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SEATTLE-Construction is slated to begin this week on the $25.8 million Welch Plaza, a three-building, 162-unit apartment complex in the Central Area Urban Neighborhood. The complex on South Jackson Street will be the first large mixed-income housing project built in the area in the last three decades.

A joint development between Lorig Associates, LLC and the Central Area Development Association (CADA), the project will create apartments in three buildings, over two levels of underground parking. It will also include 18,000 sf of ground-floor commercial space. Potential tenants include CADA, a daycare, a bank branch and a physical therapy clinic.

The project dates back to 1999, when CADA entered into a contract to purchase a portion of the land from the City of Seattle under its Urban Renewal Act. Shortly thereafter the project expanded to include the land under the Welch Hardware Store, via a long-term ground lease with the descendants of the Welch Family.

Construction financing was provided by Bank of America and private equity investments totaling $23.5 million. The City of Seattle provided $2.3 million in additional financing via low interest loans and grants through the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Housing.

The goal of the project is to create the first new major market-rate apartment housing in the heart of the Central Area, while still providing for economic development. The project is viewed as a step in the revitalization of theneighborhood.

In addition to the market-rate housing, 34 of the apartments will be affordable for families with incomes less than 80% of the median level, while seven apartments will be affordable at the 50% of median income level.

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