(Image: City of Seattle)
More than 100 senior residents of First Hill’s Exeter House retirement community will be on the move in coming months as the 1926-built, landmark-worthy apartment building is being put up for sale, according to a company letter passed on to CHS by the First Hill Improvement Association.
Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest has announced it is “relocating the Exeter House community of residents” to Capitol Hill’s Fred Lind Manor on 17th Ave.
A letter from CEO Torsten Hirche followed meetings Wednesday to notify residents of the coming changes:
“We recognize that change is hard and that moving will be a challenge, especially for some of our residents and team members that have been at Exeter House for many years,” the statement from Hirche reads. “But we also know that this is the right decision: one that is critical to continue our mission to celebrate and enrich the lives of seniors for decades to come, and one that is fully supported by the management at both Exeter House and Fred Lind Manor.”
9th Ave’s Exeter is listed as having 110 units in county records. Fred Lind Manor is listed as having 82.
The company, which describes itself as the only “multi-site, not-for-profit senior living organization in Seattle,” says it is preparing to assist residents with the transition — including “financial support” —
Company officials have not yet returned CHS’s calls for more information about the announcement and the sale. UPDATE: A PRCN spokesperson tells CHS that they are planning for a gradual transition for residents at both facilities and expect that the demand for units at Fred Lind Manor can be managed based on residents “naturally coming in and out” of the communities while some will also choose to live in a new retirement community. The spokesperson said financial assistance will include full moving assistance and some help for residents who paid for improvements in their Exeter House units.
In the statement PRCN says it expects the transition will take up to 12 months and that the historic building “will be turned over to a new owner only after all of the residents have been relocated.”
The roaring ’20s building is listed among Seattle’s historical sites as qualifying for national and local recognition:
This ten-story building is of concrete construction, clad in brownish brick with extensive terra cotta ornamentation. The center entry bay and two other bays on the main (south) façade, as well as a bay on each side elevation, are all completely clad with cream-colored terra cotta with a variety of Tudor-inspired motifs. Terra cotta medallions also adorn the gabled parapet and the top-floor spandrels. A very wide belt course and water table delineate the first floor. A narrow string course at the base of the parapet is highlighted with patterned brickwork and decorative tiles. The front of the building is further enhanced with three projecting bays of terra cotta, one above the entry. The elegant entry has the name “Exeter” incised between two shields. Windows are newer metal sash.
PRCN acquired the grand Exeter Hotel in 1962 and converted it to the retirement community. The sale of the property on the edge of Freeway Park across from Town Hall Seattle will bring its holdings down to three locations.
In addition to the construction waves that continue to pulse through the city, acquisition and redevelopment of existing old apartment buildings has also been a booming business — with residents sometimes being left behind in the wake. In September 2014, the $73.9 million purchase of First Hill’s Panorama House left many residents — including many senior First Hillers — looking at the prospect of significantly jacked-up rents.