The city announced it would fund $6.9 million to help bring up to 91 units of housing for tenants who are previously homeless.
Housing for tenants who have previously experienced homelessness, along with arts spaces for residents and the public, will be part of a new development next to Seattle Center, city officials announced Tuesday.
Seattle will invest $6.9 million in the new project on a city-owned lot at Second Avenue North and Mercer Street that would add 80 to 91 units of housing, officials said. Developed by the Seattle-based nonprofit Plymouth Housing Group, the building is slated to open in about two years. The project is still in the design process and a total cost hasn’t been determined.
The city’s Uptown neighborhood, which includes the Seattle Center and is also known as Lower Queen Anne, is undergoing significant changes, including renovations at KeyArena — soon to be home to an NHL team — and an upzone last year allowing taller buildings.
The project is the first time the city’s Office of Housing and Office of Arts & Culture have made joint investments in affordable housing, according to city officials. The city will pilot an agreement with labor unions that would seek to hire more people from groups that are historically underrepresented in the construction industry.
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At a news conference at KEXP’s Gathering Space, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the Uptown development will be a place where people are not only welcome, but invited.
“This shows what we can do as a city if we are super intentional about it, and we can do it right here in the heart of our city, to make sure that we are taking public lands and opening it up to those members of our community who need support and help the most,” she said.
Future residents will have a case manager to help them access services like medical care and financial management, according to the city. The arts space will be managed by Path With Art, an organization that provides classes, workshops and other services to adults recovering from trauma, including homelessness, domestic abuse and addiction. The organization enrolls about 750 students and will expand to about 1,000 students next year.
Former students have described the program as a lifesaver, said Path With Art board of directors President Joe McKinstry.
“I’ve seen it in action,” he said Tuesday of the organization’s programs. “Art allows them to see and hear new things. They have the ability to re-center themselves. It’s wonderful.”
During the news conference, three singers from Path With Art performed “Bring It On Home To Me,” a soulful song from the 1960s. Durkan complimented the singers for their rendition and noted the power of song.
“We should all start with that every day, “she said, “which is part of the point of why we’re here.”