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First affordable high-rise in more than 50 years opens in Seattle

The 17-story building in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood will be operated by two nonprofits: Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing.

SEATTLE — The first affordable high-rise in Seattle in more than 50 years opened on Tuesday.

The 17-story building in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood will be operated by two nonprofits: Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing

In 2018, Sound Transit approved a free land transfer for the project. 

“Today we have reason to celebrate. This building is proof that we can make real strides toward ending homelessness in our region” said Karen Lee, CEO of Plymouth Housing. “When we came to Sound Transit with an idea for this site, they understood how important it was to provide homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness. When we asked Bellwether to join us, we gained a partner who is doing transformative work providing homes for individuals and families. And of course, we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for our community, and the support of the First Hill neighborhood.”

The 17-floor building has two apartment complexes. Plymouth will operate "Blake House" on floors two through five, with a total of 112 studio apartments focused on serving seniors and veterans who are experiencing homelessness. There are also three staff apartments, three community rooms, a courtyard and computer lab.

The name of this portion of the building honors Blake Nordstrom, who led the department store chain Nordstrom as co-president. Blake Nordstrom died in 2019. Nordstrom was also known for efforts to help end homelessness in the city.

Bellwether will operate "The Rise on Madison" on floors six through 17. That section will provide 250 homes to families making 60% or less of the area median income with 10% of those homes featuring two and three bedrooms. Rents will range from $1,015 to $1,783. It will feature a community room, kitchen, and more.

In total, there are 362 supportive and affordable units. 

“This development represents so much of what is great about Seattle — support for an innovative development that will serve a broad range of needs, collaboration among committed partners, and a deep commitment to ensure that lower income people have a place in this city,” Bellwether CEO Susan Boyd said. “I’m grateful for our state and local government leaders who made this development a priority, to neighborhood leaders who were active proponents of the project, and to the brilliant and committed staff at Plymouth and Bellwether Housing who worked so hard to make this happen.”

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