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Seattle Mayor to Advance $ 90 million Plan for Low-income Housing at Fort Lawton

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Seattle Mayor to Advance $ 90 million Plan for Low-income Housing at Fort Lawton

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is all set to advance the city’s long-delayed plan to convert unused land adjacent to Discovery Park into more than 200 affordable homes.

It has been more than a few decade legal challenges, and economic forces have been stalling the effort to redevelop Fort Lawton in Magnolia. But a ruling last year let the city to move ahead with a plan that the city now estimates could cost about $90 million and that Durkan says she supports.

The mayor released the updated version on Monday and said she would send the proposal to the council in coming weeks.

“This plan builds on our commitment to drive the development of hundreds of more affordable homes while ensuring that our neighborhoods can be vibrant, livable spaces,” she said in a statement, adding, “We will continue to listen to the community as we move forward.”

There has been a public meeting scheduled for taking comments on February 11 by the Durkan administration. As per the updated plan, about 240 housing units would cost about $87 million, while two recreation fields would add up to another $7 million.

Also, an additional 13 acres of the 34-acre former U.S. Army Reserve post would be remained as open, natural areas for activities such as picnicking and viewing, while 4 to 5 wooded acres would be incorporated into Discovery Park.

The Army owns the property but under federal law, the city could much of the land for free, as per the Seattle City.

The plan consists of 85 studio apartments for formerly homeless seniors, 100 rentals for individuals and families and 52-row houses and townhouses for sale.

The housing for the seniors would be with support services, while the rentals would be priced for households with up to 60 percent of the area median income — $60,200 for a family of four. The houses would be reserved for households with no more than 80 percent of area median income — $80,250 for a family of four.

As per the plan, the senior studios would cost $28.3 million, the rentals $40.2 million and the sale homes $18.4 million.

Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington and United Indians of All Tribes would be developer the senior housing and the rentals, while Habitat for Humanity would take on the sale homes. The non-profit organizations would use an array of city, state and federal programs to help pay for the projects, according to Seattle’s plan.

As per the plan, if the council approves this year, the land could be transferred in 2020 and construction could begin in 2021.

Seattle had proposed a similar plan in 2008 proposing homeless and market-rate housing. But a lawsuit led by Magnolia activist Elizabeth Campbell blocked it.

By the time the whole case gets cleared by the judiciary, the city was dealing with the effects of the recession, and the effort stalled.

When then-Mayor Ed Murray’s administration revived the idea in 2017, Campbell again sought to stop it like 2008. But this time, the plan drew widespread and vocal support from Seattle residents concerned about the city’s ever-growing housing crisis, while opponents said the site should instead turn into a school, an environmental camp for kids or an extension of Discovery Park.

The City’s public meeting is scheduled on Feb. 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Catherine Blaine School in Magnolia.

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