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Seattle will turn historic Fort Lawton into affordable housing

A map of where Fort Lawton stands in Seattle. (City of Seattle)

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted in favor of converting the city’s historic Fort Lawton — 35 acres of land next to Discovery Park — into affordable housing.

“We must continue to act to address our affordability and housing crisis,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said following the City Council’s Monday approval to turn the former military property into affordable housing units.

This plan builds on our commitment to create hundreds of more affordable homes at Fort Lawton on a piece of public property while ensuring that our neighborhoods can be vibrant, livable spaces today and for the next generation,”she said. “After more than a decade of community engagement, we can finally use this public land at Fort Lawton for hundreds of affordable homes, surrounded by parks and recreation space for everyone. I look forward to signing this plan into law in the coming weeks. As we develop this critical public space, we will continue to engage the community to ensure we stay true to this vision.”

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Durkan originally advanced her $90 million proposal for Fort Lawton in April. According to the mayor’s office:

The legislation will bring mixed-income affordable housing, parks, and recreational space. It would create up to 238 new affordable homes, including permanent supportive housing for seniors, apartments for low-wage working individuals and families, and home-ownership opportunities. A substantial portion of the land at the Ft. Lawton site will be used for park and park-related uses, with preservation of existing natural areas that support wildlife habitat.

At the council’s meeting Monday afternoon, Councilmember Theresa Mosqueda argued in favor of the plan.

“We know that we are in a housing crisis and this is desperately needed housing as well as public space,” Mosqueda said.

The project has faced years of pushback from neighborhood groups, however, who say it’s a bad location; too close to existing neighborhoods and schools.

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Others have argued that the former Army base should become part of Discovery Park.

KIRO Radio contributed to this report.

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