Along with the nearby Greenbridge community, Seola Gardens is part of KCHA’s effort to revitalize King County’s White Center neighborhood. Since the early 2000s we have invested more than $250 million in public and private funding to build new housing and expand the services available to residents.
Originally known as Park Lake Homes II, the community was built to house World War II defense workers. As recently as 2009, low-income families still lived in the property’s run-down, barracks-like housing.
Following redevelopment, nearly 300 renters and owners will call Seola Gardens home. Attractive, energy-efficient new homes will take the place of the old 1940s-era housing. New amenities such as parks and trails will encourage outdoor activity. A community center will provide educational opportunities to both children and adults. Thanks to a host of environmentally friendly features, Seola Gardens will provide sustainable housing that costs less to operate and creates healthier places to live.
Housing for All Income Levels
Seola Gardens is being redeveloped to serve a broader mix of income levels. In addition to providing homes for people with very low incomes, the community will also offer housing for renters with moderate incomes. Market-rate for-sale homes further enhance neighborhood diversity.
When completely built-out in 2018, Seola Gardens will feature 177 units of subsidized rental housing and up to 107 for-sale homes. Housing types will range from single-family homes to attached townhomes and mid-rise senior apartments. The same number of federally subsidized units offered at Park Lake Homes II will remain available to low-income households.
Outdoor Features that Encourage Activity
People coming home to Seola Gardens find a vibrant new community in a terrific location. The 30-acre site is surrounded by towering fir trees, offers views of the Olympic Mountains, and provides extensive open space. Residents can enjoy new parks, sidewalks, a trail system, exercise stations, pea patches, gardens, and public art installations. They can also walk to nearby Lakewood Park for picnicking, tennis, and other recreational activities.
A Network of Community Services
Seola Gardens’ 6,500-foot community center provides educational opportunities for residents of all ages. Adults can take advantage of job assistance, computer literacy courses, and English as a Second Language classes. Joseph House, a 65-unit apartment complex for seniors, features programs and services for older households.
An on-site Head Start facility, after-school tutoring, a computer lab, and multicultural learning programs help youth succeed in school. Nearby facilities add another layer of educational support. An Early Learning Center and the White Center Heights Elementary School are a half mile away at Greenbridge. Cascade Middle School and Evergreen High School are within walking distance.
Environmentally Friendly Development
Thanks in part to KCHA’s partnership with King County, Seola Gardens represents a model of green development. It uses an array of environmentally friendly features outdoors, such as rain gardens and a water quality pond that cleans surface water before it leaves the site.
New housing is also highly energy-efficient. All units include walls, roofs, and windows insulated to standards far beyond code requirements. Light tubes reduce the need for electric lighting during daylight hours. Each home also comes with solar-ready wiring. In addition, about half of the rental homes have been strategically sited to be cooled naturally by trees in summer and take advantage of natural light in winter.
This focus on sustainable construction allows all of Seola Gardens to meet Three-Star Built Green standards.