Willowcrest Groundbreaking November 2019
Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Today, Homestead Community Land Trust (Homestead) begins work on Willowcrest, King County’s first multi-unit homeownership project designed to be affordable to low- and moderate-income households while also reducing utilities costs and climate impacts through ultra-high energy efficiency and the elimination of fossil fuels. Built on land provided by the Renton Housing Authority in the Sunset neighborhood in northeast Renton, the 12 three- and four-bedroom townhomes will achieve net zero energy usage through highly energy-efficient systems and construction and the use of solar panels for onsite energy generation.
Willowcrest homes will be affordable to households with incomes considered to be low or moderately low by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the King County area. The homes will be priced below $315,000. Through one-time investments that subsidize the initial price of the homes and partnerships with buyers, Homestead will keep Willowcrest homes affordable to all subsequent income-qualified buyers permanently. Each home may be resold up to seven times over a 50- year period, giving multiple families the social, health and financial benefits of an affordable, fixed housing payment in a quality home.
“With Willowcrest – and an upcoming development in Tukwila – Homestead is building homeownership demonstration projects with deep green standards so that we can quantify their benefits for affordability and the environment,” said Kathleen Hosfeld, Executive Director, Homestead. “Our hope is to create a replicable model and build the case for philanthropic and public investment in deeper green building standards for affordable homeownership in King County.”
Willowcrest is also the first affordable homeownership project in King County to benefit from housing agency contributions of land.
“For the Housing Authority, including affordable homes for sale to families in our community is an important means by which the agency can address the current housing crisis,” said Mark Gropper, Executive Director, Renton Housing Authority.
As part of a larger City of Renton transformation plan for the Sunset neighborhood, the City awarded the project $332,000, its largest affordable housing grant to date, to pay for some of the energy efficiency and green-building features of the project.
“Providing more housing options for our low-income residents has always been our goal,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “The Willowcrest project provides that and continues our investment in redeveloping not only the Sunset area but also our commitment to protecting our natural resources.”
Willowcrest is also an example of Transit Oriented Development, which builds homes in proximity to high-capacity public transit services.
“King County invested $500,000 in Transit Oriented Development funds to help construct Willowcrest, which is a leading example of how we can meet our equity, mobility, and sustainability goals,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This project is part of King County’s commitment to advance at least ten Zero Energy certified projects by 2020. We are on track to surpass the goal, with more than a dozen diverse projects showing that we can tackle climate pollution, reduce utility bills, and bring the benefits of green building to residents across the region.”
Homestead is a non-profit community ownership organization founded in 1992 with over 200 permanently affordable homes in trust. It prioritizes new developments in neighborhoods at risk of displacement due to rising housing costs throughout the county. Affordable homeownership fills a crucial gap (also known as “the missing middle”) in the affordable housing spectrum, prevents further displacement of modest-income households and allows homeowners to build wealth safely.
Homestead will hold informational events and homebuyer preparedness workshops for income-qualified area residents starting in 2020. Information about applying to the Homestead program is available on the website at www.homesteadclt.org/become-a-homeowner.