The University of Washington is proposing a plan to increase student and family housing, expand affordable housing, and increase opportunities for student/employee childcare. A development partner has been selected and will be presented to the Board of Regents for approval in the 2023-24 academic year.
Benefits of the project to students and the University
Maintaining the number of low-cost apartments and keeping rent below what it would be if the existing facilities were retained
- All 160 low rental rate apartments currently existing at Laurel and Blakeley Villages will be replaced at Radford Court (117 already-existing apartments) and the newly developed Laurel Village (43 new apartments).
- All properties will be developed using not-for-profit tax-exempt financing, which relieves for-profit market pressures, thus keeping rents lower.
- New apartments at Laurel Village and existing family apartments at Radford Court replace aging units at Laurel and Blakeley Villages that need extensive remodeling and are near the end of their lifespan.
- The 160 apartments will be rented at 50 percent Area Median Income (AMI), resulting in less expensive rents than if the necessary bathroom and kitchen remodels were done at aging Laurel and Blakeley Villages. Rents would need to be increased to pay for the bathroom and kitchen remodels, for a minimum increase of $250 per month per unit.
Expanding the number of student housing options keeping the rents consistent with current rates
- Rental rates will remain comparable to the current rental rates for Radford and Nordheim Courts.
- Blakeley Village will no longer be family housing and will close in early 2026 and reopen in summer 2028, with 1,000 new single student beds in a similar configuration to Nordheim Court and rental rates consistent with Nordheim Court rental rates.
- Laurel Village will close in early 2026 and reopen with ~320 apartments available to students with families. This will increase family apartments by ~160. There will be 43 apartments at 50% AMI and the other apartments will be at market rates.
- The combined leases for Radford and Nordheim Courts will help to pay for a new 800 bed residence hall (replacing demolished Haggett Hall) and renovations to Hansee Hall and McMahon Hall.
- This agreement allows this housing growth without rental increases above inflation for on-campus students, while also providing affordable rents in nicer apartments for students living in UW family housing and single student apartments.
Expanding childcare options
- 53 additional childcare spaces will be added to the existing capacity at Laurel Village for UW families.
Students, then faculty and staff, the priority for rentals
- All apartments are provided for UW students. If not rented by students, the next priority group is UW faculty and staff.
- The UW will participate in a property review board with the development partner. This board will oversee rental rates, property budgets, resident concerns, and other issues pertinent to shared oversight.
- Laurel Village will close in early 2026 and reopen in summer 2028, with the 43 family housing 2- and 3-bedroom 50 percent AMI apartments. There will also be 22 affordable 70 percent AMI apartments and 247 market rate apartments. The rest of the family housing apartments (117 units) will be at Radford Court.
- Residents living in Laurel and Blakely can relocate to Radford Court to the 50 percent AMI units in summer 2024, with priority given to residents who signed agreements prior to September 15, 2022.
The development partner and the non-profit model align with the UW’s priorities
- The University has selected a highly qualified developer/investor in student housing with experienced partners for architecture, financing, and property management.
- The University will present the development partner’s proposal to the Board of Regents for approval in the 2023-24 academic year.
- The proposed development partner owns and manages successful student housing focused properties in Seattle and additional non-student focused properties. It is an international firm that owns and manages over 85,000 student housing beds in the United States.
- The non-profit model was used in 2000 to develop the existing Radford and Nordheim Courts. This methodology is not new and works well for the UW and UW students.
If the UH4 Project does not proceed:
- Delays delivery of additional on-campus beds and renovations for about a decade, bringing substantially increased cost which would likely need to be covered by increased rental rates.
- Required kitchen and bath remodels will increase rents at Laurel and Blakeley Villages by at least $250 per month, which is more than the difference in what the new apartments would rent for compared to today’s rates. Maintenance costs at those properties also continue to increase as the buildings move past their lifespan.
- No additional childcare will be provided unless other funding sources are identified.
- Hansee and McMahon Halls continue to deteriorate and provide increasingly less desirable housing options. In addition, they will require higher than average financial support to maintain.