YWCA pays $38M for new Capitol Hill apartments

A vacant but brand-new apartment building at 800 E. Denny Way sold this week for $38 million, according to King County records. The seller was 102 Harvard LLC, associated with Kamiak Real Estate, which assembled the corner site in 2018 for about $4.1 million, then developed it.

The buyer was the regional chapter of the YWCA. Public records indicate a $20 million loan from the city Office of Housing. Other funding came from the state Department of Commerce’s Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program, or RCHA.

The new building will be operated as affordable supportive housing for at least the next 55 years, per the loan agreement with the city. The site is a block west of Broadway and Capitol Hill Station.

YWCA’s Kizha Davidson said yesterday that tenants would begin moving in by next summer or earlier; some may come from the YWCA’s other Seattle buildings. (In King and Snohomish counties, it has about 1,000 affordable units.) A formal opening ceremony will be held in the new year.

Also, before opening, the building will be reconfigured a bit. It’ll end up with 91 units for residents, plus one for staff; and the ground-floor space will be modified for office and support uses.

“This is our first housing acquisition in Seattle in 20 years,” says Davidson. “We’re really excited.” No new acquisitions or new ground-up developments are planned, she added; and no older buildings will be sold.

Units at 800 Denny are reserved for tenants with what the city calls extremely low or very low incomes. (That translates to affordability levels pegged to households, earning 30% or less of the area median income.) Fifty-four units are to be reserved for the formerly homeless.

Workshop AD designed the seven-story building. Constantine Builders began work on the project, on the corner of Harvard Avenue East, at the very end of 2020. It replaced three old houses. The certificate of occupancy came late last month. Brawner has advised the YWCA on past real estate deals, if not this one.

The transaction was nominally worth about $413,043 per unit, or perhaps worth around $1,350 per square foot. That includes some 530 square feet previously intended as commercial space. Kamiak rates the building at 28,131 rentable square feet; the architect says it totals over 37,000 square feet — including the daylight basement, with a few units, and roof deck.

The unnamed building has one parking stall for loading, plus basement bike rooms with 91 stalls. All numbers are subject to change under the new ownership.

Kamiak’s team also included Karen Kiest Landscape Architects; Site Surveying; PacLand, civil engineer; RD Excavating; Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer; and Geo Group Northwest, geotechnical engineer. First Federal Savings & Loan was the construction lender, to the tune of $17.4 million. Heritage Bank helped underwrite the land costs.

In a somewhat similar June transaction, Kamiak sold a nearly completed apartment building on Aurora Avenue North to Chief Seattle Club. That deal was worth about over $20 million, with funding from sources including the city Office of Housing and Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Workshop AD and Constantine Builders were also principals there. That midrise building will have 63 units of permanent supportive housing, again with space for staff and services.


Brian Miller


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