Olympia council approves transfer of 10 acres to Habitat for Humanity


The Olympia City Council on Tuesday approved selling the 10-acre city-owned property at 3900 Boulevard Road SE to South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity to proceed with the construction of more than 100 affordable low-income housing.

Mike Reid, the city's Economic Development director, discussed the sale and purchase agreement between Olympia and Habitat for Humanity at the city council meeting on Tuesday.

Among the highlights of the agreements are the following:

  • The purchase price is a dollar, recognizing that Habitat will be required through a restrictive covenant placed on the deed of the property to use the site in large part to build affordable housing, which is defined as serving households with or below 80% of the area median income.
  • Habitat for Humanity agrees to create at least 100 housing units, 65% of which are owner-occupied affordable houses.
  • Habitat agrees that approximately one acre of the site is to be used to develop a commercial center for retail, childcare, or other commercial uses.
  • The city has a repurchase option at the sale price of $1 if Habitat has failed to commence construction of the housing units within 36 months of the closing date.

Carly Colgan, chief executive officer of South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, said the organization intends to build 123 permanently affordable owner-occupied:

  • 27 senior cottages
  • 48 townhomes
  • 48 multi-family units
  • 3,000 square feet commercial building

The project is currently under the land use approval process.

"The first criterion for Habitat homeownership is a demonstrated need for affordable housing. That includes an applicant being cost-burdened, living in substandard, unsafe or overcrowded housing, or living in temporary or subsidized housing," Colgan explained.

She said each homeowner volunteers 300 hours with the organization and helps build their home alongside volunteers.

"Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and our mission is to bring people together to build homes, community, and hope," she told the councilmembers.

Colgan said, since 1989, the organization has been building and repairing homes in Thurston County.

She added that Habitat homeowners are people earning 30% to 80% of the area median income. "For example, the average salary of a teacher in Olympia is $55,000 a year. A single parent with two kids who is a teacher would qualify for a Habitat home, bank tellers, seniors on fixed incomes, and single parents working multiple jobs. The bottom line is that to have a vibrant economy and healthy community, there has to be housing for all income levels."

According to Colgan, the organization builds energy-efficient, safe, quality homes. She said they began developing higher-density communities to address supply and keep housing costs affordable.

Colgan appealed to community members to support the organization's project by:

  • Shopping at their store in Olympia and Yelm. She said proceeds from the retail stores allow them to build more homes.
  • They accept used furniture and building materials as well as financial support.
  • According to Colgan, volunteering on the building site helps reduce labor costs.


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  • KatAshe

    As someone who owns (and lives in) a home at Boulevard and Log Cabin, I for one am excited to see this project completed with new neighbors who are highly invested in their new homes and our neighborhood.

    Hopefully, one of the streets within this project will be named for former president Jimmy Carter.

    Thursday, March 9 Report this