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N Seattle senior living will soon have families on site

Nearly 90 families will have an affordable place to live by late next year with built-in child care aided by their senior citizen neighbors.

“Nook at Northaven” is now under construction on the property of Northaven Senior Living near Northgate Mall, which will combine the facility with working family homes and early childhood learning.

It’s the vision of Val Gorder and her Gorder Family Foundation, who tells Northwest Newsradio the idea of the seniors working with the kids comes from her mother’s experience after she spent some time in senior living.  Gorder says, “Having my children around, having other children around…that was what made her life full and others around her.”

Northaven’s 35-year director, Darlene Storti, says one of the big perks is lots of nearby transit access.  “People can’t afford to live in Seattle and work in Seattle,” Storti says, “so this building is providing such a wonderful asset to our workers, to other communities and to children that can be in day care while their parents are working.”  Part of the plan is to have the seniors spend time with the children in the early learning center.  Storti also says research has shown that seniors who get to spend time with children like that have better health, get their minds off the aches and pains that come with aging and even live longer.

Gorder says it was a combination of low-interest loans from Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund, BECU and others that helped this come together.  She points to the ECHO (Early Childhood Opportunity) Fund as the organization that “closed the gap” on the funding needed to build.  Gorder also says Northaven selling them the land for its market value was an important factor in making the project possible.  It’s expected to be completed in December 2024.

The following is the official news release on the project, which includes more information on all the organizations and agencies involved in the creation of “Nook at Northaven”:

SEATTLE, WA (JUNE 15, 2023) –– The Gorder Family Foundation, a private impact investor developing workforce housing in the region, today announces the groundbreaking for its new project, Nook at Northaven, located at 11057 8th Avenue NE, in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. This new mid-rise apartment building is a transit-oriented development that will create 89 new affordable homes within 0.25 miles of eight public transit stops.

Nook at Northaven will be supported by private funding from the Gorder Family Foundation and the Echo Fund through Realize Impact, a Washington-based impact investing nonprofit. Lenders include Amazon, BECU, and the Seattle Office of Housing. Amazon’s support, a $9.8 million below-market-rate loan, comes from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve or create more than 20,000 affordable homes in its hometown communities.

“It is deeply meaningful for us to invest our resources in this critical step towards solving our region’s housing crisis by providing homes to families and individuals who work to support our community. We hope that our investment and that of Echo Fund’s, can serve as an example to use private funds as an investment model to benefit our community,” shares Val Gorder, President of Gorder Family Foundation.

The Nook at Northaven residences will be comprised of a mix of 89 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Additionally, the project will include a six-classroom early learning center run by Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), which will serve both residents and non-residents with quality early childhood education and care for over 100 children aged 0-5 years.  An award from Seattle Human Services Department Child Care Facilities will support the long-term lease to ReWA.

Nook at Northaven is part of an innovative, multi-generational campus with shared outdoor spaces and progressive intergenerational programs. This development, adjacent to Northaven Senior Living’s existing buildings, will facilitate programs that partner children with elders for classes, creative activities, gardening, and games. This approach creates “adoptive grandparents” opportunities, mentoring and tutoring, health, fitness, and well-being opportunities bridging generations and communities.

“The Nook realizes Northaven’s long-held goal of creating a truly intergenerational community where seniors, families and children build lasting relationships that enrich everyone. In the Gorder family, we have found partners who share our values,” said Bill Dorn, Director of Development of Northaven Senior Living.

“Nook at Northaven embodies so many of the critical needs we seek to address – from affordable housing to resources for the community and access to transit,” said Senthil Sankaran, principal of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “We’re grateful to support the Gorder Family Foundation in bringing this to life, as they share our passion for creating not only homes but opportunities for families to thrive.”

Nook at Northaven is expected to be completed and ready for resident move-in by December 2024. It will serve families earning between 60% and 80% of the area median income, which is the equivalent of $57,000 to $90,000 in annual income and will be maintained as affordable workforce housing for 99 years. The project is a model for private impact investment, partnering with both government and private corporate entities to deliver long term affordability serving families that are above the income thresholds for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. The development is managed by local developer BarrientosRYAN, designed by Third Place Design Co-operative, and is being constructed by Rafn Company.

“We’re glad to see this partnership come to life and are grateful for the support that Amazon and BECU are providing for this important effort,” said Debora Juarez, Seattle City Council President, who represents Seattle’s District 5 where Northaven is located. “Congratulations to the Gorder Family Foundation and their partners for securing these funds so that the Nook at Northaven, once complete, can provide affordable housing for decades to come.”

About Gorder Family Foundation

Gorder Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization that has been developing affordable housing in the region through its development arm, Gaard Development, in partnership with local developer, BarrientosRYAN. Gaard and BarrientosRYAN previously worked together to rebuild the Louisa Hotel Apartments in the Seattle CID, delivering 84 units of workforce housing. Its mission is to create sustainable communities where working families can live with dignity and opportunity.

About ReWA

For 30 years, ReWA’s Childcare and Preschool Programs have been enrolling children from the Seattle area who are primarily marginalized, ethnically and culturally diverse, and English-language learners.  Our Programs are dedicated to ensuring that children entrusted to our care are provided with a high-quality, preschool education program, and a safe, loving, and learning environment that will support the children’s cognitive and emotional development, which is essential for them to become successful in life.  We provide education and resources that build upon the unique strengths of each family and child. We respect the variety of cultures that families and children bring by supporting home language and literacy within the curriculum, classroom & environment.

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