Making Homes Affordable and Sustainable in Tacoma, Washington
Bay Terrace replaces dilapidated public housing with new, environmentally friendly affordable housing that reduces residents’ utility costs. Credit: Tacoma Housing Authority The Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) recently completed the first phase of Bay Terrace, a development that replaces dilapidated public housing units with townhomes, cottages, midrise apartments, and a community center. Located in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, the public housing units had fallen into disrepair during the 1990s and required major reinvestment. Bay Terrace has replaced the original 104 public housing units with 70 affordable units, and an additional 74 units are planned. Designed to be environmentally sustainable, two of the buildings received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and the third received LEED Silver certification. The goal of the development is to transform the neighborhood into a “community of high quality, healthy, and environmentally friendly homes to meet the needs of residents.
Bay TerraceTHA purchased the original development, scattered over four properties, from a private developer in 1976 and renamed it Hilltop Terrace. By the 1990s, the buildings were in need of reinvestment, and in 2002, THA received funding to rebuild and rehabilitate two of the four properties. This experience led THA to decide that redevelopment in the area should both spur private investment and implement the city’s policy to increase density.
In 2008, THA began the redevelopment of Hilltop Terrace’s remaining two properties. Named Bay Terrace, this project was split into two phases to make financing easier. The first phase was completed in August 2014, providing 70 units to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. The units consist of 26 one-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom, and 14 three-bedroom apartments; 4 units comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Steve Clair, a project manager at THA, the development increases the overall number of units on the site and is part of an effort to increase density in the downtown area. This phase consists of six residential buildings, including five low-rise buildings containing 16 units that received LEED Gold certification and a mid-rise building consisting of 54 units that received LEED Silver certification. Also helping Bay Terrace receive its LEED certifications was its location: approximately a half-mile from the Tacoma Link light rail system’s South 25th Street station, in a neighborhood with a Walk Score of 71.
With 144 units spread over two phases, Bay Terrace will exceed the number of affordable housing units in the original public housing development by 30 units. Credit: Tacoma Housing Authority
Bay Terrace was designed to reduce energy and water consumption, a consideration raised during planning meetings by residents, who are billed for utilities. Energy costs for the mid-rise apartment building are 24 percent less than those of a conventional building. Low-flow faucets, showers, and toilets reduce water demand, and the landscaping incorporates native and adaptive plants that are drought tolerant, reducing the need for irrigation. The project was built with renewable materials wherever possible, and construction materials were selected to improve indoor air quality. These features helped Bay Terrace exceed Washington State’s Evergreen Sustainable Building Standard in addition to achieving LEED certification.
Bay Terrace also includes a 7,227-square-foot community and education center and computer lab for tenants. Through a partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, the center hosts a Head Start program for about 25 children between ages 3 and 5. Bates Technical College, in conjunction with Goodwill Industries, also runs an offsite education and job training program for local residents. Partially funded through a HUD Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facility grant, the center was built with sustainability in mind, achieving LEED Gold certification and reducing energy costs by 32 percent through an optimized building envelope and a high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The center also includes a green roof and swales that filter stormwater.
Bay Terrace’s first phase, including demolition and construction, cost $15.8 million. The main sources of funding were a $3.7 million permanent loan from J.P. Morgan Chase and $8.9 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) through Enterprise Community Investment. Other sources were THA, the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Housing Trust Fund, a HUD Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facility grant, the city of Tacoma, and the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority.
Future Steps for Bay Terrace
THA is continuing to raise capital for the 74-unit second phase. THA has been awarded $1 million from the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority and has applied for and is expecting to receive 9 percent LIHTCs. During both phases, more units of affordable housing will be added. This is an increasingly important consideration, says Clair, as housing affordability in Tacoma is a growing concern.
Tacoma Housing Authority. 2013. "Hillside Terrace Redevelopment." Accessed 16 March 2015; GGLO. n.d. "Sustainable Design Case Study: THA Bay Terrace Phase I Housing.” Accessed 20 March 2015; Tacoma Housing Authority. 2014. "Bay Terrace Phase I: Welcome Home." Accessed 16 March 2015.×
Tacoma Housing Authority. 2014. "Bay Terrace Phase I: Welcome Home." Accessed 16 March 2015.×
Tacoma Housing Authority. 2013. "Hillside Terrace Redevelopment." Accessed 16 March 2015; Interview with Steve Clair, 16 March 2015; Tacoma Housing Authority. 2011. "Tacoma Housing Authority Resolution 2011-7-27(4)." Accessed 20 March 2015; GGLO. n.d. "Sustainable Design Case Study: THA Bay Terrace Phase I Housing." Accessed 20 March 2015; Walk Score. 2015. "2550 South G Street Central, Tacoma, 98405." Accessed 20 March 2015.×
Interview with Steve Clair, 16 March 2015; GGLO. n.d. "Sustainable Design Case Study: THA Bay Terrace Phase I Housing." Accessed 20 March 2015.×
Takoma Housing Authority. 2014. "Tacoma Housing Authority Wins LEED Gold for Community Center," 13 April. Accessed 20 March 2015; Interview with Steve Clair, 16 March 2015; GGLO. 2015. "Bay Terrace Community and Education Center" Accessed 20 March 2015; GGLO. n.d. "Sustainable Design Case Study: THA Bay Terrace Community and Education Center" Accessed 20 March 2015.×
Interview with Steve Clair, 16 March 2015.×