(June 2011 photo of DESC Delridge project’s proposed site)
The Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s proposed Delridge Supportive Housing project is suddenly undergoing a redesign, according to documents filed with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission as part of the next round of financing DESC is seeking – and that redesign will be for a project with 66 units, not 75 units as originally proposed.
The city Office of Housing had originally granted a waiver to DESC, allowing it to propose a 75-unit project even though the amount of “extremely low-income housing” in the area was supposed to max out at 63 units beyond what it currently has. Neighborhood advocates had questioned the information on which the waiver was based – and now, according to a city document also on file with the WSHFC as part of the DESC application, it appears they had grounds for concern.
Documents from the city, dated in mid-December, say that newly available 2010 census information superseded what DESC had been working with, and that the site now could only support 66 units in this income range. This notification came just as DESC was about to submit its application for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the WSHFC, and since there wasn’t enough time for them to completely redo the application, they are redesigning the project right now, and expecting to submit new information by the end of this month. The documentation we just reviewed at WSHFC offices downtown includes this DESC explanation:
This late change creates both capital and operational inefficiencies. It is also driving the total development costs over the WSHFC cost limits. Our team is currently redesigning the project with a new cost estimate, and a revised development budget will be shared with WSHFC and other public funders by january 31, 2012.
We attempted to reach DESC leadership by phone and e-mail earlier today for comment, and so far have not heard back. We are still reviewing a few more documents related to this and will add any additional information of relevance.
The Delridge project first came to light last June and has since moved through stages including property purchase – $768,000 for three lots in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW, with the sale initiated last April and closed one month ago – as well as city, county, and state financing approvals, plus the first round of city Design Review (with a second round to come, though no date is set). Our coverage of the project is archived here.