Urban League plans up to 300 affordable units in Rainier Valley

As seen in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce – September 15, 2023

An almost vacant block at 2001 Rainier Ave. S. sold this week for a little over $14.3 million, according to King County records. The new owner, via an LLC, is the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, which also announced this nearly 1.2-acre deal.

The nonprofit is planning to base its headquarters in a new building to be developed with SRM Development. Above the offices, up to 300 affordable units are planned. No architect has been named for what’s now dubbed The Empowerment Center. SRM generally acts as its own contractor, and often works with architect Olson Projects on its affordable housing projects. No building plans have been filed yet with the city.

Also bounded by South Hill and Plum streets, the trapezoidal block was previously home to a Burger King, 7-Eleven and Basin-Robbins — all recently demolished by the seller. (More on that below.) It’s about a 12-minute walk north to Judkins Park Station, where light rail service should begin in 2025.

The Urban League’s Michelle Merriweather said in a statement, “We are so excited and thankful for the opportunity to bring more affordable housing and community services to our Rainier Valley neighbors. The Empowerment Center can be a cornerstone for our generations to come in the Central District, Rainier Valley and beyond. Our work is just getting started on this project and there will be ample opportunity to connect in the years to come as this project is anticipated to start in summer 2025.”

If that schedule holds, completion in 2027 would be a reasonable goal. The land is zoned up to 75 feet, meaning a midrise project.

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