Two sites in King County move forward on environmental cleanup for affordable housing

Cleaning up contaminated properties for redevelopment into affordable housing has a range of benefits for communities. Most directly, it improves environmental health by removing or containing toxic chemicals. But it also helps to keep a neighborhood’s character intact by making it more affordable for residents to continue living there. And it reduces sprawl by encouraging housing in already-developed areas.

We’re excited about two cleanup sites in King County that are slated for redevelopment into affordable housing. Both are reaching key cleanup milestones this summer, and we’re inviting the public to comment.

Boathouse, Inc. Renton Skyway Site

The trapezoidal parcel is marked in yellow, superimposed on an aerial map.
The Boathouse, Inc. site is in the Skyway neighborhood at the south end of Lake Washington. A dry cleaning facility operated there from 1982 until 2002, and hazardous chemicals used by the business have contaminated the soil and groundwater.

With the help of a grant from Ecology’s initiative to support the cleanup of contaminated sites for use as affordable housing (officially launched earlier this year as the Affordable Housing Grant Program), the developer GardnerGlobal, Inc. intends to purchase the site and redevelop it into a mixed-use project called Skyway Towncenter. It will have about 250 total housing units, including at least 50 affordable apartments, along with a mix of commercial, office, and community space. The affordable units will be available for rent at 60%-80% of the area's median income.

We’re requesting public comment on two documents. One is the Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree, which is a legal agreement that will direct the developer to clean up the site while settling their liability. The second is the Public Participation Plan, which describes how Ecology reaches out to the community. Since this is a new cleanup site, we welcome comments on how we can best reach those most impacted by this cleanup. The public comment period is July 18 – August 16, with an online public meeting on August 3. The meeting will have live interpretation in Amharic, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Seventh Ave Service

An aerial photo of site. A blue square outlines the site, while a red dashed area representing contamination overlaps with the blue square.
We have a second site reaching a cleanup milestone this month, the Seventh Avenue Service site in Seattle’s International District. This property was used for car repair and fueling, with a gasoline service station operating from the 1930s into the 1970s. Soil on the site has been contaminated by gasoline.

A developer, 701 S Jackson Partners LLC, plans to clean up the site and redevelop it into mixed-use retail and affordable housing. The developer expects to have about 202 units with rents targeted for households between 40% and 80% of the area's median income. Demolition and excavation is projected to begin in spring 2023 and will be completed about four months from the start date.

Based on the planned redevelopment of the property as affordable housing, we’ve developed a Cleanup Action Plan to address the contaminated soil, including:

  • Demolishing existing structures on the property
  • Removing any contaminated soil within the property boundaries; an estimated 6,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be disposed at a permitted off-site facility
  • Preventing exposure to the remaining contamination under the public right-of-way by filing an environmental covenant that requires institutional and engineering controls and long-term monitoring

Our public comment period for this project will be August 15 – September 13, with an online public meeting on August 17. The meeting will have live interpretation services in Mandarin. During the comment period, we’ll ask for your comments on the Cleanup Action Plan, the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, the Prospective Purchaser Consent Decree, and the Public Participation Plan.

Links to the documents, the online comment form, and registration for the public meeting will go live on August 15.