LIHI opening 43 units in downtown Olympia

The Low Income Housing Institute will open its newest affordable housing development — Billy Frank Jr. Place — on Thursday at 318 State Ave. N.E. in downtown Olympia.

The complex is named for the late Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist, a member of the Nisqually Tribe. Frank was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

The grand opening ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Thursday at the site. LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee will attend with Trudi Inslee, wife of Governor Jay Inslee; Frank’s son Willie; and Nisqually tribal chairman Farron McCloud. Tours will begin at 1:30 p.m.

The four-story building has 43 permanently affordable units — including one apartment for a LIHI staff person — and supportive services intended to foster self-sufficiency for residents. Those include a community room, classroom, kitchen, computer lab, outdoor seating and gardening areas, and counseling space for case-management staff.

Bumgardner Architects designed the project, and Pavilion Construction was the general contractor. Swenson Say Faget was the structural engineer. There are 15 studios, 22 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units. The site is near the Olympia Transit Center as well as parks, shopping and schools.

LIHI says the $13 million project is intended to serve homeless veterans, homeless young adults, disabled individuals and other members of the community.

LIHI owns or manages over 2,000 affordable units in the greater Puget Sound area.

LIHI acquired the land at a discount from the city of Olympia. Financing came from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund, HUD, Low Income Housing Tax Credits from Enterprise and Washington State Housing Finance Commission, a grant from The Employees Community Fund of Boeing, and a grant from Home Depot Foundation. Construction financing came from Olympia’s Heritage Bank.

Other partners include Housing Authority of Thurston County, Community Youth Resources, Washington State Department of Commerce and the 811 Program. Referrals for the tenant wait list can be made through Sidewalk and Family Support Center of South Sound.

Billy Frank Junior Apartments


Low Income Housing Institute


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