Why does Yesler Terrace have to be redeveloped?
Nearly 70-years old, Yesler Terrace’s water, sewer and other key infrastructure systems are failing. And while functional, many of its 561 low-income housing units need extensive maintenance. This is not a sustainable approach for the long-term needs of its residents or the surrounding community. As with the redevelopments at NewHolly, Rainier Vista and High Point, Yesler Terrace housing will be sturdier, more modern and more healthful than the existing aging housing. In addition, a redeveloped Yesler Terrace provides an opportunity to help meet the growing need for more low-income public housing in Seattle. We hope to increase low-income housing at Yesler Terrace from 561 units to 1,801 units.
What kind of new community is Seattle Housing Authority planning to build at Yesler Terrace?
The new Yesler Terrace is envisioned as a dynamic and welcoming urban, mixed-use community with convenient connections to nearby neighborhoods. It will be a great place to live and work, and will increase the number of units of low-income and workforce housing near the urban core. The neighborhood will include a mix of market-rate housing, office and retail uses, as well as parks and open space, enhanced landscaping, improved streets and pedestrian and bike amenities. The future Yesler Terrace is envisioned as a model community – safe, healthy and sustainable – incorporating green design practices, enhanced transportation alternatives (including a new street car) and economic opportunity for its residents.
The mix of housing in the new Yesler Terrace is envisioned as follows:
- 661 units (serving people with incomes below 30 percent Average Median Income) – 561 of these will be replacement for the low-income units that exist there now, and 100 will be additional low-income units
- 290 additional low-income units (serving people with incomes from 30-60 percent AMI)
- 850 workforce housing (serving people with incomes below 80 percent AMI)
- 1,200-3,200 market-rate housing units
Will all of the low-income housing at Yesler Terrace be replaced?
Yes. We will replace all 561 low-income units that are now at Yesler Terrace and add an additional 1,240 low-income units. (“Low-income” is customarily defined as below 80 percent of median income.) The mix of housing we are planning is detailed above.
Will the current residents of Yesler Terrace be able to keep their housing?
Yes. Everyone who is living at Yesler Terrace now will have subsidized housing as long as they continue to qualify. This is one of the key promises we have made to residents. Depending on the household’s choice, there may be opportunities for housing at Yesler Terrace or elsewhere in Seattle. Learn more about Seattle Housing’s replacement housing.
Will the existing Yesler Community Center remain in place?
Yes. Whatever new development occurs in the community will be built around this facility.
Will all existing residents need to move right away?
No. The project is moving forward in phases rather than all at once, so many people can keep living at Yesler Terrace while redevelopment happens on other parts of the site. During community planning that happened before redevelopment started, many residents expressed the desire not to move away. In response, there will always be at least 281 housing units available on site during all times, which is more than half of the number of pre-existing units.
When will each resident need to relocate?
We will let each resident who must move know at least a year and a half before work begins on each phase. This will allow ample time for residents to make choices about where they would prefer to move, whether onsite or elsewhere in Seattle or beyond. We will meet with each household at Yesler Terrace to review options and create relocation plans that work best for them.
What kind of help is available when residents need to relocate?
Each resident will meet with relocation staff to make a plan for their relocation. Moving can be stressful even in the best of circumstances, so the housing authority is committed to provided the help necessary to make the process as smooth as possible. Assistance with moving costs and physical help moving and packing is available. Reimbursement for out of pocket costs and transportation costs to view new housing is also available. Access to services and coordination assistance with schools is also available. It is important that residents meet with the staff before moving to preserve their access to benefits. There is a 24/7 info line for residents available at (206) 256-7052 and help is available in many languages.