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King County Housing Authority
600 Andover Park W
Tukwila, WA 98188

First Phase of Construction Nearing Completion at Birch Creek

Nine buildings are almost finished; Residents have begun moving back into newly renovated units

May 12, 2009

The $55 million revitalization of the Birch Creek Apartments located in East Kent is keeping 140 construction workers employed and pumping cash into the South King County economy.  The first phase is nearing completion and the transformation is already striking.

“It’s so great here, it’s amazing,” said Anna Orekhov, who moved into her new unit a few months ago. “I only expected a nice, stable apartment to raise my children, but what I got was a brand new, beautiful place.”

Families began moving back into newly renovated units at the end of February. The first nine of 32 residential buildings will be completely finished in June.  A total of 262 families will be housed on the site.

Formerly known as Springwood Apartments, the low-income housing complex was built in 1970 by the Boeing Aeromechanics Union, using HUD funding, but it failed to draw renters.  The complex defaulted on its mortgage and was taken over by the King County Housing Authority in 1976.  After 40 years, the buildings and site are worn out and functionally obsolete.  Prior to starting renovation of the residential buildings, KCHA built two community facilities on the property: the Kent Family Center and the Springwood Youth Center.

When completed in June 2010, the redevelopment of the largest public housing community in South King County will have:

  • Replaced aged vinyl exteriors with low-maintenance fiber cement siding (HardiePlank® and HardiePanel®) that adds texture, insulation, durability and color;
  • Completely renovated apartment interiors with new windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, wall finishes, floor coverings, Energy Star appliances, plumbing and electrical fixtures;
  • Installed new fire alarm and sprinkler systems;
  • Added a half-bath and a washer and dryer in all units;
  • Built a community P-patch garden;
  • Created additional outdoor spaces including a central park; separate toddler, youth and teen play areas; and picnic spots;
  • Improved the ecosystem of Soosette Creek, a salmon-bearing stream that bisects the development, by providing substantial landscaped buffers and erecting a pedestrian bridge over the creek and viewing platforms.

The project, which is designed to meet a 4-Star Built Green™ standard, will also increase energy efficiency, enhance environmentally sensitive areas on the site and greatly improve the aesthetics of the community.

“The remodel of the old Springwood Apartments provides a more practical, safe, family-friendly setting,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, who toured the site last week.  “Not only is the new Birch Creek a real asset to the Kent community, the construction work is supplying good-paying jobs during a time when it’s vitally needed. Furthermore, two beautiful new community facilities offer critical job training, education, health and recreational services to Birch Creek and Kent residents alike.  Birch Creek residents can feel proud of their neighborhood.”

The City worked closely with the Housing Authority in assuring that the design approval and permitting process went smoothly and that the Housing Authority was able to meet the construction deadlines required by the project’s outside investors.

KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs for residents of King County. The Authority serves more than 18,000 families, elderly and disabled households on a daily basis.

Birch Creek Facts

  • Location: 27360 129th Pl SE, Kent
  • Site: 26 acres
  • 262 units: 5 one-, 95 two-, 123 three-, 36 four- and 3 five-bedroom apartment homes
  • General Contractor: Synergy Construction, Inc
  • Architect:  Kovalenko Hale Architects

The project is expected to achieve 4-Star Built™ Green certification by the Master Builders of King and Snohomish County. This standard exceeds the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard.  Additionally, about 950 tons of materials (not including crushed concrete, much of which is being reused on the site) have been recycled to date.

Main Office
600 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 574‑1100
Fax: (206) 574‑1104
TDD: (800) 833‑6388

Section 8 Office
700 Andover Park W.
Tukwila, WA 98188
Tel: (206) 214‑1300
Fax: (206) 243‑5927