Lake Union Partners, a private development firm, will partner with Africatown Community Land Trust and nonprofit developer Forterra to build a mixed-use project at 23rd and Union, a block in the Central District that has become a battleground in the fight against gentrification.
Lake Union Partners purchased the property for $23.25 million on May 23, according to a press release. The company plans to build between 400 and 420 apartments on a portion of the site. Approximately 125 of those apartments will be income-restricted for households earning between $40,000 and $65,000 per year.
There will also be 20,000 square feet of commercial retail and restaurant space.
Forterra, which specializes in land conservation, will purchase the remaining 20 percent as an interim buyer. Africatown is the intended owner. The two organizations plan to build between 120 and 135 apartment units affordable for households making as low as $26,880 per year.
The announcement comes after months of contention over the site after it seemed a deal to purchase it from the Bangasser family had fallen through. Organizers against gentrification of the Central District, once a majority Black neighborhood, fought to keep the block in community hands.
“Normally people just throw their hands up and say, ‘Gentrification is inevitable and part of the market,’” Wyking Garrett, a founder of Africatown, said to The Seattle Times. “We can do something different, and we will.”
Read the full May 31 issue.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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