Mayor Durkan Transmits Legislation to Create New Affordable, Livable Community at Magnolia’s Ft. Lawton

Plan would create new affordable homes, preserve park space in a high opportunity area of our growing City  

Seattle (April 17, 2019) – To help address Seattle’s housing and affordability crisis and advance a vision for a new affordable, livable community at Ft. Lawton in Magnolia, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan transmitted to City Council the Redevelopment Plan for approximately 34 acres at Ft. Lawton.  

The legislation will bring mixed-income affordable housing, parks, and recreational space. It would create permanent supportive housing for seniors, apartments for low-wage working individuals and families, and home-ownership opportunities. Over 60 percent of the land at the Ft. Lawton site will be used for park and park-related uses, with preservation of existing natural areas that support wildlife habitat. 

Mayor Durkan released her draft plan for redevelopment on February 4. Once enacted, the legislation will allow the City of Seattle to formally acquire and develop the property. 

“We must continue to act urgently to address our affordability and housing crisis. This plan builds on our commitment to create hundreds of more affordable homes while ensuring that our neighborhoods can be vibrant, livable spaces today and for the next generation,” said Mayor Durkan. “After more than a decade of deep community engagement, we finally move forward to use our public land for hundreds of affordable homes, surrounded by parks and recreation space. As we move forward on the development of this critical public space, we will continue to engage the community to ensure we stay true to this vision.” 

“For fourteen years we have argued and litigated over the preferred use of publicly owned land immediately next to our beloved Discovery Park,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia)  After nearly 100 years in military service, the asphalted and abandoned area known as Fort Lawton was declared surplus property by the federal government. Thanks to Magnolia neighbors and the Office of Housing, we have written and revised plans to address two critical issues:  building more housing for families and seniors and creating more active recreation space. We have struck a deal with Seattle Public Schools to preserve land for their sports purposes too. Let’s stop debating and start building!” 

“The Fort Lawton Redevelopment Plan is a unique opportunity to create a variety of affordable housing options and services for our neighbors who need them, along with ample open space and parks for recreation—and to obtain much of the land at no cost to the City. This plan is about more than just buildings or structures: it will enable us, along with our trusted partners, to create homes and a community for our elders, for families, and for individuals struggling to make ends meet in Seattle’s current housing market,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of Council’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee. “As Seattle continues to struggle with rising housing costs, we should be seizing every opportunity to create affordable homes on land owned by the public. I look forward to hearing feedback from the community as we advance this long-awaited plan in my committee this spring.”  

“As an organization and people with a historic connection to Ft. Lawton, we are excited to be a partner with Catholic Housing Services to support housing and services for homeless seniors at this site.” said Michael Tulee, Executive Director at United Indians of All Tribes. 

“The Habitat for Humanity model, where families participate in the construction of their home and community, will bring up to 52 permanently affordable home ownership opportunities to Ft. Lawton,” said Brett D’Antonio, CEO of Habitat for Humanity. “We know the chance to purchase a safe, stable affordable home can be a life changing opportunity.” 

“For ten years we have been committed to our partnership with the City of Seattle to bring affordable homes to the Magnolia neighborhood,” said Rob Van Tassell, Vice President for Housing and Community Development Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington. “We are encouraged that the redevelopment plan for Ft. Lawton will now be considered by City Council.”  

Redevelopment Plan Details 

Mixed-income affordable housing:   

Home Type    Sponsor    Homes    Incomes Served   
Permanent Supportive Housing for Seniors    Catholic Housing Services of Western WA and United Indians of All Tribes    85 homes    30% and below Area Median Income   
Rental Apartments for low-income individuals and families    Catholic Housing Services of Western WA    Approximately 100 homes, including 2 and 3-bedroom family sized apartments    Up to 60% of Area Median Income   
Self-help Homeownership    Habitat for Humanity    Up to 52 homes    Up to 80% of Area Median Income   

Parks and Park Related:   

Passive recreation      13 acres   
Active recreation with opportunity for acquisition by Seattle Public Schools      6 acres   
Forest land incorporated into Discovery Park      4-5 acres   
Reuse of existing structure as park maintenance facility