On the Block: A TOD plan sprouts in Federal Way

When I say transit-oriented development (TOD), most think of those sexy, sexy light-rail stations where new apartments are bursting from the dirt along the new lines to Lynnwood and Redmond. Particularly favored have been Roosevelt, Northgate, Bellevue and its Spring District and Bel-Red areas. But there are bold new TOD vistas south of Seattle, too, and not all of them are directly served by rail. Or at least not yet.

One example is the Redondo Heights affordable housing project being planned by local developer Shelter Resources. It has three components centered around the Redondo Heights Park & Ride, on Pacific Highway South (aka state Route 99), a few steps away.

With nonprofit partner Multi-Service Center and architect Bumgardner, Shelter is planning 202 units in two new developments flanking the existing old Silver Shadow apartments, which it acquired two years ago for nearly $26 million. That 30-year-old complex has 132 units in 12 buildings, with renovations planned in concert with the new construction.

West of that, a vacant 1.4-acre development site at 27614 Pacific Hwy. S. recently sold for almost $2.1 million, according to King County records. Shelter was the buyer, via an LP, with a loan from Enterprise Community Loan Fund.

The sellers were two separate family groups. Their broker was Larry Nordberg of Keller Williams Realty. The deal was worth about $34 per square foot. The property had been listed for nearly four years, and sold for the asking price.

The city of Federal Way calls the west development Site C. The basic plan is for linked three- and five-story apartment buildings with a 6,500-square-foot food bank, plus a separate 3,000-square-foot office building. There would also be some 99 parking stalls, both surface and underground.

The 72 apartments will range from one- to three-bedrooms. Rents are expected to be affordable to households earning up to 50% of area median income — as with the rest of the development, old and new.

The west project, Site C, carries a nominal value of $13.7 million. The team for that and the entire development also includes Shelter affiliate SRI/Rochlin Construction Services, general contractor; KPFF, surveyor and civil engineer; Shelterwood Consulting, environmental; Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer; Building Envelope Engineering; Emerald City Engineers, MEP; GeoEngineers, geotechnical; and Communita Atelier, landscape architect.

The city calls Silver Shadow, in the middle, Site B. The vacant east 5 acres, Site A, hasn’t yet sold from its owners; and there’s no address yet. Shelter says that deal should come this summer, in a direct sale with no brokers involved.

The plan there, also by Bumgardner, is for four low-rise buildings with 130 units, plus an amenity building. New surface parking will bring the entire project total to nearly 500 stalls.

Shelter’s Corey Baldwin says that planning began over five years ago, when King County began offering incentives to develop affordable housing near future light rail stations. The Silver Shadow deal came fortuitously in the middle of that process, also with Enterprise as a partner.

Len Brannen, who leads Shelter, says that early site work for he entire development could begin this summer or fall. Completion would be expected in around 18 months.

Besides Enterprise, the project will have funding sources including 4% bonds arranged by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (backed by federal low-income tax credits, probably to the tune of $68 million), a construction loan and public sources. Brannen estimates a total budget in a range of $140 million to $150 million, including Silver Shadow renovations.

The latter is becoming naturally occurring affordable housing. Brannen says it’s yet to be decided if that old apartment name will change; and Redondo Heights is also a placeholder name. More details should emerge later this year, closer to the groundbreaking.

Based in Federal Way, Multi-Service Center provides various services for low-income residents of south King County. It will continue to operate its current food bank; the new development will be a satellite operation, likely with some small amount of offices, too.

Brannen says, “This is the primary project we’re focused on.” Shelter’s portfolio spans Washington, Oregon and Idaho, with over affordable 6,000 units built or renovated in the past 35 years. Some of those have since been sold. Shelter often partners with fellow nonprofits and government agencies.

Now, back to the rail component of TOD. Shelter’s entire development, old and new, is about a half-mile walk west from the future South 272nd Street Station, which is on the Sound Transit extension line to Federal Way. That’s slated to open in 2024, on the near west side of Interstate 5. A new parking garage is also planned for what today operates as the Star Lake Park & Ride.

And on Pacific Highway, there’s a RapidRide A Line stop directly in front of Silver Shadow. So that’s triple the T in TOD.

And with two more stops planned on the Federal Way light-rail extension, other developers — both market-rate and affordable — must be eying the land that’s far cheaper than in north King County.

Federal Way Workforce Housing

More Photos





Cherry Street Mixed-Use Project / / 01.04.23

Cherry Street Mixed-use is a four-story apartment building with 30 units over retail/commercial space.

SSF Promotions / / 01.19.22

Swenson Say Fagét Structural Engineers (SSF) announced eight recent promotions. Chardie Byrne was promoted to managing principal/operations. She joined SSF … read more +

Red Cedar Apts Complete / / 06.28.19

Seattle Housing Authority says it has replaced more than half of Yesler's 561 older low-income public housing units.