Vulcan Real Estate has been getting all the attention for its planned redevelopment of the Promenade 23-Red Apple blocks in the Central Area. (That is: an initial 550 units and retail at 2309 S. Jackson St., plus more to follow.) However, there’s a second notable project at the northwest corner of the same intersection of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South.
The nonprofit Community House Mental Health Agency has had its offices at 2212 S. Jackson since 2012, when it bought the property for $995,000. (This was before Vulcan’s $31 million investment in the neighborhood.) It operates out of a small old one-story building.
On that property, Community House is now planning the Patricia K. Apartments: a six-story building with 53 unit for its clients, above its offices and services on the first two floors.
Next door at 2214 S. Jackson, on corner property it’s under contract to buy, Community House is planning an unnamed companion project: a seven-story apartment building with 75 workforce housing units and ground-floor retail space facing 23rd. Future tenants would earn 60 percent or less of area median income. That building would depend on the expected HALA upzone to reach 75 feet in height.
The two buildings would share a basement for parking 40 vehicles, a bike room, storage and other needs. The total site for both projects measures about 21,000 square feet.
Two old structures on the site will be demolished. Both projects will be presented to the city next week for early design guidance. The architect is Environmental Works Community Design Center, and the development consultant is Ally Community Development.
The two projects started out as one, explains architect Bill Singerof Environmental Works. Plans were initially submitted for just the Patricia K project. Then, “late last fall was when they negotiated the purchase price of the adjacent properties,” he says. From the roughly 40,000 square feet of the Patricia K, the combined project size has more than doubled to about 92,000 square feet.
Community House executive director Chris Czala says, “It had always been our plan” to approach the neighboring landowner. “I’ve been doing this 30 years. When the downturn came, we were able to find this place,” meaning 2212 S. Jackson. “We’re always looking.”
No brokers were involved on his side of the planned property acquisition for 2214 S. Jackson, says Czala, since the Community House board has real estate professionals to offer advice. “We should be closing on it in the next few months.” Those neighboring three parcels include the corner property now occupied by Flowers Just 4U.
With the two buildings now combined in the design review and permit process, says Singer, “We’re submitting our MUP application next month and hope to have our permits by September. The goal is to start construction more or less a year from now.” Construction would last about 18 months.
Ally’s role is to help package the financing. “There’s a whole slew of funding sources,” says Singer. Czala describes an assortment of tax credits, grants, and government funding, which also includes the Seattle Housing Levy.
Though the Patricia K and 2214 S. Jackson will be separate legal entities in the near term and through construction, Singer says that “at some point we’ll combine the entire property.” The larger building “will be owned and operated by Community House or a Community House LLC.”
Interestingly, after moving to 23rd and Jackson, Community House redeveloped its prior headquarters, at 429 Boylston Ave. E., into 44 units of supportive housing. Environmental Works was also the architect for that project, known as the Caroline W. Apartments.
And about those honorific names, including the George B. Apartments: Some are past clients, some are past and present benefactors or board members.
Says Czala, “We started out with one eight-bed facility in 1991.” Today, along with its other mental-health services, Community House currently provides about 235 units in a dozen locations for its mentally ill and previously homeless clients.
Community House originally grew out of Capitol Hill Methodist Church in the late 1960s, then became an independent nonprofit in 1976. Since 1986, it’s been a state-registered mental-health services provider.
Meanwhile, Community House may actually break ground on its two buildings before Vulcan does on the Red Apple site. (That project has its third early design guidance meeting on May 9.) Says Singer of Vulcan, “We’re a little bit different market. It’s a race there.”
Says Czala, “There’s been a lot of activity in the neighborhood. We gotta keep some of its flavor.” Rather than see 2214 S. Jackson go to a market-rate developer, “We wanted to make sure it stayed affordable housing.”
The Community House project team also includes Thomas V. Rengstorf Assoc., landscape architect; Conterra Engineering, civil; Swenson Say Faget, structural engineers; Sider + Byers Mechanical Engineers; and Glumac, electrical engineers. The general contractor hasn’t yet been selected, through Marpac Construction is providing pre-construction services.
The early design guidance meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 at Seattle University’s Admissions & Alumni Building, 824 12th Ave.
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