Milestone LGBTQIA+ project on Capitol Hill celebrates impending groundbreaking

Ground will soon be broken at the site of Pride Place, a 118-unit, seven story, affordable housing development in the heart of Capitol Hill.

Pride Place is the first LGBTQIA+ affirming senior housing project to be built in Washington. It is also the first project of its kind to be funded by the state. In addition to one bedroom and studio units, the property will feature a 4,400-square-foot community and health services center on the ground floor operated by GenPride in partnership with LGBTQIA+ focused service providers. The center will serve residents and community members. The development plans also include 3,600 square feet of commercial retail space at the street level. Seven one bedroom and seven studio units will be ADA accessible. The project architect is Environmental Works. The design for the building includes multi-colored window frames on a dark blue exterior. The project will be built using a mix of wood and noncombustible framing, a first for the company.

Last Friday, GenPride and Community Roots Housing – the partnership behind the project – put on a celebratory event to mark the upcoming groundbreaking, which will happen on September 27. The event was full of color, energy, and vibrancy. It was hosted by drag queen and activist, Aleksa Manila, and featured several speakers from the city, county and state government, and community organizations serving the LGBTQIA+ community. Speakers talked of the importance of a space like Pride Place, which was described by many as ‘years in the making.’

LGBTQIA+ seniors face a unique set of challenges and health disparities as they age; they are more likely to experience poverty, are at higher risk for illness, are less likely to have the support of children or family, and often face discrimination and difficulty finding culturally competent care. At the event, City Council President and Mayoral Candidate, Lorena González, also mentioned how in the past many LGTBQIA+ seniors had been compelled to “go back into the closet in order to secure housing.”

In her remarks, Emily Alvarado, director at City of Seattle Office of Housing, stated how “all people deserve to age with the dignity and safety that affordable housing projects like Pride Place provide.” Rents at Pride Place will be affordable to households earning 30% to 60% of the area median income. Speaking of the community and health services center, Steven Knipp, executive director at GenPride, called it a place that will “welcome and include the entire spectrum of the rainbow community.” A novel feature of the event was a row of rainbow-colored hard hats and rainbow sand used to mark the groundbreaking.

Pride Place is located in the heart of Capitol Hill in the 1500 block of Broadway. The neighborhood has long been a home and cultural center for LGBTQIA+ life in Seattle. “Now people will be able to stay and age in place in a neighborhood that affirms them and has been home for many years,” González also said at the event. The Capitol Hill site was acquired in collaboration with Sound Transit and Seattle Central College. The development will cost a total of $52 million and is funded through a mix of private and public investment. GenPride and Rise Together, a collaborative of six Seattle-area nonprofits have raised $2.7 million for the senior and health service center and is seeking to raise an additional $2 million. The rest of the money comes through $13.5 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit bonding, $12.6 million in public funds, a $9.4 million loan, and $2.1 million in equity from developer Community Roots Housing.

Pride Place is scheduled to open in spring 2023 with construction expected to take less than two years.

The project team includes Community Roots Housing, GenPride, Emerald Aire, MEP and Geotech Consultants, shoring and geotechnical.

Sponsors of Pride Place and the groundbreaking event include Aging with Pride, City of Seattle, POCAAN, Ingersol gender center, Seattle Counseling Service, Country Doctor Community Clinic, gay city, LGBTQ Allyship and King County.

SSF is the structural engineer for this project. 

IMAGE CREDITS

Environmental Works

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