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Want to be part of 110 affordable new apartments above Capitol Hill Station? Here’s how to join the Station House crowd

(Image: Capitol Hill Housing)

With rent for even its most expensive units expected to be 35% below Capitol Hill averages, the affordable Station House apartments above Capitol Hill Station are set to draw hundreds and possibly thousands of interested residents.

There are only 110 units to go around.

The Capitol Hill Housing-developed component of the massive complex of housing, retail, community, and plaza space being built above the busy light rail station is set to begin its leasing process in the new year with its new apartments planned to open by March:

CHH will build 110 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 30%, 50%, and 60% of area median income in a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street. The building is being built with a goal of reaching a LEED Platinum standard and will also include a 1,409 square foot community room.

The first stage of the application process will begin January 7th. It will be a busy day.

When CHS last reviewed listings earlier this year, a typical two-bedroom unit on Capitol Hill was going for more than $2,200, a one-bedroom for more than $1,800. For qualified residents, Station House will be a different story.

As a nonprofit developer, Capitol Hill Housing finances its projects with a mix of federal, state, and City of Seattle funding, tax credit equity, good old fashioned loans, and capital campaigns. It produces buildings that are restricted to those earning below tiers of median average incomes for the area. The result is a building like Station House that is hoped to achieve the goal of creating spaces to live for everybody in Seattle — not just the wealthy.

Capitol Hill Housing says flyers are being shared out to its community partners this month to reach a variety of populations to make sure word is spread wide and far about the opportunity.

Under Seattle’s “First in Time” ordinance, Station House applicants will be called in the order in which they apply in the early interest round. “If you have not received a call back, it means that all apartments have been filled,” Capitol Hill Housing writes.

Capitol Hill Housing will then begin a screening process and applicant reviews.

The step by step requirements and timeline are spelled out in English here at openhouse.capitolhillhousing.org. Flyers in languages including Spanish, Somali, and Chinese.

Station House is currently under construction at 10th and John on the northeast corner of the housing, community plaza, and retail development rising around the light rail station. With an additional 60 or so affordable units in the market rate buildings from the project’s master developer Gerding Edlen, about 41% of the planned 430 or so new apartments being created above Broadway will be affordable. CHS reported here on the decades of community work that went into shaping priorities for the development.

Settled between the four new buildings, the development’s plaza “will be available for public use” including “a weekly morning to afternoon year-round farmers market is planned for both the plaza and along Denny Way. Cal Anderson Park, located across the plaza and Denny Way is a publicly available open space,” according to developers. The plaza will connect with the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway remembering those who have succumbed to and those who have survived HIV and AIDS.

The development’s retail component, meanwhile, has been planned to include a grocer and a daycare facility. CHS reported about H Mart’s plans for a 16,000-square-foot market in the project.

While some will point out, probably rightly, that the buildings around the light rail station should be even taller and have room for even more units, the northeast corner’s planned heights were a flashpoint issue during early planning for the project with groups like Reasonable Density Seattle standing in opposition — especially along the development’s east side facing the mix of apartments, duplexes, and a few remaining single family-style homes that still stood in the area just north of Cal Anderson at the time. Efforts like this 2013 Capitol Hill Community Council vote helped pave the way for the development projects rising at the site today.

When the Capitol Hill Housing online form goes live, expect a rush. Here’s what happened when 88 affordable units became available in the developer’s 12th Ave Arts building in 2014. At the Liberty Bank Building in the Central District, the outreach created a new kind of demand in Seattle for that project’s affordable units. Capitol Hill Housing partner Africatown worked with partners Byrd Barr Place and Black Community Impact Alliance to get the word out and handed out flyers at youth football practices, churches and community meetings. Thanks to these efforts, 86% of the Liberty Bank residents— who applied on the first-come, first-served basis — are Black. CHS reported here on how “community preference” anti-displacement policy is being shaped in Seattle. Community preference will also be a major factor when Capitol Hill Housing opens its eight-story “LGBTQ-Affirming Affordable Senior Housing” development planned for Broadway between Pike and Pine.

For Station House’s tenants, the future begins Saturday, January 7th at 9 AM

You can learn more at openhouse.capitolhillhousing.org.


