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SEATTLE-Developer John Goodman’s Triad Development Inc. is 60% through its renovation and conversion of the historic OK Hotel in Downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square into an affordable apartment building that will include ground–and basement studio space for artists.

The $8 million development is scheduled for completion in April. Related Capital Company of New York provided debt and equity financing for the project.

George Petrie, who manages the asset for Goodman Real Estate Inc., tells GlobeSt.com that Triad acquired the 45,000-sf, 88-year-old brick building via a land lease from the Buttnick family in 2000, and subsequently acquired fee simple ownership. Excluding the well-known OK Hotel Café that operated on the ground level, the building has been vacant since 1967.

Petri says that originally Triad considered converting the building for use as a data center or a parking garage. After the 2001 Nisqually earthquake damaged the building and closed the bar, Triad began looking at what types of uses would complement the now necessary renovation of the property. Affordable housing is what the Triad team came up with.

Using historic and low-income housing tax credits to finance the project, Triad is in the throes of building out 44 affordable housing units that will rent for between $400 and $800 a month, and 20 artists’ work studios that will rent for about $9 per sf per year, which equates to between $100 and $300 per month, which includes lighting, electricity, data and a sink.

“The bottom line is we took a 100-year-old, earthquake-damaged urban building that had reached the physical end of its useful life and turned it into affordable housing and artist work areas, enhancing the fabric of one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle,” says Petrie. “With a full electrical, mechanical and seismic upgrade, it should now have another 100 years of useful life.”

Built in 1914, The OK Hotel was once the favorite stomping ground for longshoremen and other local workers before the hotel’s OK Hotel Cafe became a well-known center for local music and performance art. It played host to slam poetry and a wide array of concerts by the likes of Nirvana, Mother Love Bone and some of the city’s best experimental jazz artists. Its reputation was etched further into Seattle lore after the hotel became the setting of the coffee shop hangout for Matt Dillon and Bridget Fonda in the 1992 Cameron Crowe movie “Singles.”

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