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Seattle council approves acquisition of land in South Park for affordable housing

Art, greenery, and seating next to South Park Library. (Photo courtesy of SDOT/Flickr)

Seattle’s Office of Housing will buy two parcels of land in South Park for an affordable housing development.

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The legislation — Council Bill 120114 — from Mayor Jenny Durkan authorizing the purchase was approved unanimously by the Seattle City Council on Monday. Durkan will sign the legislation this week.

The measure requires units to be affordable for households making at or below 60% of the area median income. That equates to $69,400 for a family of four and $48,600 for a single person.

“Our housing crisis has impacted every neighborhood in our City and we are called to use every tool available to address it with the urgency that this crisis demands,” Durkan said in a written statement. “Most importantly, I want to congratulate the tireless South Park advocates who continue to push the City to make their vision of an equitable future a reality. South Park will be changed for generations to come because of the work of our community leaders who have been on the forefront of leading new investments in housing, environmental justice, and infrastructure.”  

Future development will include units with two or more bedrooms. Plans must also include community spaces on the ground floor, with an additional goal to incorporate water- and energy-efficient sustainable building practices.

The city of Seattle has been working closely with community-based organizations in South Park, like the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition and Duwamish River Clean-Up Coalition, since 2016. Through that work, the city is trying “to understand the community’s vision for the rapidly changing neighborhood where many residents and businesses are feeling the pressures of displacement.”

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Other city investments in South Park include: Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements; the creation of South Park Plaza that will include an open lawn and event space; and Marra Farm, which will be an accessible multi-use park. Seattle Public Utilities and the Seattle Department of Transportation are working to improve streets and drainage, and will be constructing a pump station.

The Office of Planning and Community Development awarded $1 million to the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition to support the identification and acquisition of land to community supportive services.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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