Resident Spotlight: Miriam Pratt

Miriam Pratt (pictured with a purple scarf) at the Liberty Bank Building Ribbon Cutting. Photo courtesy of Carlos Imani / Africatown Media.

Miriam Pratt’s parents used to live at 17th and Yesler in the Central District when they first arrived in Seattle, less than 20 blocks from her east-facing apartment in the Liberty Bank Building – she loves watching the beautiful sunrises. Her father was civil rights leader Edwin T. Pratt, memorialized in the Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pratt Park, and, most recently, the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center. She sees his name and picture by the elevator every time she comes home now.

The Pratts embodied a vision for equal housing, education, and employment, becoming the first Black family to live in Shoreline. 50 years ago, her father was assassinated at their home. Miriam was five years old.

She and her mother left Seattle and, in 1978 when her mother passed away, she moved back to Seattle for several years and then to Texas to live with her grandparents. She’s now living in Seattle for the first time since her childhood, putting the finishing touches on her new, never-before-lived-in home.

“It feels like a village,” she says. “We help each other out. We all work together. It’s a joy.”

Miriam remembers receiving a call from Sasha, a CHH Housing Assistant, asking if she was still interested in living in the Liberty Bank Building. She’d been on the waitlist. In fact, she had been staying with friends and family without a home of her own for a very long time. She imagined her parents were looking out for her.

For Miriam, the Liberty Bank Building is an opportunity to bring back a community disenfranchised by the oppressive systems and attitudes that her father fought against and that that persist today. Named after and located on the same site as the historic Liberty Bank, the first Black-owned bank west of the Mississippi, the building represents a legacy of community resilience in the face of systemic, institutional racism. It also creates opportunities for a bright future for its residents.

“The Liberty Bank Building is an example of what he would have liked to see being done,” she says.

For herself, she sees this moment in time as a chance for all people to “light the torch again” to make progress toward equality and civil rights for everyone.

CHH developed the Liberty Bank Building in partnership with Africatown Community Land Trust, Byrd Barr Place, and the Black Community Impact Alliance. Africatown CLT recently began community conversations about a new development right around the corner at 23rd and Union – Africatown Plaza. Miriam has been attending those meetings.

“I’ve met families who grew up in the Central District who can only stay because of Affordable Housing.” She’s committed to seeing more families stay in place and to welcoming displaced people back home.

Meeting Change Notice

Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) has changed the date of the Executive Committee Meeting, originally scheduled to be held in the Belmont Conference Room at 1620 12th Ave, Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98122 on Tuesday, May 28th from 5:00-6:30pm.

This meeting is now scheduled for Monday, June 3rd at the same time and location.

Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

In Development: Station House Update

Last June, we celebrated the groundbreaking for transit-oriented development above the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station. CHH will build 110 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 30%, 50%, and 60% of area median income in a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street. The building is being built with a goal of reaching a LEED Platinum standard and will also include a 1,409 square foot community room. CHH plans to complete the framing of the top story on this, our 50th building, during the week of May 20th.

  See below for an animated look at the evolution of Station House since June!

Photos courtesy of Charles Hall. GIF by Yiling Wong.

Partner Spotlight: Q&A with A-P Hurd

Recently, CHH Housing Development Associate Charles Hall sat down with A-P Hurd, President of SkipStone, a consulting firm that provides real estate and planning services to private and public clients. She is the former president of Touchstone, a real estate development company that built nearly 3 million square feet of office, retail, hotel, and residential space between 2007 and 2017 and won the national Developer of the Year award in 2016. With our real estate team, she has been developing a model for alternative financing which could make the creation of affordable housing less dependent on government funding. Earlier this month, she gave the keynote speech at CHH’s Top of the Town dinner.

Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions about developers and the kinds of changes that occur when cities grow and neighborhoods transform? What would you want people to know about this work?

A: In a growing city, developers are the people who create capacity for new arrivals. For many people who don’t like that their city is growing (and therefore changing), it’s easy to blame developers. But the reality is that development is a consequence of population and job growth, not the cause.

Human migration is the biggest cause of urban growth in places like Seattle. Regional migration for economic reasons is an even bigger demographic force in the US than immigration, but people talk about it a lot less. There’s a lot of “good liberals” in Seattle that are pro-immigration but anti-growth in Seattle—however, the people coming to Seattle from other parts of the country are driven by the same search for economic opportunity as immigrants. So why shouldn’t we make room for them?

We talk a lot in Seattle about “preserving neighborhood character”, but that may be less important than housing everyone who needs it in our region and doing so in a way that is transit-connected to areas of economic opportunity. If you’re a good liberal, that should be the biggest goal of all.

Still, developers make a convenient bogeyman when people aren’t feeling brave.

Q: Last fall, the Seattle Office of Housing received more than $250 million in applications for housing but had only $40 million in its coffers. That seems to indicate great need as well as great motivation on the part of developers to build affordable housing. Tell us more about why helping Capitol Hill Housing is important to you and why a market rate commercial real estate developer might be a good partner?

A: Capitol Hill Housing is one of the most innovative affordable housing providers in the region. I love that CHH thinks big and thinks about environment and housing. CHH also thinks creatively and systemically about problems and gets things done.

In fact, the workforce housing project that we are working on together recognizes the need for housing at all price points and the importance of getting housing into production quickly. We’re hoping to come up with private sector capital strategies that can build workforce housing (80-90% of average median income) in larger volumes in the hands of an experienced non-profit like CHH, and get it built faster than we might otherwise be able, given the limited availability of public funds for a traditional non-profit capital structure. If we can do something replicable, it will be a huge win.

Q: Do you have a life philosophy that ties to the work you do?

A: Hmmm. Yes, but haven’t boiled it down to 200 words yet. How about this:  Be kind, be myself, think in systems, own the problems and work them, and live like someone who’s only got one planet.

Q: Describe an ideal developer in three words.

A: Creative, empathetic, realistic.

Meeting Change Notice

Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) has changed the date of the Annual Meeting, originally scheduled to be held in the Pike Pine Conference Room at 1620 12th Ave, Suite 206, Seattle, WA 98122 on Tuesday, April 2nd from 8:30-10:00 am.

This meeting is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th at the same time and location.

Thank you,

Capitol Hill Housing

Press Release: SCIDpda leads new development for 158 apartments for Yesler family housing

March 25 – The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) announced a joint venture to develop 158 apartments of affordable homes for working families in a location near Yesler, Little Saigon, and the Central District.

The majority of the residential units in the development will be two- to four-bedroom units in order to address the growing need for housing for medium- and large-sized families. Additionally, the development will include an 8,000 square-foot child care/early-learning center to be operated by the Denise Louie Education Center. It will also feature units that can be licensed for in-residence operation of childcare. Other amenities will include common areas for resident gathering and activities; exterior courtyards for the child care/early learning center and community gardens. One thousand square feet of the portion of the building facing Yesler Avenue will be dedicated to community-based commercial/retail services. Thirty-nine parking stalls will serve housing residents and childcare center staff. The project is expected to be completed in 2021, and is the first new construction developed by SCIDpda since 2004.

Read more in our joint press release.

Press Release: Liberty Bank Building Ribbon Cutting March 23rd

Three more days before our Ribbon Cutting Celebration at the Liberty Bank Building!

Click here for our joint press release out (external link to Liberty Bank Building website) on the Ribbon Cutting Event for the newly-open building this Saturday March 23rd 11AM-2PM. See the press release for particulars on the village that helped make this building happen, and other exciting details.

RSVP for the event at