Mt. Si Senior Center to buy Cascade Park Apartments to preserve affordable senior housing

A full house was assembled at Mt. Si Senior Center Sept. 27th to hear about the future of Cascade Park Apartments and affordable housing for senior citizens in the Upper Snoqualmie Valley. What they heard from the senior center’s Executive Director Susan Kingsbury-Comeau is that the future is bright, for now.

The senior center intends to purchase – and improve – 28 units of low-income and senior housing in the Cascade Park Apartments building. The center has received help from affordable housing professionals, the support of local elected officials, and is hoping to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and King County to make the purchase possible.

According to a press release from the Mt. Si Senior Center, the North Bend City Council, North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert have all indicated support for the purchase.

“It is of monumental importance to protect Cascade Park Apartments to keep it affordable, as these housing units represent half of the affordable senior housing in the Valley,” said Mayor Hearing.

The apartment building, constructed in the 1980’s with USDA funds for rural development, went up for sale in December, 2017. Per the release, senior center leadership recognized the importance of the opportunity. Additionally, Mt. Si Senior Center is already experienced in affordable housing, as the organization developed and owns Sno Ridge Apartments, also located in North Bend

“Between Cascade Park and Sno Ridge Apartments, there are 67 units of affordable senior-only housing in all of Snoqualmie Valley. From North Bend to Duvall, that’s it, 67 units,” Kingsbury-Comeau told the group gathered for lunch.

In contrast, she estimated the number of people in that same area who are in need of low-income senior housing at 350 or more. The waitlist for seniors to get into one of these apartments averages over 24 months.

To preserve the low-income housing, the senior center had to make an acceptable offer, which it did with the assistance of the King County Housing Authority and the support of elected officials.

“We have a signed purchase and sales agreement with the owners and have roughly two years to raise the purchase price of $4.475 million, plus rehabilitation costs,” said Kingsbury-Comeau. The agreement designates a 2020 closing date.

In all, Kingsbury-Comeau estimated the center would need to raise closer to $6 million, to cover related purchase costs, predevelopment costs and building maintenance and rehabilitation needs. She anticipated the funding would come from a combination of private and public sources. Current residents will not be displaced and rents are likely to be subsidized with federal help, so that no one will pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.  Services for residents will be available at the senior center.

The purchase, Kingsbury-Comeau said, “is one of the biggest things we’ve done as a senior center… It’s going to take time, it’s going to be hard, but we’ll get it done.”

For more information about the Mt. Si Senior Center and its programs, visit www.mtsiseniorcenter.org.

 

 

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