Old Seattle fire station will become low-income housing

Jan 11, 2017, 7:29 AM
affordable, housing, low-income...
Old Fire Station 39 in Lake City will become affordable housing and a preschool. (City of Seattle)
(City of Seattle)

A Seattle fire station built in the 1940s will be demolished to make way for housing. Unlike many projects currently underway in the city, however, this one will be dedicated to low-income families.

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously this week to transfer ownership of the former Station 39 in Lake City to the Low-Income Housing Institute.

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According to city documents, a six-story mixed-use building with 70 units of affordable workforce housing will be built at the site. The bottom floor will be saved for an 8,300-square-foot preschool program, which will include four classrooms.

The transfer of ownership follows approximately six years of community engagement.

The old Station 39 was vacated after the city opted to build a new station, instead of pumping money into the aging structure built in 1949.

“Since meeting code and operational requirements would require a complete overhaul of the station, it was more cost effective to build a new facility on the existing site,” the city wrote.

The new station, which firefighters moved into in 2010, occupies a portion of the old property.

Permits for the new housing is expected to come in by February. Construction could begin as early as May of this year and residents could move in by September 2018.

“I am pleased to transmit the attached legislation to transfer ownership of former Fire Station 39 to the Low-Income Housing Institute for the purposes of building affordable multi-family housing and preschool programs in the Lake City neighborhood,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wrote in a letter to the city council.

Residents of the new affordable units will only be eligible if their household makes at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income ($48420 for a family of three).


The housing, according to Murray, fits in with his vision of making the city more affordable. In his plan, Murray highlights the need to maximize surplus and underutilized public property for affordable housing.

Funding for the housing portion of the project was expected to be awarded to the institute by December. Funding for the preschool program will come from a mixture of Community Development Block Grant funding, General Fund, and Seattle Preschool Program demonstration funds.

The total cost is expected to be around $20 million.

Related: Would you give up your Seattle home for affordability?

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Old Seattle fire station will become low-income housing