FOLLOWUP: What’s next for Admiral Church’s affordable-homeownership plan

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Admiral Church‘s agreement to turn over its half-acre property to Homestead Community Land Trust is just the first step in what’s expected to be at least a four-year journey to transformation of the site into new homes and a new home for the church.

The projected timeline is part of what was revealed at an open-house-style gathering in the church sanctuary this past Sunday afternoon, four weeks after the church and Homestead CLT announced the plan. As we’ve been reporting, the church had been on a years-long quest to secure a sustainable future – the costs of maintaining an aging building could not be borne without some sort of change. The plan will enable “affordable” homes, offered for sale, to be built on the site along with a new “flexible” space for the church and its ministries/tenants, which currently include a preschool as well as various community groups.

The architects working on the project, Third Place Design Co-operative, were in attendance, with renderings showing possibilities for how the church site’s future housing could look and feel. They told us the predominant housing type they’re considering for this site is “three-story townhouses.” The easels offered people at the gathering a chance to place dot stickers on images they liked, from architecture to amenities such as greenspaces between the buildings, porches, small fenced yards. Some of the featured images, they told us, were from a project under way now in Tukwila.

That’s an 18-home development on land previously owned by Riverton Park United Methodist Church, according to Homestead CLT’s executive director Kathleen Hosfeld, who was also at the Admiral gathering, standing by an easel explaining the “Net Zero” building philosophy for which they aim – energy-efficient, which in turn means lower utility bills.

Another Homestead rep staffed a general Q&A table, including how their model works (here’s how). 60-65 percent average mean income (AMI) is their sweet spot for potential buyers; 80 percent AMI is the ceiling to qualify. They are able to offer lower prices to qualified buyers because of subsidies from public (like the Seattle Housing Levy, which is on the current ballot) and private funding, These have to be the buyers’ only homes, and they can’t be rented out – the owner has to live there. If they want to sell their home, they can find a qualified buyer on their own, but most work with Homestead, which has a long waiting list. They even have a tiebreaker system if needed.

The open house ended with a moment of recognition for City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who helped connect Homestead CLT with Admiral Church years ago. Rev. Andrew Conley-Holcom offered a few words of appreciation, telling the backstory of the church’s journey to this point (including this meeting we covered four years ago), and the councilmember briefly spoke:

We asked Hosfeld where the project goes from here: “What happens next is we start the design process. We need to engage the civil engineer, geotech and other advisers to study the site, and model out what we can build. That’s probably a 4-6 month process. Once we have some concepts to share, we’ll reach back out to the neighborhood for some input again. In the meantime, we’ll meet with the immediate neighbors across the street and make sure we set up a good communication system with them.” If all goes well, construction of the as-yet-undetermined number of homes could start in fall of 2025 and last about a year and a half. If you have questions for Homestead, you can email

SIDE NOTE: We noticed on the Homestead website that the first of its now-245 homes in trust was referred to as the “Delridge House.” Indeed, Hosfeld told us, it all began with a little house that was moved off the site of the Delridge Library to a site elsewhere in Delridge. The nonprofit made this video a few years back telling the story:

Hosfeld says the original owner of the “Delridge House” has since sold it – but as with the other homes they’ve acquired or built, it will forever remain in trust.

19 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What's next for Admiral Church's affordable-homeownership plan"

  • Alki resident October 24, 2023 (10:03 pm)

    So if an owner wants to sell his house, does it have to be purchased by someone on waiting list? What are the Admiral neighbors thinking of this project? Three story houses right there seem kind of high for that property and surrounding area. 

    • WSB October 25, 2023 (10:56 am)

      The area is zoned Lowrise 3 – all single-family (now “neighborhood residential”) properties in the area are already able to build to three stories – and there’s a three-story apartment building right across SW Hill. As for a buyer’s future sales prospects, as noted above, you can find a qualified buyer yourself, but Homestead says most people so far have chosen to work with them since they have potential qualified buyers waiting. – TR

    • Jeff October 25, 2023 (12:02 pm)

      We need density to solve the housing crisis. Nothing is “too high.”  This is actually depressingly small for my liking.

  • Admiral October 24, 2023 (10:16 pm)

    And what about the preschool that’s been leasing the basement? What a shame that would be to lose a local school!

