by Yordanos Teferi
The Multicultural Community Coalition (MCC) and numerous partners have worked tirelessly to steward community priorities at the Opportunity Center at Othello Square, once slated for completion in 2023. The Opportunity Center aimed to anchor several community-based organizations serving thousands of immigrants and refugees, co-located STEM education, entrepreneurial business resources, affordable retail space, and mixed-income and affordable housing. We garnered support from all levels of government and the philanthropic community and devoted substantial human and social capital to the project for over a decade because our communities face grave displacement and underinvestment from neighborhoods that they helped build and shape.
Yet, despite over 10 years of community visioning, commitments from multiple City of Seattle departments, and millions of dollars in public and private investment, we are no closer to the Opportunity Center breaking ground.
While the Opportunity Center was identified as one of the City’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) demonstration projects and its community priorities were codified in the City’s Equitable Development Implementation Plan and the Othello Neighborhood Plan Update, it is hardly closer to becoming a reality than when our state and local elected officials rallied around it in 2015.
Continue reading OPINION: Othello Neighborhood Deserves Accountability for Long-Awaited Opportunity Center
by Phil Manzano
When talking about his run for Renton City Council, Joseph Todd’s voice breaks slightly and wavers. “I’m sorry, I get a little emotional here.”
He recalls George Floyd’s death a year ago, which sparked a worldwide racial reckoning.
“When we saw a man get murdered in daylight, it begins to bring home, for real, for real, that these systems are trying to kill you,” Todd said. “So that’s why when we created the Renton Residents for Change, it was really all about, ‘We have to get ahead of this.’”
Continue reading Will Local Governments Reflect the Changing Demographics of South King County?
by Ashley Archibald
An affordable housing developer got a reprieve as the minutes ticked down toward its deadline to move forward with plans for a mixed-use building as part of an ambitious four-building complex near the Othello Link light rail station in South Seattle.
HomeSight leaders are expected to send a new proposal for Building A of the Othello Square campus project — which includes the Opportunity Center with more than 200 units of affordable housing above it — for a vote at its board meeting this week. If approved, the developer will receive a 90-day extension to purchase the Building A property for the development from the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). The original deadline to buy the parcel was Jan. 15, but SHA granted an extension, and HomeSight’s board is expected to consider the proposal on Thursday, Feb. 11.
Continue reading Opportunity Center and Affordable Housing Near Othello Station in Flux Over Cleanup Concerns
by Carolyn Bick
The Rainier Valley Community Development Fund will no longer be a partial owner in HomeSight’s Othello Square Project.
Though the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF) originally signed a letter of interest with HomeSight to become a partial owner of Building A in the mixed-use development, when it came to the capital call, RVCDF Board President Doug Cargill said that they “couldn’t square the circle,” and had to prioritize the nonprofit lending firm’s capacity to continue serving clients.
Continue reading Rainier Valley Community Development Fund pulls out of Othello Square Project
by Cliff Cawthon
If you ever wondered what is in store for the seemingly unused land across from the Othello Light Rail station, the plan is to create something “unique” for developers and communities feeling the crunch of gentrification. Continue reading Southeast Economic Opportunity Center Promises “Inclusive Development” and “Community Ownership”