SEATTLE, WA-By a 10-2 vote, the King County council recently decided to sell two surplus buildings in Pioneer Square to a partnership that will preserve the buildings as affordable housing and workspace for the city’s arts community.

Area artists have been utilizing affordable space in Pioneer Square for a very long time. But over the past five years, development and redevelopment in the area has displaced close to 200 artists from their studios, says King County Executive Ron Sims. The sale and renovation of the Tashiro and Kaplan buildings means another affordable residential and workspace for artists and their families won’t be lost. The project will also include 20,000 sf of arts-related commercial space to help cover costs and promote residents’ artworks.

“Pioneer Square is a community that has been defined by the presence of artists and arts-related businesses,” says Sims. On the same day as the Tashiro-Kaplan vote, King County released its annual Affordable Housing Bulletin, which states a Seattle household needs to earn 175 percent of the median income here to afford the area’s averaged priced home of $310,000.

The Tashiro-Kaplan project, located at the corners of Third Avenue South and South Washington Street in the Pioneer Square Preservation District, will be a joint venture between the Pioneer Square Community Development Organization, a Seattle nonprofit organization for the creation of housing and community development, and Artspace Projects Inc. of Minneapolis, a national developer known for its restoration of historic properties for affordable housing for artists.

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