New affordable housing development aims to serve working families in Seattle

Planners say the project marks an important milestone in the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace.

Author: Erica Zucco, King5
Published: June 13, 2023

SEATTLE — Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), Community Roots Housing, Denise Louie Education Center and partners held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a new, family-friendly affordable housing development called 13th & Fir.

The development adds 156 units to the Yesler Terrace neighborhood, with sizes ranging from studios up to four-bedroom units. They are designed for people making 30-60% of the area median income and priority will be given to people with ties to the Yesler Terrace, Chinatown International District and Central District neighborhoods — specifically those who have been displaced or are at risk for displacement.

“We want to make sure families are able to come into the city, return to Seattle, be able to live here,” SCIDpda Co-Executive Director Jamie Lee said. “Funders in the private and public [sectors] are recognizing the importance of that, putting community amenities on the ground floor and really thinking about housing like that instead of just the four walls people live in.”

The development is unique in that it offers a number of three- and four-bedroom units.

“Working families are being pushed out of the city by a lack of affordable, appropriately sized housing,” said Christopher Persons, CEO of Community Roots Housing, in a press release about the grand opening. “Our hope is that the three- and four-bedroom homes at 13th & Fir foster empowerment and stability for families in search of a place they can call their own.”

The grand opening came on the same day Seattle City Council voted to put a new housing levy on the November ballot.

“There is a lot of public funding in this project. Part of that funding did come from the housing levy,” SCIDpda Co-Executive Director Jared Jonson said. “There will be a new housing levy on the ballot this November. Without those dollars, a project like this would not happen.”

Denise Louie Education Center says Seattle’s growing need for quality childcare facilities “has left many families on a one to two-year waitlist, evidencing an increased need for early learning services,” and that “the number is even higher for low-income families of color.” The expanded learning center will help children up to age 5 and their parents or caregivers, serving at least 37 infants and 60 preschools and featuring six classrooms, office spaces, a laundry room, a kitchen and a playground.

The center is not restricted to people living in the building. To learn more, click here.

More than 400 applications have already been received for housing; move-ins will happen on a rolling basis. To learn more about 13th & Fir, click here.