Mayoral announcement of ‘new, affordable rental homes’ includes long-planned Delridge project

The week’s first announcement from Mayor Jenny Durkan heralded a nine-figure investment in “new, affordable rental homes.” The only West Seattle project on the list is one that’s been in the works a while, the Seattle Housing Authority‘s Lam Bow Apartments replacement project. The announcement and citywide list are here. The Lam Bow project (6955 Delridge Way SW) will replace both the building destroyed in a 2016 fire and the one left standing. The total 82 units to be built are up from 51 in the original complex. The cost of the project was estimated earlier this year at $35 million. Today’s announcement of citywide investments notes:

Funding sources for the Office of Housing investments include the 2016 voter-passed Seattle Housing Levy, incentive zoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability payments, $32 million in Real Estate Excise Taxes and over $13 million through retained sales taxes, made possible by changes in state law authorized by the 2019 Washington State Legislature and Seattle City Council.

A check of online files shows the Lam Bow project is still going through the city permit process.

20 Replies to "Mayoral announcement of 'new, affordable rental homes' includes long-planned Delridge project"

  • WS Guy December 10, 2019 (3:24 am)

    $35M / 82 units = $425,000 each.  Are you sure that’s right?

    • WSB December 10, 2019 (7:43 am)

      Email exchange with Ryan Moore of SHA in March 2019, full quote from the email: “The design review process will influence the cost so we’re waiting for that to progress before determining the final cost, but it will be around $35 million.”

      P.S. That may have been low. Out of curiosity I’m looking around SHA documents and here
      it has a line item, “Mixed Finance Sources for Lam Bow 58,807,000.”

      P.P.S. Last addition as I have to move on to other work. An invitation to bid posted in October (but then marked as canceled):

      From that document, “ESTIMATE: The estimate for the construction of this project is between $26 Million and $28 Million.”

      Obviously construction is not the only cost item for a project – there’s also planning, design, and somewhere along the research line in the past half-hour I also happened onto a mention of site environmental work.

  • Mj December 10, 2019 (7:25 am)

    WS Guy my thoughts too.

  • Alki resident December 10, 2019 (7:41 am)

    This is low income housing with housing authority. This does nothing for the average family looking for affordable rentals. Next

  • T Rex December 10, 2019 (7:52 am)

    You are 100% correct Alki Resident.  The average families are the ones that are struggling, however they still make too much money to live in “affordable housing”.  I really hate that term because what it really is low to no income housing. It’s all about the votes for Jenny. 

  • Rick December 10, 2019 (7:57 am)

    Somebody’s going to become a bit more affluent on this one.

  • Bob Lang December 10, 2019 (8:11 am)

    Typical Seattle waste of money.  425k for apartments.  

    • WSB December 10, 2019 (8:32 am)

      Anyone who has time to go find non-public development costs for comparison, have at it. So far I’ve found this from last year estimating a $352,000/unit average. This TV story wasn’t far behind.

      • Kram December 10, 2019 (11:00 am)

        I’m the senior estimator at a mid sized construction company. We have built many apartments and always have 2-4 in current construction. Ranging in size from 20 units to 400 units. We have lots of pricing metrics that we track from our historical data and an average per unit cost for an apartment in Seattle over the last 3 years is 120k-250k a unit. This is heavily dependent on way too many factors but a 452k unit cost would make a private project no where near viable. That’s a crazy number. One of the biggest jobs I’ve ever bid on recently with a very expensive 2 level sub-grade parking garage and expensive finishes like tile came in at 233k a unit.

  • KM December 10, 2019 (8:30 am)

    Happy to see affordable housing being re-built with additional units. My average family is feeling the effects of the rapidly increasing high cost of living here AND celebrating more housing for those with less income and more barriers to housing. It was a lot of work but after years of practicing walking and chewing gum at the same time, we did it. 

  • TJ December 10, 2019 (9:12 am)

    After reading comments on these stories over the last couple years it is obvious that people will never be satisfied with the cities attempts to build affordable housing. Who is it meant to help? Low income? Middle income families? Those in tents with no income? It never has been governments role to guarantee housing for people. It has provided a safety net to those that have fallen on hard times for various reasons, but now it seems people want it to subsidize it long term for a much larger group of people. Nobody has a right to live where they want. The reality is the housing prices here will be artificially high by trying to subsidize it for many. The middle class are the ones getting pinched in this city, but I don’t get the mentality that someone is owed cheaper housing by the city because it has gotten expensive here. If it is too expensive, move out of the city. That’s how prices here will actually drop.

    • Bob Lang December 10, 2019 (10:44 am)

      Well said.  

    • Musubi December 10, 2019 (11:53 am)

      Yeah, and also, if you can’t afford to register your cars in the city in which you reside, you shouldn’t live here!Right, TJ?

    • Lagartija Nick December 10, 2019 (2:14 pm)

      “If it is too expensive, move out of the city.” Says the guy who registers his cars and his business elsewhere to avoid paying taxes while living in the city. What a bad joke.

  • KBear December 10, 2019 (10:21 am)

    What I am hearing here is that commenters believe “average” residents are more entitled to “affordable housing” than low-income residents for some reason. By that logic, high-income residents are even more entitled than “average” residents. Are we supposed to ignore low income residents until the “average” residents are taken care of? (Or maybe we should call them “below-average” residents?)  Well, there’s plenty of housing for high-income residents. There! Problem solved. The most entitled people have housing! Also, these are RENTAL units. They are not being sold for $425K, so I’m not sure why WS Guy thinks that figure is relevant. 

    • Kram December 10, 2019 (10:45 am)

      WS Guy is only saying he thinks that amount to pay to build an apartment unit is high. Nobody here is implying average residents are more entitled. 35-58 million is a lot of public money that we all technically have a say in how it is spent. $425k a unit is well over double what private companies build apartments for. It’s more of a general frustration of how slow and expensive government managed projects are.

  • John December 10, 2019 (12:47 pm)

    Hey KRAM. without doubting your expertise in private construction as a senior estimator for a construction company, I ask if you are referring to ‘construction’ costs or whole project costs i.e. development costs??Estimates for construction differ from overall costs of development.  Additionally public work construction involves far different requirements than private sector.

    • Matt P December 10, 2019 (2:35 pm)

      If it takes government twice the money of private companies to build, then that is a super inefficient and wasteful use of resources.  A better use would be to give vouchers based on income and let people live where they will which will.

    • Kram December 10, 2019 (4:40 pm)

      I’m talking about construction costs. Working through land cost and what a typical developer would carry you’d still be around the 30 mil mark for construction making this a $370ish a unit cost for construction. Still astronomically high in the private sector.

  • 1994 December 13, 2019 (10:41 pm)

    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer – isn’t that the saying?

Sorry, comment time is over.