More Affordable Housing at Jackson Place

Construction is about to begin on HomeSight’s 102-unit Pontedera Condominiums and Lofts, rendering above, located at Hiawatha Place and Dearborn St in the Jackson Place neighborhood. Half of the units will be affordable to families earning less than 80% of the area median income, and half will be sold at market rate. The March Jackson Place newsletter reports that, “low-interest deferred mortgages and reduced down payments will be available to those who qualify and the building will receive a property tax exemption.”

The Pontedera will be the third affordable housing project in this little corner of Jackson Place: right next door to the south is Hiawatha Artists Lofts, and a block east on Davis Place is The Stellina, also developed by HomeSight. Adding to the eclectic mix of housing is Jackson Place Cohousing, on the east side of Hiawatha Place.

The unlikely location of all this affordable housing is the result a strategy to redevelop 3.5 acres that the City acquired during the construction of I-90. It is a good example of how all the planets need to be aligned for affordable housing projects to succeed. As proposed here, Seattle could well use a development authority to help affordable housing projects leverage all the available incentives, as well as to advocate for new and improved incentives.

A side note: Considering the unusual nature of the housing noted above, and the time and care it took to make it happen, I find it easier to appreciate the neighborhood’s criticisms of the proposed development at the Goodwill site just across Rainier Ave. As of February, both the Jackson Place and Squire Park community councils continue to oppose the development because the “size and character are unacceptable.” According to the Jackson Place newsletter, “the project is currently being held up by the City because it is seeking written assurances that the housing will be completed as part of the project.”