Renton City Council recently adopted a Finance Committee report to award a $332,000 Density Fee grant to Homestead Community Land Trust for the Willowcrest Townhomes.

On May 20, 2019, the Renton City Council approved a $332,000 grant award to Homestead Community Land Trust to help complete a deep green building standard pilot project for the Willowcrest Townhomes, a 12-unit affordable homeownership project in the Sunset Area.

The City of Renton and Renton Housing Authority (RHA) have been working with Homestead Community Land Trust (Homestead) since early-2016 to create affordable homeownership opportunities in the Sunset Area. Homestead preserves and advances access to permanently affordable homeownership as a means to create thriving, equitable, and inclusive communities.

The Willowcrest Townhomes project will include 12 permanently affordable 3- and 4-bedroom townhomes for ownership, priced affordably for those who make less than 80% of the King County area median income (e.g., $50,400 for a one-person household and $72,000 for a four-person household).  Through energy-efficient design and quality construction, Homestead will create homes that are economical to own while minimizing their impact on the environment.

The Willowcrest Townhomes project utilizes property owned by RHA which will be conveyed to Homestead for the development. This is the first time that a public entity has donated land to a non-profit entity for affordable housing development in Renton. The development project is part of the Sunset Area Transformation Plan and responds to the need for more affordable homeownership opportunities in the neighborhood.

With the support of the City grant, Homestead plans to construct the homes as a pilot project to achieve specifications of Passive House construction, Net Zero energy, and other deep green building standards.  In addition, Homestead is striving to develop and build the project as a Living Building Challenge demonstration project as part of King County Executive Dow Constantine’s 10 Strategic Climate Action Plan Living Building projects for 2020.

The City’s funds will be used to pay for a number of the Passive House, Net-Zero, and other deep green standard improvements planned for the Willowcrest Townhomes, including:
  • Windows- double pane – LowE, high SHGC
  • Passive house standard insulation (75%+ over code)
  • Passive house air sealing
  • Heat recovery system
  • Energy saving features (e.g.,  kill switches and vacancy sensors)
  • Exterior shading devices
  • Solar panels for the roofs
  • Domestic hot water pre-heat system

Congratulations and thanks to Homestead for their efforts to pursue Net Zero and other deep green building standard improvements for the Willowcrest Townhomes project.  The improvements will establish the Willowcrest Townhomes as an exemplary affordable housing project that will reduce the total cost of ownership and set a high standard for new construction of affordable and market-rate homes elsewhere in the region.