsite for those with addictions of various kinds? And what about those with mental illness? Unless such services are available and effective, there will be a “revolving door” for many of the previously homeless or incarcerated residents.

    • Hi Bob! Usually case management services range from helping with employment, substance abuse counseling and treatment, mental health services and other wrap around services for folks who are not accustomed or able to research their options. In a nutshell, wrap around services often help individuals who are transitioning out of homelessness to stabilize and maintain their housing while addressing their issues.

  2. I’ll send the truck around with some more 8×4 sheets of hardi for the exterior. Seriously can’t our architects come up with anything other than cement board clad blocks.

    • This is a project where the use of hardie board makes the most sense. Cheap, efficient and quality is exactly what is needed for these types of projects.

    • It’s the developer, not the architect, that typically drives these design decisions as they are the cheapest. However, they can be swayed into using better materials in design review. I’ve seen it happen. Attend a meeting or send an email to leave a comment. It actually does help sometimes.

    • – the architect does specify cladding. Indeed I have architect drawings showing the layout of the cladding panels.
      – clearly it’s gonna be hardi – you can tell from the look of the thing. All that is left to consider is whether to use the baked in color. Or have it painted.

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