  • Pinto October 25, 2023 (8:26 am)

    Wow. Thanks for reporting this. I had no idea that this church was doing such great work Makes me want to go to service. 

  • Daniel Moy October 25, 2023 (8:31 am)

    We need this, but at a 100x bigger scale. 250 homes total covers less than one year’s growth of homeless.   5+ year waiting lists are not useful on a broader scale (not just Homestead, but federal Section 8 too).  At the same time, it’s a tough problem because the vast majority of retirees’ or near-retirees’ money is in housing: either near exclusively in their house, like 30%+ of the population, or a combination of their house and e.g. bond markets that lean heavily on MBS.  Any solution to housing prices will almost by definition wipe a good chunk of that out.

  • Opportunist October 25, 2023 (9:25 am)

    The church can’t afford to maintain an aging structure.  So they turn to the Seattle Housing Levy to subsidize the cost of low-income housing … & the construction of a new “flexible” space for the church and its ministries/tenants. 

    As long as they can keep those two “projects” separate, that’s fine but if taxpayer money is used to help the church build new space then you have a problem.

    • WSB October 25, 2023 (2:01 pm)

      No, they did not “turn to the Seattle Housing Levy.” I mentioned that as one of the funding sources for Homestead Community Land Trust, which is who is developing the site, not the church, which is turning over its property, which is worth far more than what a new “flexible space” will be worth.

  • Wondering October 25, 2023 (12:29 pm)

    I didn’t attend the open house, unfortunately, but I am curious what the motivation is for the current land owner (the church) to go with affordable housing?  It sounds like they need to raise funds to maintain the building  & site (and maybe the church operation), so why not go with market-rate housing and sell for much higher proceeds, even after accounting for subsidies offered from the City?  I am not against affordable housing, but questioning how the church decided this is in their best financial interest.  Maybe there a zoning overlay that requires this? Even going with a private partner on an apartment building where the church retains a portion of ownership will ensure a long-term outlook for the church.

    • Belvidear October 25, 2023 (1:40 pm)

      This church is actually putting their money where their mouth is by NOT going after maximum profits. They are showing their beliefs through their actions instead of just talking about it. This atheist says, “Bravo!”

    • neighbor October 25, 2023 (1:46 pm)

      From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, I believe that the church’s primary motivation isn’t “their best financial interest,” but rather how best to put their values into action in the community. It’s a wonderful thing to see and something I’d love to see more organizations do.

    • Oh Seattle October 25, 2023 (3:49 pm)

      See, what churches are supposed to be called to do is care for the poor, the sick, the forsaken. They are supposed to do good in the world. There are still a few left that aren’t prosperity gospel megachurches with a CEO, private jet and lobbyist on staff. Given the current state of Christianity, I can see why you would be confused.

  • Erithan October 25, 2023 (1:59 pm)

    More housing is good, but I really wish more “affordable” housing would be built toward lower income. People who are on ss etc. Below 60-65% being the baseline doesn’t help people who only have ~500-1k a month.

    • Jeff October 25, 2023 (3:06 pm)

      True. But density will get us there faster. We need housing prices to come WAY DOWN and market correction will only happen when availability density is added. 

  • AdmiralNeighbor October 25, 2023 (3:20 pm)

    Oh good, more modern 3 story townhouses. We don’t have enough of those.  Someone please hire an architect with some vision before WS looks like something out of a catalog. 

    • KBear October 25, 2023 (9:25 pm)

      So you also object to Craftsman houses, which were literally ordered from a catalog?

  • Roxanne October 25, 2023 (3:56 pm)

    Years ago my son and I attended service regularly at Admiral UCC and it was the most wonderful place filled with the most wonderful people! I remember when they began discussing options for the building, and I’m so impressed.        

  • Nicole October 25, 2023 (4:32 pm)

    Neighbor here! Someone asked what “we” think. While I can’t speak for all my neighbors, I think the general sentiment w those I’ve had convos with is that this is great!   The townhome style will be more fitting for able-bodied, younger families, but our area could use more of that anyways.  Also, I thought that a certain percentage of the units were going to be market rate, am I wrong?

    • WSB October 25, 2023 (4:52 pm)

      That was mentioned in the original announcement. The flyer that was handed out Sunday does mention “some market-rate homes” but it didn’t come up in conversation; I’ll have to follow up.

Sorry, comment time is over.