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Less Talk, More Housing

Less Talk, More Housing
Mitt and Barack may be posturing for the hearts and minds of middle-income folks in their debates, but maybe they'd get further if they just built some apartments for them. Like the latest from Spectrum Development Solutions and Gracorp Capital Partners: 120 workforce apartments in the first private project at the much-talked-about Yesler Terrace redevelopment.
Jake McKinstry of Spectrum Development Solutions in his downtown Seattle office.
Here's Spectrum principal Jake McKinstry channeling NYC in the company's Third Avenue offices. The JV purchased a $2.9M plot from the Seattle Housing Authority at 12th and Yesler, and hopes to lease units in 2014. What's the motivation? Right now, less than 15% of the downtown rental housing supply is affordable to people making between $36k and $50k per year, Jake says. He tells us, "You have to proactively create affordability. In our minds, it's only going to get harder to create these options."

The Seattle Housing Authority's vision for Yesler Terrace.
This SHA concept drawing confirms part of Yesler Terrace's affordability—it's hand drawn. While not affordable housing by definition, Jake and company founder Hal Ferris are determined that this project will be affordable for teachers, nurses, and families.Spectrum sees workforce housing located along easy-access transit lines as a model project, he says. Other than more workforce housing, Jake, an avid skiier and snowboarder, has another vision for the future: "I want to do a ski resort. I'd make Crystal into a mini-Whistler Village podium development, and bury the parking lot."