Mayor Durkan Signs Legislation Advancing Vision of an Affordable, Livable Community for Fort Lawton in Magnolia

Legislation Authorizes the Acquisition of 34 Acres of Public Land and Development of 238 Affordable Housing Units, Including Opportunities for Homeownership; and Parks and Recreation Space

Seattle (June 18, 2019) – In her continued effort to address our city’s affordability and housing crisis, today Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, signed into law a vision for a more livable, affordable community at Fort Lawton Army Reserve in the Magnolia neighborhood.  

The legislation rezones nearly a third of the 34-acre property from single-family to multi-family adding more affordable housing in a high-opportunity neighborhood. The redevelopment will further fair housing choices by adding up to 238 units of mixed-income affordable housing including supportive housing for seniors and veterans, apartments for low-income households, and opportunities for homeownership. Much of the Fort Lawton site will be set aside for parks and open recreational uses.  

“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. “We stand on the shoulders of the efforts not just of the last 15 years, but of all those who have demanded that Seattle is more accessible, more welcoming, and more equitable. There should be no neighborhood in Seattle that people can’t live, and today we’re one step closer to making that vision real.” 

“For years I have supported the creation of affordable housing at Fort Lawton, and I’m proud to stand with the community and planners today who made the dreams of many possible,” said Sally Bagshaw (District 7).  “Public land can and should serve the public good. We’ve found ways to work with the Federal Government to obtain 34 acres changing Army land to land for people.  That’s a win for our entire community, not just those who will reside in the housing offered there.  A good portion of Fort Lawton is already asphalted and given that nearly 83 percent of Magnolia is zoned for single-family residences, this is an optimal way to take full advantage of the city’s affordable housing stock.” 

“The plan to create 237 new affordable homes at Fort Lawton is the result of fifteen years of community engagement, planning, and advocacy. With housing costs soaring and displacement at crisis levels, the need for these homes has never been greater,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). “The Fort Lawton plan will further fair housing, create greater equity, and advance opportunity by opening access to a high-cost area of the city that has previously been largely out of reach to low-income people and communities of color. Today, we celebrate as we move forward on an inclusive vision for the Fort Lawton site that will turn former military land into affordable homes for our military veterans, aging seniors, low-income families, and our neighbors who struggle with access to homeownership.” 

“Our commitment to create affordable homes at Fort Lawton in partnership with the City of Seattle has now spanned over ten years,” said Flo Beaumon, Associate Director at Catholic Community Services of Western Washington. “We are thrilled to see Mayor Durkan sign legislation to bring homes for seniors, including veterans, and for low-wage workers to the Magnolia neighborhood.”  

“This legislation signed today will bring up to 52 families the opportunity to own a home at Fort Lawton and the homes will remain affordable permanently,” said Brett D’Antonio, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle and King County. “Each of the home buyers will participate in the construction of their home and their community at Fort Lawton, according to the Habitat for Humanity home ownership model.” 

“We have a historic connection as an organization and a people to this site at Ft. Lawton.” said Michael Tulee, Executive Director at United Indians of All Tribes. “It is exciting to see the opportunity to partner with Catholic Community Services to support housing and services come to fruition with the signing of this legislation.”  

“Parks and open space provide abundant health, wellness, and community-building benefits to all.  This is particularly true for residents with the least access to resources. The proximity of this housing to Discovery Park, in addition to the future parks and open space to be developed at Fort Lawton, is an important aspect of this new affordable housing community,” said Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. 

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