Honoring Dan Watson on his Retirement
By KCHA Executive Director Robin Walls
May 11, 2023
Tomorrow is Dan Watson’s last day as a KCHA employee. I would like to take a moment to honor Dan on his retirement after his 47 years of service to KCHA. Dan has been an instrumental part of expanding KCHA’s vision as an innovator of affordable housing. Under Dan’s leadership and guidance KCHA has developed thousands of units of affordable housing which has truly transformed the lives of King County’s most vulnerable citizens.
A little over a month ago, several KCHA employees witnessed Dan being honored at the Housing Development Consortium’s annual luncheon. Below is a photo from that luncheon. Dan said during his acceptance speech that in spite of the thousands of units that have been developed during his tenure, our affordable housing crisis has become more acute than when he first started which serves as a true reminder of how we as KCHA staff can continue to honor Dan’s lasting impact and legacy.
In total during his career, Dan has led, directly overseen, or contributed to the development or acquisition of over 10,300 units of housing for extremely low-income and moderately low-income residents. He has leveraged federal subsidies, tax-exempt bond financing, low interest governmental loans, tax credit equity financing, and conventional bank financing to finance housing across the housing continuum.
It is estimated that over Dan’s career, more than 40,000 households and over 100,000 individuals have been able to afford their housing because of his tireless preservation and development efforts.
Dan has been actively involved in the preservation of other types of at-risk federally subsidized housing, including privately owned Section 8 housing under Title II of the Emergency Low Income Housing and Preservation Act (ELIHPA), which included Spiritwood, Hidden Village, and Newport Apartments (all in Bellevue). He was also instrumental in preserving Project-Based Section 8 assistance by acquiring Parkway (Redmond), Alpine Ridge (Bothell), Heritage Park (Bothell), Bellevue Manor (Bellevue), Eastwood Square (Bellevue), Patricia Harris Manor (Redmond), Southwood Square (Kent), Northwood (Auburn), Vashon Terrace (Vashon Island), Westminster Manor (Shoreline), Kirkland Heights (Kirkland), Juanita View (Kirkland) and Laurelwood Gardens (Federal Way). The acquisition of three USDA properties in Enumclaw and North Bend constituted the first USDA 515 preservation deal in the nation ever completed using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. His work helped ensure continued affordability at nineteen federally-financed properties, which included a total of 1,217 homes.
KCHA has emerged as a national leader in the preservation of naturally occurring affordable housing and the conversion to permanently affordable workforce housing. KCHA owns nearly 8,000 affordable workforce housing units affordable to households earning between 50 and 80% of area median income.
Dan has also shown tremendous leadership during a time of challenging leadership change to KCHA and has also become a wonderful friend.
Thank you Dan!