Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp is lining up funding to create a homeless youth center in Seattle Central College’s surplus South Annex property in Capitol Hill.

“We’re working with Seattle Central College,” Chopp said, “they’ve declared the property surplus, so we’re basically lining up the funding for the purchase so the college can use the proceeds for another building to the north of campus.”

Seattle Central is working to purchase Sound Transit’s Site D, a surplus property north of the campus on Broadway that was acquired when the Capitol Hill light rail extension was being developed. The college has the first right of refusal for the 10,423-square-foot property.

To meet affordable housing requirements established by Sound Transit for its surplus property, Seattle Central is proposing a development across from the South Annex property at the Atlas Building, 1515 Broadway, and Eldridge Tire building, 1519 Broadway, according to a request for letters of interest the college issued last December.

Capitol Hill Housing confirmed it responded to Seattle Central’s request back in December 2016 to provide up to 78 affordable housing units, but declined to provide additional information. Seattle Central confirmed it received the CHH response for developing the Atlas and Eldridge Tire buildings, but has not yet decided whether to move forward with affordable housing at the two properties between Pike and Pine streets.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board granted the Eldridge Tire building landmark status back in March based on its historical importance in the neighborhood and mission-revival style.

The South Annex property (1531 Broadway, 1534 Broadway and 909 Pine St.) was also a potential site for affordable housing at the time Seattle Central issued its request for letters of interest.

Former Seattle mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a state of emergency regarding the city and county’s homelessness crisis in November 2015.

Chopp said it was at that time that he began working on securing funding to help the city deal with the homelessness crisis, and during the 2016 legislative session $1.5 million was included in the budget for a homeless youth center that would provide housing. Chopp said two other sites in Capitol Hill were considered, but did not work out.

“Then we saw that surplus property,” Chopp said, “and I thought, ‘Ooh, what about that?’”

Another $1 million was included in the 2017-19 capital budget, Chopp said. That budget was not approved during the 2017 legislative session due to Senate Republicans holding out for an agreement on water rights.

The state Supreme Court found that Whatcom County didn’t provide enough protections for water resources when approving new wells. That resulted in slowdowns in rural development as counties attempted to meet new requirements for ensuring water availability. The House Democrats proposed delaying the ruling for two years, while Republicans want to nix the ruling.

Chopp said it was the first time since his tenure in the Legislature that he’d seen two separate issues tied together in this way. Passing that capital budget remains a high priority for the House Speaker, he said.

The Washington Department of Commerce’s Office of Homeless Youth has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a nonprofit, public development authority, local government or housing authority to create the homeless youth center that would provide social services and housing, with proposals due by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15.

“It’s a center for homeless youth,” Chopp said, “exactly what goes into the building they’re still figuring it out.”

The Department of Commerce lists $1 million in funding available for the project, stating a final funding decision will not be made until the 2017-19 capital budget passes, according to the RFP.

The RFP states the Department of Commerce will give priority to local applicants in its scoring. Other considerations include the population served, funding leverage, proposed services and housing model, cultural competency (experience working with the LGBTQ community and people of color) and staff qualifications and experience.

Even with $2.5 million secured, there is still more funding that will be needed to acquire the South Annex from Seattle Central. Chopp said the college is seeking to recover $8 million-$9 million for the property, which includes two buildings and a parking lot.

The Department of Commerce has also released an RFP for a partner project with the University of Washington to provide services to homeless youth and young adults.

South Annex RFP by branax2000 on Scribd