[Hpn] Seattke, WA - Vulcan plan to demolish apartments riles housing advocates - Seattle Times - June 27, 2002

H. C. Covington H. C. Covington" <icanamerica@bellsouth.net
Mon, 01 Jul 2002 11:50:51 -0500

Vulcan plan to demolish apartments riles housing advocates

By Sheila Lalwani - Seattle Times - June 27, 2002

The future of a building in Seattle's Cascade neighborhood has ignited
controversy between some of the city's low-income housing advocates and Vulcan,
the development company owned by billionaire Paul Allen.

Vulcan plans to tear down the Lillian Apartments building and redevelop the site
at 1258 John St., but housing advocates want the company to renovate it for
affordable housing.

Both groups met yesterday afternoon before Robert Laird, code-compliance manager
for the city's Department of Design, Construction and Land Use at the Key Tower.
Neighborhood residents also attended.

At the heart of the issue is the replacement cost. City housing codes say that
if repair costs exceed 50 percent of the replacement cost, a building is
recommended to be uninhabitable. Vulcan says the repairs would exceed that
amount, but housing advocates say the company's estimates are too high.

John Fox, coordinator for the housing group Seattle Displacement Coalition, said
the city desperately needs housing for low-income residents, and he complained
to Vulcan officials, urging them to reconsider their decision.

"To say that the building is uninhabitable is pretty provocative on their part,"
Fox said. "Apparently, they want to go to war over this."

Vulcan attorney Roger Pearce said the DCLU's assessment of the building is
correct  that it is unfit to be lived in. Every major system in the building is
failing, and the building contains hazardous material, he said.

Pearce noted that Vulcan paid each former tenant $5,000 to help them move and
that the company is setting up 50 units of affordable housing in the area south
of Lake Union. The company owns more than 40 acres in that area.

In the Seattle area, 5,000 to 6,000 people are homeless and in need of housing,
advocacy groups say. Alan Justad, DCLU spokesman, said the city is committed to
meeting the housing needs of low-income residents.

"Everyone has committed themselves to working on that," he said. "That said, it
doesn't mean any old building will be saved."

Both sides have until July 10 to provide the department with more information.
The public will have until July 19 to review that information and comment.

Sheila Lalwani: 206-464-2149 or slalwani@seattletimes.com

H. C. Covington, Nonprofit Knowledge Specialist
Homeless and Housing News