Correction: The original article stated the UW leased the property to Seattle Children's. Actually it was leased to Security Properties. In addition, the site is located across the street from the excavation.
At the corner of Northeast 45th Street and down 11th Avenue Northeast, a rectangular pit stretches across one acre. Construction workers bustle across the site while bulldozers flatten and excavate.
The UW purchased the lot in 2006. In a three-way partnership with Seattle Children’s and Security Properties, a Seattle-based residential development, the school is building an apartment complex consisting of 184 units on the property.
“We’ve had a long-standing goal of providing housing that’s safe and convenient for people that work at the institution,” said Todd Johnson, vice president of facilities at Seattle Children’s.
The need for the apartment arose in 2010 when an expansion of Seattle Children’s in Laurelhurst overtook a nearby condo complex. With many hospital and UW employees residing at the complex, both institutions wished to erect a suitable replacement.
“We went through a process of selecting a location that was convenient to both institutions,” Johnson said, “and this great location came up, which was an underutilized site and on main transit lines. It seemed like a great opportunity for Children’s and UW to realize a long-standing dream.”
The UW leased the site to Security Properties for 50 years, and Seattle Children's began the funding of the $40 million project with a low-interest loan of $6 million.
“It’s essentially a three-way partnership,” Johnson said. “UW is the landlord, Children’s is helping financing, and Security Properties will build and run it.”
The council approved the final permits recently and actual construction will begin, ideally, in late spring 2013, with an estimated completion in winter 2014 — a total of a year and a half of building. The name of the overall project is The Curve.
Three buildings of four, six, and eight stories will stretch across the lot, consisting of studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The north building will contain retail stores at ground level with further amenities in other buildings. A sky bridge connects the two southernmost buildings.
“We wanted to increase pedestrian circulation around the area,” said John Marasco, Security Properties’ managing director of development. “For instance, the Trader Joe’s is a significant location nearby and we wanted to enable access.”
With favorable financing enabled by Seattle Children’s loan, 34 of the 184 units will be reserved for tenants who make 75 percent or less than the area’s median income, according to Seattle Children’s construction blog.
A waiting list will be held by Security Properties, giving priority to hospital and UW employees for a short time; however, once that grace period expires, anyone is free to apply for a lease.
“Employees and staff get first crack,” Johnson said. “But then after that period is gone, anyone can access it.”
A primary goal of the project is to create a community of more permanent residents such as families, as opposed to the general student population in the U-District whose fluctuation is unreliable.
“There’s plenty of demand in the area, but I think that most the projects cater to students, more transient residents. We hope to build some great high-quality units,” Marasco said. “And hopefully they will compete well.”
Reach reporter Garrett Black at email@example.com. Twitter: @GarrettJBlack
Please read our Comment policy.