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Growth in Edmonds

HASCO gets its 4.4-acre property in Edmonds after all

Single-family now, but up to 4 floors may be part of the plan

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Seven months after its initial $8.9 million offer for 4.4 acres of land in Edmonds called “Hadley’s Acres" was outbid, the Housing Authority of Snohomish County (HASCO) has announced that it has successfully acquired the property after the previous applicant bowed out

“I am not sure who the previous high bidder was or why they decided to not move forward,” said HASCO CEO Duane Leonard.

“I was contacted again by the listing broker (Adam Cobb of Windermere Real Estate), who let me know the project was back on the market if HASCO was still interested, which we were, and this time around our bid was accepted.”

At the owner’s request, the transaction is not expected to close until August.

The property is south of Edmonds-Woodway High School, just east of 80th Avenue West and between 218th and 220th streets southwest.

The original asking price was $8,999,950, and HASCO’s offer of $8.4 million was not enough. This time, the asking price was higher: $10 million.

Leonard said the price was split between three purchase and sale agreements, as requested by the seller.

Leonard said six homes are on the site, but two are uninhabited. 

“The other four are rented out," he said. "Our plan is to allow the current households to continue to rent. Once our plans are formulated and finalized, we will inform the households and engage with them about moving from the property.”

“Providing affordable housing solutions for the most vulnerable in Snohomish County is our highest priority. We do plan to engage with citizens about what they would like to see and what they would like HASCO to consider.”

He added that HASCO has no immediate plans to redevelop the site. 

“Although there are single-family homes on the site now, I believe the current zoning already allows multifamily up to three stories, so I am not sure there would be any need to pursue a rezone. There is multifamily along 218th Street already, which is the northern border of the property.”

To clarify, Edmonds’ zoning for the site is zoned single-family residential. That means 24 new houses would be the maximum number of units that could fit under current zoning, according to the City.

But that could change.

“It’s important to note,” said Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin, “that this area is subject to the Alternative B growth alternative – medical district expansion – that is currently being studied in the DEIS (draft environmental impact statement) for the Comprehensive Plan. This would enable multifamily up to three floors as a base allowance and up to four floors with a public benefit.”

Said Leonard: “The City is already considering some changes to zoning in that area, to be known as the ‘Medical District,’ because of its proximity to the hospital, but to be honest I am not up to speed yet on what those changes mean to this location. It is rather difficult to keep abreast of all the various changes to all the cities’ comprehensive plans and zoning changes.”

Leonard said it’s too early to say how tenants would be selected. Many of the restrictions or income limitations derive from the funding used to develop the site, and those funding sources are currently unknown, he added.

One thing is known, and that concerns property taxes.

“HASCO is a local government agency that serves an essential public purpose, and as such our property is exempt from property taxes,” said Leonard. “HASCO does pay permit fees and other costs of development, just as any other developer would. But often there are reductions of fees available for affordable housing development, but these also vary from city to city.”

HASCO in Edmonds

In May 2021, the City of Edmonds passed a resolution establishing HASCO as Edmonds' official housing agency, allowing the nonprofit to operate within city limits.

HASCO already owns three properties in Edmonds. Two are for seniors and persons with disabilities only. Olympic View has 45 units, while Sound View has 43. Those two properties, Olympic and Sound View, are subsidized with project-based vouchers and typically have more than 100 households on waiting lists.

The third property, the 120-unit Edmonds Highlands, is general "workforce" or "fair market" housing, with a legal requirement that at least 50% of the units be rented to households at 80% area median income or below.

Supporting HASCO’s project

Edmonds City Councilmember Susan Paine is a vocal supporter of affordable housing in the city.

“I’m very glad to see HASCO come into Edmonds with the purchase of a property of this size that has mature trees and enough space to provide trees and gardens for this sort of project,” she said.

“Currently, this property would need to be rezoned to allow HASCO multifamily housing. Our current redevelopment code restricts builders from the past practice of taking out every blade of grass and requires a detailed tree inventory and incentives for keeping trees.

“When trees do need to come out, there is a replacement requirement. Because there will be a time lag before HASCO can build, I hope that they have robust community engagement and outreach to hear from the neighbors.

Although pricing for units on the property is to be determined, some of HASCO’s housing is fair market.

“It always surprises me to hear about what rents are these days,” said Paine. “I’ve just taken a look at what’s available at Rents.com for Edmonds, and I hate to see that the $1,520 for a one-bedroom is the going rate at Edmonds Highlands, but the listings on that website show much higher rents.

“In my opinion, this is good for Edmonds in that HASCO provides housing for people and families, and they provide properties for seniors – (and) our most vulnerable population, veterans, and people with disabilities. Their programs and properties are well-run and provide housing options for people with limited incomes for many of their properties.”

Luke Distelhorst, a former Edmonds councilmember, is vice-chair of HASCO’s board of commissioners, appointed in 2022.

He pointed to a recent study from the state Lieutenant Governor’s Office about the dire need for more housing in general, and specifically for affordable housing.

“As Snohomish County's housing Authority, this is exactly what HASCO does,” said Distelhorst. “This property represents a major investment in Edmonds and southwest Snohomish County, an area PSRC noted has no subsidized housing. We have a great opportunity to add truly affordable housing to help meet the needs of our current and future residents. As someone who lives in this neighborhood, I'm so excited to build the vision and see how we can better serve the needs of our residents. 

“Every city needs to step up to meet our region's housing needs and I'm ecstatic to see HASCO making this investment in our community.”

HASCO, Edmonds

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