Kirkland City Council member Toby Nixon speaks at the Athene grand opening. Courtesy photo

Kirkland City Council member Toby Nixon speaks at the Athene grand opening. Courtesy photo

Senior housing property opens in Totem Lake

Athene offers 91 apartments, 20 of which are reserved for seniors exiting homelessness

A Kirkland-based nonprofit is expanding the Totem Lake business district with a senior housing property that offers 91 apartments, 20 of which are reserved for seniors exiting homelessness.

Imagine Housing hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting last month for its newest apartment building, Athene. Athene aims to provide affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors.

“This new community will meet that need for over 100 low-income seniors,” Sen. Manka Dhingra of the 45th Legislative District said in a press release. “That’s why affordable housing options, like this one, are so critical.”

Athene began accepting new residents in December 2017 and will continue moving them in until roughly next week. The new apartment building helps fill a rapidly growing affordable housing need on the Eastside and throughout the greater Seattle area.

“Housing prices continue to rise on the Eastside and affordability is a serious issue for seniors who have lived here, often for decades, and can no longer afford to live in their communities,” Dhingra added in the release. “Everyone needs affordable, stable and safe homes.”

The Athene building offers onsite health and wellness services with community spaces that are handicap accessible. The building is located at 12531 N.E. 124th St., which is within a mile of The Village at Totem Lake, and will eventually feature a view of the Totem Lake Connector bridge.

Kirkland City Council members voiced support for Athene as they continue to prioritize affordable housing throughout the city.

Council member Toby Nixon attended the Athene grand opening and highlighted community teamwork as an important step toward adequate housing for local seniors. Nixon mentioned that Athene and other similar projects in particular, work toward the council’s goals for the city.

“One of the City Council’s goals is to ensure housing options that meet a diverse range of needs,” said council member Tom Neir, chair of the council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, in the release. “Projects like Athene, with its focus on affordable choices for seniors, are critical in moving our community closer to achieving that goal.”

Nixon added that Athene also meets council’s goal for human services, which aims to meet the basic needs of the community and remove barriers to opportunity within Kirkland.

Villette Nolon, executive director of Imagine Housing said the City of Kirkland has been very progressive and helpful in developing Athene. Nolon thanked the city, independent funders and the community for supporting the project.

The grand opening featured several other speakers, including King County Executive Dow Constantine and Kim Herman, executive director of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

According to a press release, funding for Athene’s development is provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce, King County, Washington Community Reinvestment Association, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the King County Housing Authority, several other business investors and the Eastside Housing Trust Fund.

“We are proud to partner with supporters and experts who share an understanding that building quality, affordable housing strengthens the Eastside and allows all residents to thrive,” said Nolon. “We want to provide our senior neighbors the opportunity for quality affordable housing in their chosen community.”

A Regional Coalition for Housing administers the trust fund, which is funded by a number of cities, including Kirkland, Bellevue, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Kenmore, Medina, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville and Yarrow Point.

Imagine Housing is an Eastside affordable housing developer that operates 14 apartment buildings that serve more than 1,400 people across six Eastside cities, including Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond and Sammamish.

According to Nolon, the Athene is almost fully leased and will likely serve 30 seniors who are transitioning out of homelessness.

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