Seattle Housing Authority Begins Long-Awaited Yesler Project

Sep 5, 2013

The long-awaited redevelopment of Seattle’s oldest public housing complex is finally underway. 

The Seattle Housing Authority had hoped to break ground on Yesler Terrace months ago, but tighter scrutiny by funders in this post-recession world delayed the project, says Seattle Housing Authority's Director of Development Stephanie Van Dyke. 

The city, the federal government, and J.P. Morgan Chase are funding the project. 

"Everyone really is doing, I would say, extra, extra due diligence on financing," Van Dyke said. 

Now that construction is under way, the first mid-rise apartment building, which will replace about 80 units of public housing, will likely be finished in spring 2015. Eventually, the agency will replace all 561 low-income housing units that are currently at Yesler.

Some of the families formerly housed at Yesler Terrace have already moved to other housing authority complexes. Operations director Rod Brandon says he is trying to help each family find the right-sized unit in the part of town where they want to be.

"We’re really, really trying to match their needs and their desires to a new location, because it can be hard on folks to relocate when you’ve been here for a while. So we’re sensitive to that," Brandon said. 

All of the residents are guaranteed a right to return to Yesler Terrace once the buildings are finished.