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15 thoughts on “Want to be part of 110 affordable new apartments above Capitol Hill Station? Here’s how to join the Station House crowd

  1. Most people who struggle with rent still make more than the 23k of the 30% and maybe even more than the 46k of the 60% ami listed above. This is what I think people miss when they say they need to build “more affordable housing.”

    We need to lower the rent on all housing, even market rate housing. To do so, we need build more housing. It is time for us to get rid of SFO zonings and allow Duplexes and Quads in those zones.

    So, I’m lookin at you North Capitol Hill, Vol Park, and 15th. If you really stand behind the equality you tout with your black lawn signs you’d argue to let your neighborhoods change so we can all afford to live in this city.

    • Agree.

      On another angle – the most scarce housing in these affordable tiers is the 30% bracket and it is always nearly non-existent in the percentage made available in affordable housing buildings like this.

      All of this still negates all those well below 30% or without income who are, therefore, on the street.

      A broader approach certainly is needed in our society to ensure all people are safe and treated with dignity.

    • agree with you, but a good thing to note is that we are desperately missing homes at 30% AMI. We need it all, but a focus on this is key to a more equitable city – and yea, exclusionary neighborhoods are a large piece of it!

    • Anonymous Architect, triplexes are allowed on single family lots. Perhaps you are new to Seattle, but the city council recently changed laws related to backyard cottages. Homeowners can now build larger houses in their backyard and a second unit in the existing house. That means three units per lot. There is no owner occupancy requirement, so there will definitely be a lot of corporations and elite wealthy investors buying and converting properties. It is likely too new for you to currently be seeing this type of work in your profession.

    • I disagree. The people who make this amount are your service workers who already work in the neighborhood and soon can live in the neighborhood without cars. Retail, salons, even local government employees.

      The price point is good for upward mobility as they will have more access to opportunities. People making 60k+ need to budget better. People making 30k are essential to quality of life in cap hill because of services demanded by local residents at reasonable costs.

      • People making $60k+ need to budget better, as stated by Drew above. People making 30k are not being paid a reasonable wage to meet the “demands of local residents at reasonable costs.”

        Two stunning comments. 30k/yr is $15.00 per hour. Does the writer mean that “reasonable costs” for service workers in Seattle means a wage of $15/hr ? In Seattle a small employer not paying medical benefits must pay $15.75/hour as minimum wage, in 2020, $13.50/hr with medical benefits To afford a two bedroom in King County in 2019, the hourly wage needed for a two bedroom apt is $36.52/hr. That is about $73k per year. Source for 2019: http://bit.ly/RentTooHigh2019

        In 2019 a family of three is at 138%-150% of the federally defined poverty level with annual earnings of $29-31k. This income level may qualify a family for affordable housing and for financial assistance on medical bills, among other things. That would be your $15.00 per hour workers. Or gig workers with intermittent pay (can’t use the word wages here)

        A family of 4 in Seattle making 60-70k per year was considered poverty level in *2017*. Living wage info for King County here https://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/53033

        So no, I don’t think people making the median income for the entire US $60k/yr) always need to be told to budget better.

      • People making 60K would be putting almost more than 1/2 their paycheck to rent to get a 1BR. That’s too much.

        Especially if you’re an architect and typically have ridiculous student loans from 5-7 years of college at a minimum.

      • Also, I never said we don’t need to provide Affordable Housing, we will always need to provide housing for those in need…..We have a bigger problem than that.when it comes to creating an affordable city for all and we all need to accept that we much change what we’re doing….it’s not working.

  2. Where is our council member when $3500/month apartments with ZERO affordable units are going up all over her district? Where builders are allowed to buy their way out of the affordable mandate by contributing a pittance to a fund to build somewhere else (i.e., south of Rainier/not in her district)? Neighborhood groups have almost exclusively been fighting this battle without Sawant because as usual she does NOTHING unless it’s a pet project that gets her bullhorn on camera.

    • Why are developers responsible for solving the affordability issue? Did they create the housing shortage?

      Right now Developers must: Pay for Affordable Housing, Improve Infrastructure of Public Utilities, Repair Roads after they improve the Utilities, Provide some Terrible Public Art, Improve all Crosswalks on their site and across the street.

      if we keep asking them to pay for everything, there’s no way they’ll be able to build anything affordable.

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