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Construction Begins at Village Gardens

Updated: Aug 21




Seattle, WA – August 21, 2020 – Village Gardens, an affordable homeownership development of 16 homes, is now under construction in the Leschi/Central District neighborhood of Seattle. The development will include 10 homes priced affordably for income-qualified households, and 6 market-rate units, all built fossil fuel-free to achieve a Built Green environmental standard.


Village Gardens is developed by non-profit Homestead Community Land Trust with Edge Developers, LLC on land provided by the City of Seattle for affordable housing. The community land trust homes in the development will be priced below $300,000. To qualify for purchase, buyers must have an income below 80% of area median income as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the King County area.


Through one-time investments that subsidize the initial price of the homes and partnerships with buyers, Homestead will keep the community land trust Village Gardens homes affordable to all subsequent income-qualified buyers permanently. Each home may be resold up to seven times over a 50-year period, giving multiple families the social, health and financial benefits of an affordable, fixed housing payment in a quality home. The remaining six homes will be sold at market rates, and proceeds from sales will be used to fund the affordability of the other homes. All the homes will be part of the same homeowners association.


“We believe that people should be able to live and have an ownership stake in the communities where they contribute to our shared quality of life,” said Kathleen Hosfeld, Homestead Executive Director. “Homes at Village Gardens will address the critical shortage of for-sale homes priced within reach of everyday residents of Seattle.”


The Village Gardens project results from a partnership between Africatown Community Land Trust, Homestead and Edge to assure the development benefits members of the Black community. Village Gardens is located in the Central District, where in 1852, Black pioneer and entrepreneur William Grose purchased 12 acres of land which started what would become a haven for minority settlers as racist housing practices kept them from living in other areas of Seattle. Since the 1970s, the Black population in the Central District has dropped from 73% to less than 18% due to displacement.


“The Black Community has called the Central District home for almost 140 years. It is absolutely critical that our community have access to affordable homeownership such as the homes at Village Gardens in order to be part of the future of the neighborhood,” said K. Wyking Garrett, President and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust.


Homestead and Edge partnered with Africatown to increase Black contractor participation in the construction of Village Gardens homes, and will work together to reach potential buyers who have been displaced from the area.


K. Wyking Garrett and Africatown outreach specialist Murry Edwards, supported by Joel Ing and Evan Chan of Edge Developers, conducted outreach to Black contractors and provided technical support in the bidding process. As a result, Black contractors have secured $1 million in subcontracts on the project (20%). The total Women and Minority Owned business participation in subcontracts is 40%.


“Equally important is that our community have equitable participation in the millions of dollars spent on affordable housing development. We secured $1 million of construction contracts for Black owned contracting firms for Village Gardens,” said Garrett.


“This project is very special to the partners of Edge Developers – Don Mar, Evan and myself – because we all grew up here,” said Joel Ing. “Working with Africatown to reach out to Black subcontractors was important to us. This project will contribute to our region’s economic recovery and we want that to be an equitable recovery.”


Affordable homes at Village Gardens will be sold according to the City of Seattle’s community preference guidelines. Community Preference recognizes that people with historic ties to particular neighborhoods may have been displaced by policies and economic forces including gentrification, or that they may be at imminent risk of gentrification. The City of Seattle’s Office of Housing has provided guidelines to give preference in purchasing to:

  • Applicants who are current residents near developments in neighborhoods currently facing high risk of displacement.

  • Applicants, their family members, or ancestors (i.e. great-grandparent) are former residents in neighborhoods that have historically been affected by high displacement.

  • Applicants who have community ties or utilize community services in the development’s neighborhood.

Africatown and Homestead will collaborate in efforts to reach potential buyers with historic ties to the area, as well as to further Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing goals of removing barriers to ownership for those considered “least likely to apply.”


“It is exciting to see the Community Preference Policy in action to bring permanently affordable home ownership opportunities to current and former residents of a neighborhood where community members have been displaced at an alarming rate,” said Emily Alvarado, Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing. “This Seattle Housing Levy investment will create wealth building opportunities through home ownership for families, while providing living construction wage jobs to black and women and minority owned business.”


All of the townhomes will be certified Built Green Four-Star, a certification process run by the Master Builders Association that verifies that a home is constructed to a high level of energy efficiency, and uses environmentally sustainable building materials practices. Approximately one third of homes in King County achieve this standard. Homestead and Edge are also partnering on a Net Zero Energy community land trust homeownership development in Renton.


Environmental measures at Village Gardens include that the homes:

  • Are constructed to be solar ready, with all the infrastructure in place and ready to install solar panels,

  • Have Water Sense labeled plumbing fixtures to reduce water waste and reduce the water utility bill,

  • Have heat pump hot water heaters that use up to 63% less electricity than standard electric hot water heaters, and

  • Use all electric appliances, no fossil-fuel use for cooking or heating; LED lighting throughout, and Energy Star-Rated Appliances and ventilation fans.

Construction is expected to be completed in late 2021. Informational events and homebuyer preparedness for income-qualified area residents will be announced later this year. Information about applying to the Homestead program is available on the website at www.homesteadclt.org/become-a-homeowner.


For more information, visit www.homesteadclt.org/about-homestead/new-homes-in-development.


About Homestead Community Land Trust www.homesteadclt.org

About Edge Developers www.edgedevelopers.net

About Africatown Community Land Trust www.africatownlandtrust.org

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Village Gardens  is a neighborhood of homes within the Homestead Community Land Trust

Homestead’s main office is at 412 Maynard Ave South, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98104

Homestead is a 501(c)(3) membership organization. Our tax ID is 91-1565651.

 

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Background photo: "Urban Peace Circle,” Gerald Tsutakawa, artist; Stop the Violence. Photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation Story behind the art