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July 10, 2017

Mercy Othello Plaza opens, adding 108 affordable units near station

Photo by Casey Braunger for Ankrom Moisan Architects [enlarge]
It was designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects and built by Walsh Construction.

Mercy Housing Northwest has opened a public-private transit-oriented housing complex in southeast Seattle called Mercy Othello Plaza.

The mixed-use building is at 6940 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., across from the Othello Link light rail station. The nonprofit developed it in collaboration with Sound Transit.

Mercy Othello Plaza combines affordable housing with commercial and community spaces.

There are 108 energy-efficient units for individuals and families earning between $18,000 and $55,000 a year. Sixty percent of the units have two or three bedrooms to accommodate families.

In addition to a community center, the building has office space for Mercy Housing Northwest and a landscaped courtyard.

It was designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects and built by Walsh Construction.

Two and a half years ago, Sound Transit sold a portion of the land it acquired for constructing Othello Station to Mercy Housing through a competitive application process.

Sound Transit said in a press release that it worked with the city of Seattle to use grants to speed up the development. Funding also came from state low income housing tax credits, Seattle Office of Housing, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Norcliffe Foundation.

“Often in today's economy, finding housing you can afford means settling for a long, expensive commute,” said Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board member and King County Executive, in a prepared statement. “Mercy Othello Plaza shows how we can leverage the opportunity of affordable, high-capacity transit by building affordable housing near Link light rail stations.”

Sound Transit said this is its second transit-oriented development along the first light rail segment and its third affordable housing project in the region. The Korean Women's Association's Senior City opened in 2010 near the Federal Way Transit Center, and Artspace's Mount Baker Lofts opened in 2014 next to the Mount Baker light rail station.

Design is underway for TOD sites near the Capitol Hill light rail station, and TOD sites will be offered this year in Roosevelt, First Hill, Columbia City, Angle Lake and SeaTac.

Mercy Housing is one of the nation's largest affordable housing organizations, operating in 24 states.

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