Seattle Housing Authority has begun leasing apartments in the new Hoa Mai Gardens apartment building. Located between the Yesler Community Center and the Yesler Hillclimb, this building contains 111 apartments ranging in size from one- to four-bedroom units. Among these will be three large apartments suitable for home daycare businesses. “We expect that all of them will be filled with daycare programs operated by Yesler residents,” notes Stephanie VanDyke, SHA’s development director.
Seventy of the units at Hoa Mai will be replacement units for original low-income housing at Yesler. They will serve tenants with incomes at or below 30 percent of Area Median Income. The other 41 apartments will serve tenants with incomes at or below 60 percent of AMI. People currently working on First Hill have expressed keen interest in living here.
One of the spaces on the ground floor will be occupied by the Bureau of Fearless Ideas, a nonprofit writing and communication center that will work with Seattle University and other nonprofits to boost student success. “We are excited to add this organization to the mix here,” notes Van Dyke, “Their work is very creative and they are really good at engaging kids in interactive ways that address literacy.”
Recently, 77 students from Aki Kurose Middle School toured Hoa Mai Gardens as part of an experiential learning opportunity. They are all participants in a school-based mentoring program designed for African-American/Black and Latinx students. A third of the students are Seattle Housing Authority residents.
Students filled out a scavenger hunt quiz as they toured the building and met with SHA construction managers. Girls on the tour listened attentively as Development Project Coordinator Lori Stehlik talked of being a woman in the construction field and demonstrated how to persevere through challenging times and show initiative.
SHA will announce plans in the near future for a Hoa Mai Gardens grand opening and Yesler community celebration. Meanwhile, construction has started on Red Cedar, located near the Epstein Opportunity Center in the northwest part of the neighborhood. It will provide 119 new apartment. Construction on the new central park is underway, with completion expected next summer. The new park will contain a soccer pitch, a water feature and a half-court basketball area. “We are reaching out to neighborhood partners as construction is underway on the park,” said Van Dyke. “We hope to bring them in to sponsor activities in the park that will serve the broader neighborhood.”