May 15- Construction on 365 units of affordable workforce housing is scheduled to begin prior to the end of the month, as the SeaTac City Council approved one of if not the largest new affordable housing complex in King County built in the past few years. At its Tuesday night Regular Council Meeting, the Council voted 6-1 to approve the sale of City-owned land to CAP Acquisitions, LLC (AKA Inland Group) and approved the plan for the construction of 365 units of affordable housing.
“We hear time and time again from both employers and residents that affordable workforce housing is desperately needed in the city,” says Mayor Erin Sitterley. “This complex will allow hundreds of our hard-working families to live near light rail and access jobs and amenities”
The new affordable housing development, to be named Polaris at SeaTac, is part of a 585 unit mixed use residential project that will include three residential towers, 27,000 square feet of new commercial space, underground parking, and convenient access to the Tukwila International Boulevard Light Rail Station. This project will be constructed on at 4.5-acre site at 15245 International Blvd S. which currently contains a vacant 65,000 square foot commercial building and a structured parking garage. On March 12, 2018, tenants of the commercial building were given nearly 18-months-notice of the sale and eventual redevelopment of the property, and all 11 tenants with leases moved out by August 31, 2019.
This 585-unit complex fits the high-density, urban village Transit Oriented Development model championed by the City, County and State. In 2006, the City of SeaTac first envisioned this multi-family project with the passage of the South 154th Street Station Area Action Plan. At that time, with light rail heading into the SeaTac, the City wanted to create high-density residential hubs around the three light rail stations that serve the residents and visitors of the City.
The Polaris at SeaTac development will consist of two residential towers with 365 units of workforce housing which is affordable for individuals and families earning less than 60% of area median income. The remaining 220 housing units of market rate housing will be located in one residential tower to be named Adara at SeaTac.
The City and CAP Acquisitions previously agreed to an $11,000,000 price tag for the sale of the property. The resolution passed on May 12 allows for the 4.5-acre site to be sold as two separate parcels. The affordable housing development, Polaris at SeaTac, would be built first and CAP Acquisitions will pay the City $6,930,000 for this portion of the property. The remaining $4,070,000 of the purchase price will be received by the City upon closing of the second portion of the property for construction of the Adara at SeaTac development. Until the closure of the Adara parcel, the City will also receive an additional payment of one thousand dollar-a-month, plus 12.84% leasehold excise tax, as a payment for the ground lease. CAP Acquisitions will use the Adara portion of the property as a staging area for the construction of the two Polaris buildings.
CAP Acquisitions says it was forced to split the property after the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and the financial lending markets for large-scale multi-family residential properties all but dried up. “I feel incredibly fortunate that we were as far along with the Polaris funder and investor as we were,” said Inland Group Development Lead Keith James. “The risk we would have is in another week or two or three, I don’t think the COVID situation will be clear that the lending markets would unfreeze to speak.”
Originally, the proposed project would have created 665 units of housing along with 30,000 square feet of new commercial space. A pre-existing parking easement for the next-door Pancake Chef restaurant caused CAP Acquisitions, LLC to downsize its original plans by over 13% in order to relocate the parking required by the pre-existing easement.
With the Council’s final approval, CAP Acquisitions, LLC will close on the property on May 21 and begin demolition of the existing structures and grading of the property the following week. As part of the redevelopment of the property, site wide improvements to the water, sewer, and stormwater facilities located on both parcels of the property will be made, in addition to internal roadway improvements that connects the two properties. The Polaris project is expected to be completed in approximately two years.
To learn more about the project, click here.