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Capitol Hill Housing to create affordable apartment building at 23rd/Union

Call it gentrification if you like. But change at 23rd and Union continues. Wednesday afternoon, Capitol Hill Housing announced that it has tentatively agreed to acquire the KeyBank building at the intersection with plans to build a mixed-use affordable housing project.

From our sister site Central District News:

KeyBank at 23rd/Union to be redeveloped as affordable housing
There is more change coming for 23rd and Union. The KeyBank building at the intersection is being acquired by nonprofit developer Capitol Hill Housing and will be redeveloped as “mixed-use and affordable housing,” according to the announcement sent out Wednesday afternoon and posted below.

The bank will continue to operate into April before operations are consolidated at other area branches, according to the announcement.

A bank has operated at the site for decades including the Liberty Bank, started in 1968 as a black-owned bank. more…

The nonprofit Capitol Hill Housing develops and operates apartment buildings across Capitol Hill and Seattle. Its most recent project — The Jefferson at 12th and Jefferson — opened last fall. Its 40 one and two-bedroom apartments are designated affordable — “for workers earning up to $36,000 for a single person or $41,000 for a two-person family (60% of the median income).” The developer’s next big effort will be the 12th Ave Arts building on Capitol Hill that will transform the current East Precinct parking lot into an apartment and office building with a theater facility — and parking for SPD.

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14 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Housing to create affordable apartment building at 23rd/Union

  1. Huh? That intro needs to be changed. Even though you said …if you like, but it’s not from the facts in the article. Stir up something that needs to labeled gentrification.

  2. I’ve reported on development issues around 23rd and Union for a few years now and concerns about the loss of black-owned businesses and services like the post office and the bank possibly leaving the area are a real concern. Nothing to stir up. It’s already there.

  3. Hi Justin, it is only gentrification if the changes are drastic and sudden enough that community members are unable to cope with the change. This is a case of much needed positive improvement to the area. CHH is going to help the neighborhood stay alive but putting its energy into the well being of residents here. The word gentrification has been used as a club for too long. Artists were gentrified out of Pioneer Square and Belltown but people expect artists to create area improvements of their own demise. Every area and every neighborhood changes with time. If change is well paced and appropriate for an area then it is reasonable growth.

  4. great idea – just as the neighborhood is moving past the gang violence, shootings, drug dealing, and other negative activities, associated with THAT EXACT CORNER. Now the city wants to BRING IT ALL BACK?!?

    Call it gentrification. Call me a jerk. You can’t even call them “lower income” because they are systematically disqualified from this type of living establishment. Get the degenerates the HELL out of here PLEASE. Send them to white center or maine or pretty much anywhere else. I care more about my safety and property value than being sensitive about lower income housing.

  5. As a resident at The Jefferson, I wanted to clarify for Pete the difference between “low income housing” and the negative stereotypes and “affordable housing.” The qualifications to live in a CHS building are extensive. Spotless rental history, proof of income – for The Jefferson a single person has to make at least $36,000 (60% of the median income). Even pets require verification from your Vet that they are fixed, vaccinated and have a City of Seattle license.
    The list is extensive and can be viewed here:
    Be sure to click on the additional “Tenant Screening” link as well.

    As a tenant I could not be happier with my neighbors and the fact that I get to live in a great neighborhood where I also work, in a new building without 4 roommates. I now spend my dollars locally instead of in Snohomish county where I used to commute from every day.
    We are working class – we pay rent and we do call the police.
    CHS is the best thing that could happen to that corner. Or, is another vacant building more “in tune” with the neighborhood vibe?

  6. Thank you for this information on the tenants of CHH buildings, and for making the important distinction between “low income housing” and “affordable housing.” But it’s not fair to paint all residents in low-income buildings (mainly Seattle Housing Authority general housing and Senior Housing, and also Section 8 buildings) as having drug, alcohol, or mental health problems….some do, yes, but many do not and are just down on their luck for all kinds of reasons.

    Also, I don’t think you meant to say that single residents of CHH have to make more than $36,000 a year….to qualify, their income must be below that amount.

    Welcome to our neighborhood! You are exactly the kind of person CHH is trying to provide housing for.

  7. I think it’s too bad that the word “gentrification” has become a pejorative, at least among certain Capitol Hill hipsters and disaffected people. For me, it is a synonym for “neighborhood improvement,” including affordable as well as market rate apartment buildings, new retail spaces for (hopefully) local businesses and restaurants, and the addition of light rail/streetcars.

    These things are happening all over our neighborhood, and will continue to happen, in spite of the neo-Luddites who want no change.

  8. You know, I just want to thank you guys for helping me understand that it’s NOT gentrification. We all do a good job, working together to promote our specific vision of the neighborhood and you guys are right. As long as we do what we want slow enough, it isn’t gentrification. I deal with a lot of guilt, so once again, thanks for the encouragement. I’m also not a racist either.

  9. The only thing I care about is that people can’t stay in affordable housing (or section 8 housing forever). A person should only be able to take advantage of the reduced rents for, say, 5 years before they have to move on to normal apartments. Why? Two reasons: 1) it encourages them to seek out more work and/or higher paying jobs and 2) it gives other people a chance to live at reduced rents as well. I see no reason why someone should be able to live at lower rents the rest of their lives while others never get that chance because they are blocked.