Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Burien's Very Excellent Deal

Wow. Lora Lake has been saved. Burien, a city where 81 percent of the housing stock is affordable to low-income families, as opposed to the the 46 percent King County average, will now have 162 more units of housing for moderate and low-income families. At some point, Seattle housing and homeless activists stopped beating up on Burien for being a bunch of poor-people-hating Troglodytes for having the audacity to follow their own hard won development plan and let the negotiators from King County do their thing.

And Burien got themselves what looks to be a pretty kick-ass deal.

King County Housing Authority will buy the Lora Lake development for an undisclosed fair market value. The County will also purchase two properties south of Lora Lake for development consistent with both Burien's comprehensive plan and a residential Lora Lake. The price there is, again, undisclosed. With another million tossed in as sweetener to support and expedite Burien's Transit Oriented Development project, gentlemen, we have a deal. Last August, the offer on the table from the county was $18 million. It'll be interesting to see where things landed.

There's still some final details to be worked out, but it looks like concerns on all sides were met. Renovations will be completed in time for an April 2008 move-in date for low and moderate income families. Nice work.

Given affordability trends in Seattle, we'll need all the outlying housing we can get. Less than an hour away, even in traffic, Burien's starting to look pretty good.

Maybe now we can bring our focus a little closer to home. Nick Licata's push for $75,000 in this year's budget to fund movement toward a rental housing inspection program, for example, is coming under intense fire from predictable quarters. I look forward to seeing the heavy hitters go to bat against the landlord lobby to score a real win for poor renters. The City Council, by the way, needs to hear your support for this.

1 comment:

Bill said...

There is a lesson in the whole Burien-Port of Seattle exercise. It is this: It all started from the ground up. An occupation in the middle of the night by members of S.H.A.R.E./W.H.E.E.L. truly notched it up (as Emirel would say). The faith community helped that night with logistics and carrying signs in the dark, but be clear, it was the homeless themselves who carried the day. There was literally no press coverage, but more than 14 police vehicles from various jurisdictions showed up, leaving them to draw lots to see who'd carry the trespassers who they outnumbered (must be them thar Homeland Security funds at work!). So I'd say it is time for Real Change to figuratively, in a coming issue, raise a toast to these folks, do an article, THANK THEM,...... tell the world the story of that midnight raid (well, it was more like 3 a.m.)