Red Cedar was developed as part of the transformation of Yesler Terrace, a 30-acre (12 ha) site in the very center of Seattle. Yesler Terrace, the city’s first subsidized housing complex and the nation’s first racially integrated public housing project, was originally developed by the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) in the early 1940s. The current transformation is taking Yesler Terrace from having 561 worn-out public housing units to an exciting new urban mixed-income neighborhood of about 4,500 units.
The 119-unit Red Cedar building was named to honor the Western Red Cedar tree that has provided bark for clothing, canoes, and other Pacific Northwest native uses for centuries. All apartments at Red Cedar are affordable to residents earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), while 80 of those 119 units are further restricted to be available for residents earning no more than 30 percent of the AMI. Designed to accommodate large families, the building includes 20 one-bedroom, 67 two-bedroom, 27 three-bedroom, and five four-bedroom units.
Enclosed by the building’s triangular shape is a large courtyard that hosts a playground and benches. At one of the building’s corners where three busy streets intersect, a large community room is available to both residents and members of the public. The community room features a full kitchen and restrooms, and has views of Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains toward the southwest. The building also includes space for social services, tutoring and job training, as well as the SHA’s Yesler Terrace management office and the offices of the Yesler Terrace Owners Association. Red Cedar’s most visible corner at Broadway and Fir has become Yesler’s new Community Engagement Hub, with offices for the community builder and education specialist, meeting space, and an interior play area for children.
Served by a streetcar and bus lines and connected to regional light rail, Red Cedar is ideally located for residents interested in a small carbon footprint and car-free living. In fact, about 25 percent of all of Seattle’s jobs are within a walkable one-mile (1.6 km) radius of the building.
Location: Seattle, Washington
Developer: Seattle Housing Authority
Owner: 888 E Fir LLLP
Development partners: SRG Parntership and the City of Seattle