This article originally ran in the South Seattle Emerald on June 9, 2021.
The Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS) have had a vision for the Filipino Community Village (FCV) for over 10 years and have been the drivers steering the development to final fruition this summer. Four years ago, a partnership between Beacon Development Group and the FCS helped speed up the dream of providing 95 affordable apartment homes for low-income seniors in the local South Seattle area. Beacon Development Group is an affordable housing consulting firm that works with nonprofits and housing authorities and is a subsidiary of HumanGood.
“The members of the Filipino Community of Seattle have worked tirelessly to advocate for this project with elected officials at the state and local levels to stress the importance of this project and its impact not only for the Filipino community but South Seattle/Rainier Valley as a whole,” FCS Executive Director Agnes Navarro said.
Financing, design, permitting, and pre-construction planning for the FCV took place from 2017 to 2019. The funding for the five-story FCV came from multiple public and private funding sources. The housing portion of the development includes funding from the City of Seattle Office of Housing, King County Housing and Community Development, State Housing Trust Fund, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and tax-exempt bonds issued by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The FCV community totaled a budget of just over $36 million for development which included public and private grants.
FCS selected Rolluda Architects several years ago to help create the design of the FCV. Alex Rolluda, principal architect, a local Filipino community member, has been highly involved with events at the Filipino Community Center. The group engaged with their own FCS members for residential as well as the nonresidential support for the project. This includes an Innovation Learning Center on the first floor of the building which will offer youth in the local community computer courses, a robotics program and a science-technology-engineering-arts-math (STEAM) program. A portion of the apartment units will be set aside for those disabilities.
“FCS has a deep connection to the community and holds an important community asset in the Filipino Community Center,” the FCS said.
As for construction, several general contractors in the local area showed interest in helping develop the FCV, but Marpac Construction was chosen as the best fit for the project. Construction on the FCV began in December 2019 and will begin opening for occupancy sometime later this month or July according to Edie Burge, communications manager at HumanGood.
The Filipino Community Village project is open to all seniors 55+ who meet the income qualification requirements. People could sign up on FCS’s interest list beginning in April 2020 and applications became available in Fall 2020. The rents for the units were established based on the rent limits set by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission for low-income housing tax credits. In the case of FCV, there are units designated for people earning 30%, 50%, and 60% of King County area median income.
“It is important to have elders be able to stay living in the community they feel familiar with. It creates a more stable environment for them, somewhere they are familiar with and know people. It also allows younger community members to benefit from their knowledge and encourages intergenerational relationships,” Navarro said.
The project was challenged to stay on schedule and within budget due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disrupted supply chains, lack of availability of materials in the time frame needed, and increased cost of materials caused difficulties.
“Despite all of these challenges, the project has not been significantly delayed which is a testament to the strong contractor, architect, and owner team,” the Beacon Development Group said.
The Beacon Development Group is currently working with the Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) on a similar project that will begin construction soon.
Filipino Community Village will be opening August 26, 2021. Those interested in leasing a unit at the FCV can call (206)-971-1227 for more information.