Mercy Magnuson Place in Seattle, WA, has been awarded a 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Historic Tax Credit Category.

For 90 years, Mercy Magnuson Place (historically known as Building 9) has stood guard at the gates of the former Naval Air Station Sand Point, now Seattle’s Magnuson Park. Constructed between 1929 and 1941, the massive three-and-a-half story building was once a bustling barracks housing over 500 Navy squadron members and a mess hall. Following the 1991 base closure, the building fell into disrepair and evolved into a center for illegal activity, creating safety concerns for neighbors, park users and nearby affordable housing communities.

Mercy Housing Northwest envisioned a vibrant, new community housed in a revitalized historic structure where families could thrive and enjoy housing stability often unavailable to lower-income families in Seattle’s high-cost housing market. The adaptive reuse and historic preservation of this 250,000 square foot building now provides 148 affordable homes, more than half of which are two-and three-bedroom units, combined with an on-site childcare center and neighborhood health clinic.

The project required a complex financing plan that included two partnerships and four condominiums, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, and 4 percent and 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credits), resulting in $34 million in capital provided by Capital One, N.A. and syndicated by Enterprise Housing Credit Investments. Additional financing was provided by the City of Seattle, State of Washington, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and King County 4 Culture, along with JP Morgan Chase, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Brettler Family Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation NW. Tonkin Architecture and the Rafn Company provided the design and construction expertise needed to address challenges presented by the project’s scale, condition and complicated renovation scope.

The affordable apartment homes are located in the north and south three-and-a-half story residential wings. The six-classroom childcare center, neighborhood health clinic and the fully restored solarium, now a spacious community room, are situated in the one-and-a-half story center building. A full-time Resident Services Coordinator oversees on-site programming focused on after-school and summer enrichment opportunities for youth, housing and financial stability, health and wellness programming, employment training, and community engagement activities. Mercy Housing Northwest also partners with a local food bank to provide residents access to fresh food each week.

Seattle’s 350-acre Magnuson Park, where Mercy Magnuson Place is located, includes the Sand Point Naval Air Station historic district and is home to over 60 non-profit organizations. The park provides residents with ready access to a community center across the street, open recreational space and park programming resources. Excellent neighborhood schools are located nearby. Public transportation is available with several bus lines running adjacent to the site connecting residents to grocery stores and other retail amenities in northeast Seattle area, the Link Light Rail Station, and employment opportunities at Seattle Children’s Hospital, the University of Washington and downtown Seattle.

Congressional Recognition

Statement from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

In 2020, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) stated, “Congratulations to the winners of the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award from the state of Washington. Affordable housing is such a crisis across the United States, and here in Washington state we have been working hard to find solutions. I’m so proud of the work the awardees are doing to help create stronger and healthier communities. [Gardner House, Mercy Magnuson Place and The Tony Lee] will add more than 300 combined affordable units in our state and provide critical services to their communities.”

In 2021, Senator Cantwell also provided a congratulatory video, below, in which she stated, “I want to thank the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing for providing critical, needed affordable housing to people in the state of Washington… These projects together provide 313 units of affordable housing in Seattle along with supportive services to help their residents succeed. The fact that the three winners are from Washington speaks volumes about the work that people in our state are doing to address the affordable housing crisis… I am proud to continue to lead federally efforts to expand the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which helps fund 95 percent of the affordable housing developments in the country… as the winners from Seattle prove, affordable housing transforms lives and it helps build stronger communities.”

Statement from U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) congratulated Mercy Magnuson Place on their 2020 Edson Award, saying, “Washington state was already facing a housing crisis well before this pandemic, and the pandemic has made the need for affordable housing even more dire for so many across our state. That’s why I appreciate the innovative work being done by the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing to support people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Washington state, and I’m glad to see them recognized for that work with these Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards. The Tony Lee, Mercy Magnuson Place, and Gardner House have helped hundreds of people and families in need from across Seattle find a place to call home. As we all work together to end our housing crisis once and for all, I’m going to keep pushing for the federal investments in affordable housing that we need to keep people safe, secure, and housed across Washington state.”

Statement from U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07)

Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) issued the following statement regarding the announcement of this year’s recipients of the distinguished Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards:

“Providing affordable housing to individuals and families lays the foundation to building healthy and strong communities. I am proud to congratulate the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing for turning these words into action and being honored with this year’s Charles L. Edson’s Tax Credit Excellence Awards. Their accomplishments here in Washington’s 7th Congressional district make me proud to represent this incredible region.

“The Low Income Housing Institute’s Tony Lee Apartments will bring opportunities to so many families and individuals in Lake City. By emphasizing access to early childhood education, this project displays a deep commitment not only to providing immediate relief, but also to building sustainable success.

“Building affordable housing—and community—is a beautiful and lasting way to preserve an historic landmark. Mercy Housing restored the former U.S Navy Barracks Building 9 into Mercy Magnuson Place, empowering over 100 residents to access affordable housing and thrive in the Magnuson community.

“These projects provide not only housing, but also access to bustling neighborhoods, outdoor recreation, public transportation and community services. By providing affordable homes coupled with neighborhood access, we are making strides toward realizing housing as a human right. That’s why I am so excited for the future of these communities.

“Congratulations to the Low Income Housing Institute and Mercy Housing for this distinguished honor. I thank them for their dedication to our communities and the hopeful, promising future they are providing to so many families.”

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