Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Downtown Senior Housing project is under study by City Council

At last night's meeting, the City Council studied ARCH's proposal for a Senior Housing project in Downtown Redmond. 

The subject site - just north of Wells Fargo - is approximately 0.81 acres, located at 8550 160th Avenue NE across from the entrance to the municipal Public Safety campus.  The property is essentially flat and narrow and was acquired with non-utility funds a number of years ago for the purpose of City Hall campus expansion.  According to the administration: "the site is an attractive location for senior housing due to its proximity to transit, Sammamish River trail, Bella Bottega shopping,  medical services, the library, and the Redmond Senior Center. The project concept is for 50 to 70 units of senior housing, with a unit mix of mostly one-bedroom units with some studio and two-bedroom dwellings. Assuming Council adoption of the Planning Commission's recommendation for amendments to the Downtown zoning, the height limit in this location will be five stories. No street-level retail is expected. One constraint of the site is that there is no sewer main adjacent to the site, and therefore a new sewer main will need to be constructed, most likely to the south side of NE 85th Street."
Councilmembers Allen, Stilin, Margeson and Flynn all felt the structure should be five stories to hold as many units as can be designed with good architectural standards.  Allen said she lives right next to the site in a 3-4 story building and saw no problem with five stories.  Stilin thought the seniors lucky enough to get a top unit would enjoy nice views of the valley.  He asked for "good materials" for construction since it was so close to the city campus.  Margeson didn't want a tower right next to the sidewalk but hoped the architects could step the building back from the sidewalk to five stories.  Staff and council expected demands for parking would be less. 

Rent on a one bedroom apartment would be $1100-1250 for someone with an income ranging from $45,000-$52,000.  Rent would be $425-925 for a one bedroom at incomes between $19,000-39,000.  Funding sources are public, private, tax credit and tax-exempt.  ARCH was targeting their proposal for state funding this Fall or next.  The city would lease their land at no cost for 70 years.   The city council took no action to approve the plan.   

Report and photo by Bob Yoder

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