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North Precinct funds could be shifted to affordable housing

The city council is considering a proposal to use $29M on new residential units instead.

The #BlockTheBunker movement got Seattle to reconsider the $149M North Precinct Police Station it had planned. Now, there’s a plan moving through the Seattle City Council to reallocate some of those funds, coupled with a new bond, in order to add $29 million to the city’s affordable housing budget.

During the protests into the state-of-the-art police station, council-member Kshama Sawant made the centerpiece of her argument that much of that money should be spent on affordable housing instead. Council-member Lisa Herbold has now a proposal moving through that would create a $29 million bond for affordable home construction and development. The bond would be repaid by the Department of Transportation, which itself would be repaid by real estate excise tax (REET). The plans creates a workaround since REET isn’t allowed to pay for affordable housing directly.

According to the proposal, there is potential for the $29 million to create 198 or 270 units of affordable housing, depending on the scenario.

The proposal seems to have a majority as Sawant, Lorena Gonzalez, Sally Bagshaw, Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson have pledged support to Herbold’s plan. That seems to imply it will begin working it’s way through budget deliberations in the coming weeks.

As for the North Precinct station, it’s not a dead topic. Herbold herself said that the issue isn’t the need for a station, it’s the cost.

“I support rebuilding the precinct. I don’t support the cost, I support the project.”