Mayor's Update - Sunset Gardens & STRIDE

Mayor's Update - Sunset Gardens & STRIDE
Posted on 06/30/2022
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The City of Renton's Mayor's LoogPeriodically I will provide a mayor’s perspective on news items of importance to Renton residents.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Number 16

Cover image for mayor's update

I’m pleased to update you on an ambitious affordable housing project that will positively impact our city.

Yesterday Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Megan Utemei from U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office, Renton Housing Authority (RHA) Executive Director Mark Gropper, and Michael Look, Deputy Regional Administrator, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region X, broke ground for Sunset Gardens, RHA’s newest project in the Sunset area. In attendance and in full support of this project were our city councilmembers, state legislators, and services providers, highlighting the vast variety of funding, institutional support, and creativity necessary for a community redevelopment of this scale.

Sunset Gardens is significant because it provides affordable housing units for veterans, persons with disabilities, and seniors. It’s also the first project in Renton to utilize HB 1590 funding, which the State Legislature authorized in 2020. HB 1590 funds must be used towards constructing affordable housing and/or mental health/behavioral health-related facilities.

It’s also the seventh affordable housing and infrastructure project in the Sunset area since 2012. Each project brings the neighborhood closer to fulling the vision identified by the Renton Highlands Task Force in 2007 when the transformation efforts began.

To date, more than $150 million in federal, state, city, and county funds has been invested in completed Sunset Area projects. In addition, an additional $230 million is earmarked for current or planned projects in the Sunset Area. This amount of public investment has drawn the attention of private investors, further enhancing the commercial development of the surrounding community.

Sunset Gardens Funding

  • $22.765 million: Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) Equity (Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Capital Markets)

  • $12.5 million: Private Debt (JP Morgan Chase)

  • $4.525 million: Sponsor Loans (Renton Housing Authority)

  • $3 million: Public Funder (King County, including $600,000 in HUD HOME Funds)

  • $2.5 million: Public Funder (Senator Patty Murray, Congressionally Directed Spending)

  • $2.5 million Public Funder (Department of Commerce, Housing Trust Fund)

  • $1.5 million: Public Funder (City of Renton, HB 1590 Funding)

The Sunset Gardens project also benefited from $984,130 in waived development and impact fees from the City of Renton and a $1.768 million “Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program” (CHIP) grant that Renton received from Department of Commerce.

The Sunset Area Redevelopment is a prime example of what we can accomplish when we work together. Our goal and vision is to make the Sunset Area a livable, walkable neighborhood with shopping and transportation options nearby.

My thanks and congratulations to everyone who played a vital role in this project.

 

Photo of Legislative Group

Legislative meeting stresses need for direct access ramp to South Renton Park and Ride

In 2026, a high-capacity bus service, STRIDE, will come to the new South Renton Transit Center, giving our residents a new public transit option along I-405 from Bellevue and continuing along State Route 518 into Burien – with our community as a key hub.

STRIDE connects its stations along I-405 via in-line stations or direct access ramps that bypass surface streets, reducing congestion and keeping busses on schedule. Two of those stations will be in Renton – one at I-405 and NE 44th Avenue and the above-referenced South Renton stop.

The only I-405 station in the plan without such direct access is the South Renton Transit Center, to be built at the northwest corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Grady Way. The current plan is for STRIDE buses to exit the managed access lanes and merge with general purpose vehicles onto Rainier Avenue and then navigate the Grady/Rainier intersection to get to the station. This causes several minutes of travel delay for transit riders.

To demonstrate the challenges in accessing the new South Renton stop, a group including City Council President Ryan McIrvin, Council President Pro-Tem and Sound Transit Board member Ed Prince, city transportation staff, and myself hosted several legislators at City Hall earlier this month. The group included House Transportation Chair Jake Fey of Tacoma, House Transportation Vice-Chair Bill Ramos, State Representative David Hackney, and House Majority Whip Steve Bergquist.

Graphic: SR 167 Interchange - Existing BRT

Our discussions centered around preliminary work by WSDOT that showed options to improve transit access to the new South Renton Transit Center. We stressed that access improvements are vital for STRIDE to operate effectively and to minimize travel delays.

We also took them to the intersection of Grady and Rainier for a first-hand look at the obstacles created when buses must navigate a crowded Rainier Avenue. To continue WSDOT’s work, we requested an additional $2 million in state funding to continue the study and ensure our residents receive the most efficient option.

We will continue conversations with transportation committee members and our legislators to ensure the best possible service for Renton residents as transportation are connected to and through our community.

 

Previous Mayor's Updates

  • November 5, 2021 - Renton’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion leads to several impactful initiatives
  • October 1, 2021 - Human Services Funding: City Council increases Human Services budget almost three-fold; approves three projects through HB 1590
  • August 31, 2021 - Solera is the cornerstone of our ongoing redevelopment of the Sunset area
  • June 22, 2021 - Support Housing: Mayor Pavone and county executive announce Renton hotel is part of Health Through Housing initiative

  • December 18, 2020 - City Council passes emergency ordinance for interim zoning controls

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