A vibrant new community
Yesler Terrace is a 30-acre site near downtown Seattle that was developed by the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) in the early 1940s as the city’s first publicly subsidized housing. As it became evident in recent years that infrastructure and 561 aging housing units needed to be replaced, SHA began a conversation with residents, surrounding neighbors, city officials, key partners and the citizens of Seattle. A vision took shape for transforming Yesler Terrace — with its central location close to jobs and transit options, and beautiful views of Mt. Rainier and downtown Seattle — into a model community. In 2013, the revitalization of Yesler Terrace began.
What is emerging is a dynamic, mixed-income community that honors the neighborhood’s history and cultural richness while creating safe, healthy and sustainable affordable housing, attractive new parks and open spaces, increased transportation options and enhanced economic opportunities.
The new Yesler Terrace will feature up to:
- 4.3 million square feet of housing in 5,000 units
1,800 subsidized homes for low and moderate-income residents
- 65,000 square feet for neighborhood services
- 1.8-acre central park, three pocket parks, half-mile “Green Street” loop and one acre for community gardening
- 88,000 square feet of retail space
- 900,000 square feet of office space
- 5,100 parking spaces to serve residents, office workers, retail customers and neighborhood visitors
Investing in people, neighborhood and housing
Seattle Housing Authority is collaborating with private developers, the City of Seattle, local employers, Seattle University, healthcare providers, philanthropic organizations and other nonprofits to expand opportunity at Yesler Terrace along with housing.
The new neighborhood will bring together people from many walks of life, ethnic backgrounds and income levels. Partnerships will help strengthen the social fabric of the community by providing open spaces and community centers for gathering, and programs to increase health, academic achievement and economic opportunity.
A continuum of housing
Redevelopment of Yesler Terrace has presented an opportunity not only to replace the previous subsidized housing for people at the lowest income level, but to build a truly mixed-income community with affordable homes for people across the income spectrum. The new Yesler Terrace will meet the needs of nearly 10 times the number of households residing on the site prior to redevelopment.
Renewing Yesler’s promise includes a promise to all people residing at Yesler Terrace before the redevelopment began that they would be provided with comparable housing and moving expenses if they had to relocate, a priority right to return to new housing at Yesler Terrace, or an opportunity to move straight from old housing into new if they are in areas where the phasing enables that on-site transition.
The significant housing additions to Yesler Terrace open up a range of affordable housing to many more people.
- The commitment to replacement subsidized housing will be fulfilled with a minimum of 561 units for very low-income households, earning 30 percent or less of area median income (AMI)
- 290 units will be added for households earning 60 percent or less of AMI
- 850 units will be designated as “workforce housing” for residents with incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI
- Approximately 3,200 homes will be offered at market-rate rents
The success of Yesler Terrace relies not just on new buildings and walking paths but on building community and pathways to improved lives and livelihoods. The Seattle Housing Authority collaborates with many different partners such as Seattle University, JPMorgan Chase and Neighborcare Health to offer residents at Yesler Terrace opportunities to help them achieve their life goals.
- “Cradle to college” educational support
- Early-learning, parent-child home visits and on-site preschool programs
- After-school academic enrichment activities for youth in elementary through high school
- Intensive summer education programs for youth
- An Education Engagement Specialist to support families and students
- Participation in a Workforce Opportunity System that includes an Opportunity Week based on a college campus
- Assisted education, skills training and culturally appropriate job placement services
- Individual coaching, job fairs, job-shadowing internships and hiring events with neighborhood employers
- English as a Second Language and Industrial Sewing classes
- Pre-apprenticeship construction training program and construction jobs at Yesler Terrace
- Health clinic located in the neighborhood’s elementary school
- Four on-site Community Health Educators
- Assistance with enrollment in Medicaid and other affordable healthcare insurance options
- Fitness and exercise classes for all ages
- A full-time Community Builder at Yesler Terrace supports residents with the development of affinity groups and other means to create and cultivate networks and social cohesion
A convenient, welcoming neighborhood
Redevelopment of Yesler Terrace provided an opportunity to create a master plan for the community that
updates infrastructure and adds carefully thought out elements that will inspire social, physical and artistic
interaction among not only residents of Yesler Terrace but a wide range of citizens and visitors to Seattle.
Neighborhood amenities will include:
- A spacious central park for daily use as well as neighborhood cultural fairs and other activities
- A view pedestrian pathway running diagonally through the heart of the community, connecting the area
with neighboring businesses and residents
- A new outdoor hillclimb with staircase, ramp, landscaping, 24-hour lighting, artwork, gathering plaza
and access to the nearby Chinatown International District and Little Saigon
- A First Hill Streetcar route along Yesler Way that provides a key link to the region’s wider public
- A half-mile “Green Street” loop with exercise stations and resting areas
- Three pocket parks
- Public art that tells the story of the past, present, and future of the neighborhood
- The historic Yesler Steam Plant reborn as the Epstein Opportunity Center, housing early childhood
education, youth tutoring and community gatherings
- Expanded programming at the city’s Yesler Community Center
- Major infrastructure street and walkway improvements
Seattle Housing Authority appreciates the support of many residents, citizens, stakeholders, nonprofits, government agencies, philanthropic foundations and funding partners who are helping to build a new Yesler Terrace community. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods Grant, and funding from the City of Seattle, JPMorgan Chase and select property sales to private developers are supporting construction and other development costs.
For a look at current planning and building activities, visit:
- Current Activities
- Yesler Terrace blog
- Yesler Terrace 8-page brochure
- Yesler Terrace Project Information and Reports