SEATTLE - A new project offering affordable housing and work space for local artists and their families will break ground near the Mt. Baker Link light rail station in Rainier Valley next week, according to the developer, Artspace.
Sound Transit sold the vacant lot, near the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, to Artspace following a public request for proposals three years ago.
Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit developer, now plans to move forward with the Mt. Baker Station Lofts, a 57-unit affordable live/work complex with commercial space on the ground level.
"This is a project that will jump start an urban village around a transit site," says Cathryn Vandenbrink, vice president of properties for Artspace. "Right now this area is car oriented and we are charged with bringing a pedestrian feel here. We are very excited about the transformation planned in this neighbor."
The Mt. Baker Station Lofts is Artspace's third project in Seattle. The developer created the Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts in Pioneer Square in 2004 and the Hiawatha Lofts in the Central District four years later.
Between all three projects, Vandenbrink says they have a waiting list of nearly 1,000 people wanting to move into their properties.
The Rainier Valley development will be Artspace's first transit-oriented project. Floor plans for the Mt. Baker Station Lofts include a community room and 12 commercial spaces for nonprofits and creative businesses on the ground level.
Vandenbrink says when they open in late Spring 2014 all of their residential and commercial spaces will be fully leased.