Seattle's Union Gospel Mission has sold its longtime women's and children's shelter building in the Chinatown International District to developers who plan to convert it to apartments or a hostel.

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Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission has sold its longtime women’s and children’s shelter building in the Chinatown International District to developers who plan to convert it to apartments or a hostel.

The mission will lease most of the building until next spring, when it plans to move the shelter and its other programs for women to a larger building under construction in Southeast Seattle, spokeswoman Sharon Thomas-Hearns said.

American Hotel Building paid $4.6 million for the old building, at 520 S. King St., county records show. Thomas-Hearns said the proceeds will help pay the $26.6 million cost of the new shelter, called Hope Place, at 3800 S. Othello St.

The mission had owned the old four-story building, originally called the American Hotel, since 1980. It was built in 1925 as a single-room occupancy hotel — bathrooms down the hall.

The corporation that bought the building is headed by real-estate veterans Jim Potter, chairman of Kauri Investments, and Scott Shapiro, managing director of Eagle Rock Ventures.

Shapiro said the new owners will decide the building’s future use in the next few months.

Options include a hostel, student housing and studio apartments for people with modest incomes who don’t qualify for government-subsidized housing.

Between them, Kauri and Eagle Rock own about 40 commercial and multifamily properties, mostly in Seattle. Kauri is building a hotel and apartment development near Seattle Center, and Eagle Rock has permits for a 64-unit condo complex in Columbia City.

The King Street building’s proximity to bus routes, the light-rail line that will open next year and a planned streetcar line to First Hill and Capitol Hill should help it appeal to prospective tenants or travelers, Shapiro said.

The new owners plan mostly cosmetic changes to the building but may add bathrooms to some or all of the 56 rooms, he said. Retail tenants on the ground floor will remain.

When it opens, Hope Place will allow the Union Gospel Mission to house and serve twice as many women and their children, Thomas-Hearns said. That’s important because demand is growing.

Two years ago, the mission could provide help to about 1 in 14 women who contacted it, she said. Today, the ratio is about 1 in 25.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com