Affordable Senior Housing Project, Vantage Point, Breaks Ground

King County Housing Authority broke ground Friday on the $18 million Vantage Point apartment complex in Renton’s North Benson neighborhood.

The 77-unit project is being built on a vacant site owned by KCHA at 17901 105th Place S.E. It will house low-income seniors and people with disabilities when it opens in late 2015.

Designed by Tonkin Architecture, the complex has two four-story wood-frame wings connected by a central common space. To encourage socialization and activities, Vantage Point will have spaces for gatherings and outdoor activities, as well as gently sloped walking paths and community gardens in raised beds.

The design team is KPFF Consulting Engineers, Tres West Engineers, I.L. Gross Structural Engineers, GeoDesign and Nakano Associates as the landscape architect.

KCHA says the site is well-suited for seniors, with Fred Meyer and other businesses across the street; a fire station, bus stops and medical clinic nearby; and Valley Medical Center less than a mile away.

Vantage Point residents will come from KCHA’s wait list for subsidized housing. There are more than 2,700 seniors on the list, and the wait is five or six years. People on the list have an average annual income of $11,400.

KCHA says the market rate for an average one-bedroom apartment in Renton is $976 per month. Rents at Vantage Point will be about $200 per month.

By 2025, one in four King County residents are projected to be 65 or older, and the number of low-income senior households will have grown to about 32,000. KCHA says more than 10,000 additional units of housing for low-income seniors will be need by 2025.

“There is a growing crisis in affordable housing for seniors,” said Stephen Norman, KCHA executive director, in a release. “The recent recession has changed the calculus for many older adults. Sadly, there are far more seniors living at the poverty level in the county than there are housing units they can afford. Without more projects like Vantage Point, we will begin to see more and more elderly having to choose between buying food and paying the rent, or in some cases, actually being out on the streets.”

Funding for Vantage Point comes from public and private sources, including $15.5 million in equity from RBC and Nationwide through federal low-income housing tax credits. Rent subsidies will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.