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October 30, 2013

Final 87 apartments open at Seola Gardens

William Wright Photography [enlarge]

The King County Housing Authority last week cut the ribbon on the final 87 apartments at Seola Gardens in White Center. The neighborhood borders Lakewood Park at Fifth Avenue Southwest and Southwest 109th Street.

Seola Gardens is a redevelopment of the old 165-unit public housing complex called Park Lake Homes II. It has 177 new units of subsidized rental housing, various amenities and 108 for-sale homes scheduled for completion by early 2016.

Housing types include single-family homes, attached townhomes with front porches and mid-rise senior apartments.

Site development — utilities, roads, trails, playgrounds, fences and community gardens — has been completed.

The Head Start center was remodeled and the 6,500-square-foot community center provides after-school, job assistance and ESL programs.

The community was redeveloped to serve a broader mix of income levels, while replacing federally subsidized units for low-income households. All previous tenants who were in good standing were given the option of returning.

Seola Gardens received a 2013 Green Hammer award from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties for its environmentally sustainable design, construction and operations.

KCHA used rain gardens and a pond that cleans surface water before it leaves the site. All rental units take advantage of natural light, are energy-efficient and are wired for solar power.

Funding sources were: $28 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity, $20 million from the HOPE VI program, $8.3 million from the Section 202 program, $6 million from King County, $1.5 million from the Housing Trust Fund, and $1.1 million in federal stimulus money.

Here's the project team: KCHA, master developer; Walsh Construction, general contractor; Richmond American Homes, homebuilder (first 54 homes); GGLO, architect; KPFF and Goldsmith, civil engineers; and Nakano and Associates, landscape architect.

Seola Gardens' redevelopment, in tandem with its sister property Greenbridge, is part of KCHA's strategy to revitalize White Center, one of the poorest areas of King County. The redevelopment of the two sites is creating homeownership opportunities for 480 families, significantly altering the neighborhood income mix and generating about $2.03 million annually in property taxes.

KCHA has invested about $300 million in private and public funds over the past 10 years to build housing and expand community services in the two neighborhoods.

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