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For more information contact:
Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications
King County Housing Authority
(206) 574-1185

King County Housing Authority and Cities of Olympia and Lacey Celebrate Completion of Fire-Life Safety System Upgrades and Remodeling at Casa Madrona

Enhancements improve building's safety, quality, and comfort for seniors and residents with disabilities

Dec. 8, 2009 — Olympia

The King County Housing Authority has completed a $4.9 million renovation of the 70-unit Casa Madrona apartment complex, installing fire sprinklers and other safety upgrades for its 71 elderly and disabled residents.  On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Olympia Mayor Doug Mah and Lacey City Councilmember Virgil Clarkson will gather with residents at Casa Madrona to celebrate.       

“We are committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of safety and well-being for our community’s seniors and persons with disabilities,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority.  “The renovation of Casa Madrona not only ensures the long-term viability of this publicly owned housing, it improves the safety and comfort of these long-term residents.”

Casa Madrona is one of eight public housing complexes that received vital safety improvements and remodeled community spaces as part of a recent $25 million financing transaction.

“The City of Olympia is pleased that the King County Housing Authority remains committed to providing high quality housing for our most vulnerable residents,” said Olympia Mayor Mah. “This renovation took an outdated 1970s structure and upgraded it to 21st century standards.  Not only is the result airy and attractive, it has improved the safety of the building, contributing to the health and safety of our elderly and disabled neighbors and ensures that an important housing resource is preserved for years to come.”

In 2000, the Authority developed a multi-year plan to install fire sprinklers, update fire safety systems and make critical building improvements to its portfolio of 22 apartment complexes housing senior and disabled households.  However, continued federal funding cuts to public housing slowed the pace of the rehabilitation work to one-and-a-half buildings per year.  To accelerate this pace and assure the safety of its residents, KCHA developed an innovative financing solution involving federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds.  The financing was completed in August 2007, and all of KCHA’s housing for seniors now have fire sprinklers and other upgrades.

At Casa Madrona the scope of improvements included:

  • Replacement of the fire alarm and communication system and installation of  a fire sprinkler system
  • Upgrading of emergency stairways with new railings, flooring and lighting
  • Addition of new energy-efficient lighting and controls, wall finishes for hallways, lobby, elevator and laundry room
  • Replacement of ADA compliant doors and hardware at unit entries, common areas and main entry
  • Reconfigured and reconstructed entry driveway and parking lot to improve site access
  • Reconfigured lobby and supportive services offices
  • Improved unit and common area ventilation
  • Removal of underground fuel storage tank and replacement of damaged sidewalks
  • Upgrading of the site drainage system
  • Installation of high-efficiency fast-recovery gas water heaters and removal of individual electric water heaters from apartments
  • Replacement of outdated and leaking water pipes with new technology materials
  • Completion of ADA upgrades including new entry ramp improving handicapped accessibility
  • New roof and decks and repaired and repainted building exterior and
  • Installation of drought tolerant landscaping.

W.G. Clark was the construction contractor. Apollo Equity Partners was the tax credit syndicator.  Nationwide Insurance is the tax credit investor.

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs in the Puget Sound region. The Authority serves more than 17,000 families and elderly and disabled households on a daily basis.

Casa Madrona is located at 3948 Martin Way East in Olympia.  In the early 1970s, Olympia city officials eager to offer affordable housing options to low-income Olympians asked the King County Housing Authority to acquire Casa Madrona. KCHA has owned and managed the property ever since.

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