Georgetown Community Development Authority Seeks Comments on Plans for 150 Affordable Housing Units

As one of the few places in Seattle where industry sits alongside homes and small businesses, Georgetown is one of the city’s most distinctive neighborhoods, a place for makers – people who imagine, design, build and repair things. The neighborhood has long attracted people drawn to its industrial spirit, vibrant spirit and, in keeping with proximity to industry, affordable housing and commercial space. But increasingly, Georgetown began to suffer from the same lack of affordability that plagues the entire Puget Sound region. In response, the Georgetown Community Development Authority (GCDA) was created to ensure the neighborhood can continue to provide affordable housing, commercial space and jobs for the people who make it exceptional.

Recently, GCDA announced plans for its first affordable mixed-use development that will bring 150 affordable housing units and retail space to 402 S Lucille Street, a quiet part of the neighborhood. The design of the project will be undertaken by Jackson Main Architecture, but before the plans are made official, the GCDA wants the community to say what they want from the new development, which will be permanently affordable through a land trust model. community. Plans call for 100% of homes to be affordable, with most earmarked for 60% area median income (AMI) and below, with some homes to be targeted lower at 30-40% AMI. There are also plans to integrate artists’ living and working spaces into the future building.

Construction could begin in spring 2023 if planning and permits go smoothly, and the building could be open as early as fall 2024, GCDA hopes.

An aerial view of the future site of GCDA’s 150-unit mixed development. (Credit: GCDA)

“We want people to come out with their pens, their ideas and their dreams,” said Samuel Farrazaino, of the GCDA founders and creator of Equinox Studios, which operates as an owned interdisciplinary artist and creator space. by tenants spread over three buildings. . Equinox Studios also hosts many notable neighborhood events, including the Georgetown Carnival.

To gather community feedback, GCDA has created an online survey, which will be available until March 11. However, in partnership with Equinox Studios, GCDA hosts the Georgetown Ideas Day 2022, Sunday, February 27 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A half-pipe is set up on Airport Way S closed to cars and a guy on a bike takes a serious look at it as a crowd of people look on.
Georgetown hosted a street festival after a critical mass ‘Dead Baby Downhill’ race in 2017. Airport Way S was closed to cars and open to cyclists and halfpipe jumpers if they wished. (Photo by Doug Trumm)

Farrazaino said the invitation is open to everyone and he hopes the event will attract the wide range of people who care about Georgetown. “We need people in the industry, landlords and people living on the streets to come out. All the people who live, work and dream here, the more people the better. We need to get people talking about how we do it so we can do it in a way that’s engaged with the community,” Farrazaino said.

The event will be family-friendly, offer food and drink, and in keeping with what Equinox Studios events are known for, Farrazaino hinted that there could be “a surprise adrenaline-inducing experience.” Considering Equinox Studios put on a “crane truck circus show” last summer, readers should take the adrenaline literally.

An art installation in progress at the Georgetown Carnival, a community event sponsored by Equinox Studios. (Credit: Architecture Geek, Creative Commons)

Community input will be incorporated into development plans filed for the Early Design Guidance process with the Seattle Department of Building and Instruction (SDCI) and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. The GCDA is particularly interested in knowing what kinds of businesses and services people want to see at the ground floor commercial level. As a neighborhood currently without a large-scale grocery store, although Maruta Shoten – a grocery store focused on Japanese imports – is a treasure trove, but also lacks other major services, such as child care, GCDA wants to know what are the needs. priority among community members.

GCDA hopes to use its community land trust to create more affordable housing and workspaces in Georgetown in the future, and they aspire to use the Lucille Street development as a model for inclusive development. Industrial and residential development have been at odds in the past in Georgetown, but Farrazaino hopes a different path can be forged in the future. He was disappointed that the current draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Seattle’s Industrial and Maritime Strategy includes so little space for residential development in industrial areas, because with much cleaner industry and safer than in the past, Farrazaino worries that keeping the two apart could have spiraling negative consequences.

“Residential development has been seen as a threat to industrial land, but the downside is that then we get all these other uses, and there’s no money to clean up the land in the future. In the meantime, it is not affordable to build modern manufacturing in the city, which is a kind of slow cancer that will kill industry and jobs,” Farrazaino said.

Like Ileana Preuss, author of “Recast Your City,” who was interviewed by Ray Dubicki of The Urbanist last year, Farrazaino envisions a future in which housing can sit atop manufacturing spaces and other uses. industrial. The last thing he wants is for the industry that has defined Georgetown for over a century to disappear.

At a time of difficult growth, Georgetown continues to inspire people to care about its community, and new developments like the one GCDA is planning for 402 S Lucille Street offer hope that all of the diverse attributes that make the neighborhood special can thrive in the midst of change.

Natalie Bicknell Argerious

Chief Editor

Natalie Bicknell Argerious (her) is the editor of The Urbanist. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she enjoys learning how to make cities more inclusive, dynamic and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle’s Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email natalie [at] the town planner [dot] org.

Norma P. Rex