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Plans moving forward for eight stories of affordable housing, homeless youth ‘education and employment academy’ at Broadway and Pine

(Image: Community Roots Housing)

Homelessness activists continue their efforts to occupy and transform the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse into a facility to provide services and resources to the area’s underhoused community. The need is clear. Just a block away at the corner of Broadway and Pine, a major project is moving forward to redevelop the historic Booth Building and a neighboring auto row-era structure into roughly 100 units of low-income housing and an “education and employment academy” for homeless young people.

“We really felt like it was a stand to say this corner is a place of learning and hope and justice for young people who have often been very much left behind by the progress that this city has seen over the last two decades,” YouthCare spokesperson Jody Waits said.

YouthCare is partnering with Community Roots Housing on the project for an expected 2022 start and 2024 opening. The final construction details and price tag of the project are still on the table, according to Waits, although the nonprofit is expecting to serve 250 to 300 individuals ages 18 to 24 per year at the training academy.


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Last week, a key milestone was met as the city’s landmarks board declined to designate the two historic properties involved in the project for landmarks protections which allows the project to move forward with clearer preservation goals for the more than 100-year-old buildings. A spokesperson said the developers are “committed to maintaining our plans to be a historic partner and respect both buildings as character structures.”

The public design review process comes next.

Plans call for an “adaptive reuse” project to overhaul and upgrade the existing structures that will remain two to three stories along E Pine and Broadway. The affordable housing apartment building is planned to rise eight stories on the site of the current surface parking lot.

The large Booth Building at the corner and the smaller E.H. Hamlin Building have been part of Seattle Central’s South Annex facility. UPDATE: Community Roots purchased the property from Seattle Central to develop the project with YouthCare.

The redevelopment will extend into the 909 E Pine building and accompanying parking lot that hugs the 1534 Broadway Booth Building, joining all of these spaces into one connected structure while preserving the street level facades and auto row scale of the existing buildings.

“We’ve worked very hard to come up with a plan that maintains the visual presence of the building and is respectful to the historic facades,” Waits said.

According to Waits, the project’s central location along with close proximity to Seattle Central College and transit options made it an appealing spot. YouthCare is working with Seattle Central and the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council to develop educational offerings that will likely include computer and technology basics as well as more individualizing training options.

“The first three floors of this building will be dedicated to services that enable young people to discover their passion and prepare to thrive in the regional economy,” the project description reads. “These classrooms will encourage diverse learning styles and help to build confidence with each student scholar.”

“We’re kind of taking a moment to make certain that we are tracking economic trends as COVID evolves and impacts what job and career opportunities are going to be available,” Waits said.

The education academy will be situated in the Booth Building part of the project with low-income housing built above and in the 909 E Pine and parking lot surrounding spaces. There will also be an opportunity for ground-level retail in the Booth Building, according to Waits. In May, CHS reported the building’s former retailer Laughing Buddha moved to a new home to make way for the project.

Before Community Roots and YouthCare acquired the building through Washington State’s Office of Homeless Youth, it was the South Annex of Seattle Central College. This new project marks one more addition to Community Roots Housing’s nearby cluster of affordable housing projects made up of the Broadway Crossing building and upcoming “LGBTQ-Affirming Affordable Senior Housing” development on Broadway between Pike and Pine.

YouthCare runs more than a doze sites serving homeless youth across Seattle, including Denny and Stewart’s Orion Center.

“We know that our client base is extremely disproportionately youth of color and LGBTQ young people,” Waits said, “so inherently all of our programming is really oriented to give young people the space to be who they are, discover who they are.”


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dave
dave
6 months ago

Sounds like a great project! Glad they’re finding a way to preserve the historic buildings while adding much-needed housing and services.