liberty bank building

Rendering: Capitol Hill Housing

The Liberty Bank Building, a mixed-use development proposed for Seattle’s Central District, may take the final step in the design review process this week. Last week, community members weighed in on its proposed design, and the next part of the process is to get approval from the city.

Non-profit developer Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) is behind the project, along with partners Africatown, Black Community Impact Alliance and Centerstone. Together, they are working to create a space that will be empowering for the black community, and have released an eight-part Memorandum of Understanding laying out how they intend to do that. They hope the Liberty Bank Building will ultimately become a template that shows how inclusive development can work in communities.

The new building will be built on the site of the former Liberty Bank, the first bank west of the Mississippi to focus on the black community. It will have four commercial spaces, as well as 115 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Units will be available at 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, and residents will have access to a rooftop terrace, workroom and lounge. The plans also call for 18 residential parking spaces.

According to the blog Capitol Hill Seattle, Walsh Construction, the general contractor for the project, is seeking black subcontractors for everything from putting up drywall to installing carpet. Al Doggett Studios has been hired to select art for the building that will honor the Liberty Bank and reflect black cultural heritage. Nine artists will create 11 works for the development.

If the Liberty Bank Building gets an okay at this week’s design review meeting, it will be on track to open by summer 2018. 

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