SHA's Letter to WCC on the Wedgewood Estates

The following letter was sent to the Wedgwood Community Council on June 20, 2001.

Seattle Housing Authority
120 Sixth Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109-5003
Tel: (206) 615-3300
FAX: (206) 615-3539
TDD: (800) 545-1833 ext. 589

June 20, 2001

Brian Swanson, President
Wedgwood Community Council
Seattle, WA 98115

Dear Brian:

On behalf of the Seattle Housing Authority, I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk with the trustees of the Wedgwood Community Council on June 18. This letter responds to the request by trustees that we put in writing our plans for Wedgewood Estates.

Although we are viewed primarily as a provider of housing for low-income residents, the Seattle Housing Authority is aggressively expanding our mission to include affordable and mixed-income housing that serves a broader range of incomes. We are purchasing Wedgewood Estates in order to preserve this unique development as affordable housing. The skyrocketing rents of the past five years have resulted in many of our children either being priced out of the Seattle rental market or forced to live in overcrowded or substandard housing.

Wedgewood Estates was particularly attractive to us because it is already made up of residents of various income levels, and we expect this to continue. No one will be asked to move out. As vacancies occur, we plan to maintain a mixed-income community very similar to the one that exists there now. We will also retain Pinnacle Realty Management Company, along with the current staff. Current occupancy policies will remain in effect.

Community members at your meeting expressed concern that we would let the property become run down and that we would convert it at some point to public housing. I assure you that this will not happen. We will continue to adhere to the high standards of maintenance and grounds keeping that Pinnacle has established. We will operate Wedgewood Estates as a mixed-income community, outside the portfolio of federally subsidized public housing that we operate.

To purchase Wedgewood Estates, we have a 35-year mortgage that is being financed entirely by revenue bonds. In order to meet this obligation, we much rely on a healthy revenue stream from the development. There is no federal subsidy available to convert it to low-income housing. Just like any commercial housing development, our operating policies will be debt-service driven.

By law, each Seattle Housing Authority complex must contain a majority of residents with incomes below 80 percent of the median income. For a four person household, this income level is around $52,000. There is no need for us to make any changes to current tenant mix to meet our legal requirements. New tenants will continue to apply at the Wedgewood Estates office and be accepted at the discretion of the management company.

We are committed to a seamless transition of building ownership that will serve the community well. Let me further assure you that as we discussed if in the future we plan to change management companies at Wedgewood Estates, we will consult with the community council ahead of time. Thank you again for your interest in this development and your support for maintaining affordable housing in our city.

Al Levine
Deputy Executive Director

See also June 4 letter.

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