Seattle Fire Station 6 — affordable housing and capacity with Africatown

Office of Economic Development hired FIX to help Africatown and BCIA realize their vision within the retired city property.

Leveraging a retired city asset for equitable community development
The city of Seattle owns over 200 surplus, underutilized properties many of which could become viable community-owned assets or affordable housing opportunities.  Seattle Office of Policy and Community Development drafted the Equitable Development Initiative as part of the 2035 Plan, addressing growing development inequity.  With funding from the Mayor’s office, this initiative in part enables the divestment of underutilized properties to qualifying community organizations to create more equitable ownership, offset displacement and establish more diverse socio-economic growth patterns.

Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative is a long term commitment to invest in communities of different races, ethnic backgrounds, and incomes. Equitable development is a way to create vibrant, healthy communities through public and private investments in neighborhoods that the private market has not sustained.  — Seattle’s RSJI Department

Fire Station 6 is a 1931 landmark structure requiring significant seismic and system upgrades.  It is in the heart of the Central Area and is the site for a proposal by Black Community Impact Alliance (BCIA) and Africatown to convert it 31 units of affordable housing over a 7,500 SF innovation center for the African American community.  The proposal is named after William Grose, one of the earliest black settlers of Seattle whose farm helped spur an enclave of African American middle class.  The BCIA and Africatown proposal aims to increase long-term stability for African American youth through housing and small business capacity building.   With the approval from the Mayor, the Office of Economic Development provided the funds for a feasibility study for the proposal in 2016.

FIX’s Role
The OED hired FIX to project manage the feasibility study and co-develop a business plan for redevelopment with BCIA and Africatown.  The project included technical analysis of the building as well as program development, pro forma and operating business model for the innovation center and affordable housing.  See our post on our work on the William Grose business here.

ClientSeattle Office of Economic Development
Size41,000 SF
Location23rd & Yesler, Seattle
ProgramOffice & 31 units of affordable housing
RoleProject Management
Development strategy & pro forma
Operating business modeling
Community engagement & facilitation
ImpactHousing: 30 units of affordable housing at 60% AMI.
Opportunity: creation of a skills training center for people of color.