Solis – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2022 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Solis (Seattle, WA).
The Liberty Bank Building is a mixed-use affordable housing development in Seattle’s Central District with 115 affordable homes. The project is located on the site of the former Liberty Bank, the first Black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest, and was developed through a groundbreaking partnership between Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT), the Black Community Impact Alliance (BCIA), Community Roots Housing (formerly Capitol Hill Housing), and Byrd Barr Place.
This project honors a rich cultural history while maximizing community empowerment to address gentrification and displacement. Project design was informed by recommendations from the project advisory board, which included descendants of Liberty Bank founders and a cross-section of neighborhood leadership, as well as public input from the community. Over 30% of the construction budget was awarded to Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (WMBEs), 16% of which went to Black-owned subcontractors. Project partners also commissioned eight local African American artists to create and install permanent artwork that reflects the cultural history of the Central District and honors the legacy of Liberty Bank.
Using culturally responsive affirmative marketing, the Liberty Bank Building ultimately achieved residential and commercial occupancy goals; partners furthermore ensured that the building’s commercial space prioritized affordability for small minority businesses, particularly longtime businesses in immediate danger of displacement or closure. By working closely with prospective Liberty Bank tenants on business planning and by charging below-market commercial rent, Community Roots has signed leases with three small Black-owned enterprises to occupy the ground floor space.