Expansion of Leschi House announced

Written by on February 6, 2013 in Seattle Housing Authority - No comments

By Sven Koehler
Seattle Housing Authority
There is a double dose of good news for residents of Leschi House and for the people on the long waiting list who would like to move there. The popular Seattle Senior Housing Program building in the Little Saigon neighborhood will be thoroughly renovated inside and outside. Plus, the 34-unit apartment building will more than double in size with a new wing.
The building’s popularity has made it all the more frustrating that water damage from rain leaking into the interior has left some of the apartments un-rentable, in addition to being a burden on residents, according to Senior Property Manager Bruce Garberding.
The good news is that funding for the $17 million project was finally secured. On Jan. 31, a community meeting was planned to explain to residents how the project will finally move forward.
Much like the exterior renovations at other SSHP buildings in recent years, the building will be wrapped in scaffolding while a new, waterproof façade is installed. The architect for those successful projects is the same, GGLO of Seattle. This renovation also includes a newly landscaped patio with planting beds and a rain garden on the sunny west side of the building, overlooking Elliot Bay.
At the same time, a brand new wing of the building will be constructed. There will be 35 new apartments in the six-story structure, with a connection to the existing building on the second, third and fourth floors. Five new wheelchair accessible units will be created.
There will be a new elevator that serves residents in both the existing and new part of the building, and the laundry facilities will double. Residents emphasized the importance of this last point to planners of the project at a meeting in July, and it was included in the designs.
The site of the new wing is the parking lot to the north of the existing building, owned by the Seattle Indian Health Board. Their parking will be maintained in a garage on the ground floor of the new building. Resident parking in front of the existing building will also still be available.
The renovation plans are being crafted so residents can keep living at Leschi House during construction, if they wish. The project includes extensive remodeling inside the 34 existing apartments. Residents may move temporarily to other apartments within the building while the interiors are renewed, explained Project Manager Lori Stehlik.
Stehlik has experience with renovations in occupied buildings with her work on the homeWorks projects. She understands the special planning required to reduce the impact of construction on residents as much as possible.
Bidding for a contractor to undertake the project has just begun, and more information about the specifics of the project phasing will be available closer to the start of construction this summer.

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