King County Housing Authority acquires Patricia Harris Manor in Redmond

As part of a statewide initiative to preserve federally subsidized rental housing, the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) recently completed the purchase of four Section 8 “expiring use” properties in King County, including Patricia Harris Manor, a 41-unit complex that houses very low-income seniors in Redmond.

The other properties acquired by KCHA are Bellevue Manor in Bellevue (66 units of senior housing), Northwood Square in Auburn (24 units of family housing) and Vashon Terrace on Vashon Island (16 units of family housing). Together, the four properties serve 107 seniors and 40 families with children.

“Preserving existing subsidized housing is the most cost-effective way to maintain the supply of affordable rental apartments,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the KCHA. “Thanks to the support of King County, we have been able to protect 147 low-income households, most of whom are frail seniors, from being forced from their homes — and at the same time, have preserved these crucial local housing resources for the long term.”  The preservation of these complexes is important because of the populations they serve, their highly desirable locations and the federal funding they leverage.

The Section 8 contract preserved through the acquisition of Patricia Harris Manor provides about $370,000 in annual rent subsidies, keeping this housing affordable to low-income seniors.

Eighty-five percent of current residents are 70 or more years old; one resident is over 90. Their average annual household income is approximately $10,000. Demand for housing affordable to low-income seniors greatly surpasses the supply and the need is growing. In King County, it is expected that the number of seniors living in poverty will increase to 53,793 in 2025, up from 23,617 in 2008.

The complex is well-sited, located close to downtown Redmond, and within easy walking distance of shopping, mass transit and community facilities.

King County is assisting in the acquisition through the provision of $1 million to fund fire safety and handicapped accessibility repairs and upgrades for all four complexes.   “I’m very pleased that King County could assist in ensuring that the Patricia Harris Manor continues to be available for housing for seniors ranging from 70-plus to 96 years old,” said King County Council member Kathy Lambert. “Our senior population continues to expand and preserving this property for senior housing is a wise and strategic investment of taxpayer funds.”

Between 1965 and 1990, the federal government subsidized private developers to build and operate rental housing for low-income families as well as disabled and elderly households living on fixed incomes. These developers executed long-term rental subsidy agreements under the Section 8 program. The initial Section 8 contract on Patricia Harris Manor has already expired; a subsequent short-term contract renewal expires on Dec.1, 2015. Given the excellent location of the property, there is little doubt that had a private developer acquired this site, Patricia Harris Manor would have been demolished or redeveloped as condominiums or high-end rentals. The current owner, who was also the initial developer and long-term owner of the property, worked with the housing authority to assure the preservation of these apartments as affordable housing.

The entire portfolio of nine subsidized properties was put on the market as an “all or none sale” by the seller. KCHA is acting as lead purchaser on behalf of four other local housing authorities in preserving the five properties situated outside of King County.  The combined purchase price for the portfolio is $28.7 million. The housing authority is using tax-exempt debt to finance the purchase. These properties will continue to be managed by Westwood Management, the current property manager of the complexes.


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