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Green River Homes in Auburn celebrates grand reopening on Friday; $11 million in renovations completed

The King County Housing Authority has completed $11 million worth of renovations to a 59-unit family development, which include this Green River Homes duplex.  - Courtesy photo/William Wright Photography
The King County Housing Authority has completed $11 million worth of renovations to a 59-unit family development, which include this Green River Homes duplex.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/William Wright Photography

Green River Homes – one of the King County Housing Authority's oldest public housing developments – has gotten a new lease on life.

With new roofs, energy-efficient windows, exterior siding and architectural details, it is now some of the best looking rental housing in Auburn.

As part of its strategy to preserve and upgrade its entire portfolio of public housing, the King County Housing Authority has completed $11 million worth of renovations to this 59-unit family development.

The rehabilitation supports the work being done by the City of Auburn at the adjacent Les Gove Park and on the M Street corridor.

The King County Housing Authority, residents and many partners celebrate the grand reopening of Green River Homes at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 16. The event will be held outdoors near the playground at Green River Homes, 1103 Ninth St. SE, Auburn.

Mayor Pete Lewis, King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer and others will be on hand to mark the recently completed transformation.

"We are grateful to King County Housing Authority for the work they've done to upgrade and renovate Green River Homes," Lewis said. "This reinvigorated neighborhood, adjacent to Les Gove Park, will complement the city's future community campus and is an asset to our community and to the people who call it home."

Green River Homes was built in 1957. When renovations began in April 2012, the site and buildings were in need of extensive repairs to extend this community's useful life for another 40 to 50 years. The water distribution system was undersized and lacked adequate fire flow. Floor plans were outdated, as were plumbing, heating and electrical systems in the units.

A new look

The refurbished units feature modern, attractive, easy-to-maintain fiber cement exterior siding. Gables over front doorways embellish the former utilitarian–looking, cabin-like structures. Renovated apartment interiors have new doors, windows, cabinets, countertops, wall finishes and floor coverings. The grounds have also been improved. New playground equipment suitable for toddlers and older children has been installed. The basketball court has been replaced. The property has been re-landscaped with new trees, shrubs, ground cover, and grass. Curbs and sidewalks have been replaced and the stretch of L Street that runs through the development has been resurfaced. New water and gas lines have been installed.

The project was financed with a combination of federal low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt and taxable financing supported by the federal government's project-based Section 8 rents. KCHA's status as a Moving to Work agency provided flexibility to combine funding streams, which made this financing possible.

"There is a critical need for affordable apartments in the region, especially for larger families," said Doug Barnes, chairperson of the King County Housing Authority board of directors. "With the renovation of Green River Homes, the Authority has ensured the future of this vital public housing community. By linking this neighborhood to Auburn's Les Gove Park, with all it has to offer, we are also providing a wealth of opportunities for our young people and their families."

Architectural services were provided by CNJA Architects. Synergy Construction, Inc. was the general contractor.

Family wage construction jobs are critical to a healthy economy. A national study by the Econsult Corporation measured the economic impact of investing in public housing and determined that every construction dollar generated an additional $2.12 in economic activity through secondary job creation, spending by vendors and suppliers, purchase of goods and services, and consumer spending by workers. Approximately 30 subcontractors and 155 workers from a variety of trades and occupations were involved with the project, which was completed in December 2012.

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs in the Puget Sound region. The authority serves more than 17,000 households on a daily basis.

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