Mercy Othello Plaza is one of those projects that face numerous
design challenges, but the solutions result in a building that is all the
better for it. Providing 108 affordable housing units in a transit-oriented,
mixed-use development, Ankrom Moisan designed the building to activate the street
and spark new energy in a neighborhood in transition.
The challenges—and opportunities—of Mercy Othello Plaza
start with its 32,000 sq. ft. site. A nearly triangular-shaped wedge, it is located
a short walk from Othello Station, a south Seattle stop on the Sound Transit
Link light rail line. Immediately south of the parcel is the utilities
transformer structure and special truck parking area for the Sound Transit
The team working on Mercy Othello Plaza collaborated to create
ground floor flexibility and a comfortable mix of uses serving neighborhood and
transit needs. The street level spaces will serve as the headquarters offices
of Mercy Housing Northwest when the building opens, yet be easy to convert to
retail uses in the future. An inviting, one-story entry pavilion opens to public
space linking to the transit station plaza. Continuous paving design and landscaping
unify the spaces.
Community and residential uses mix easily and clearly. Mercy
Housing offices have their own front door facing the main sidewalk, while the single-story
lobby greets residents and the community. Its roof becomes a landscaped public terrace
overlooking the plaza, and angling back to create a gateway to a private residential
courtyard beyond. Extending the length of the site, this landscaped, linear
courtyard is a haven for residents of the two, five-story apartment wings. Ground
floor parking tucks under the linear courtyard.
Successfully designing to solve myriad challenges, even on
an affordable housing budget, is part of what makes AMA relish projects like
these…and it is also part of what keeps our clients coming back for future
projects. While Mercy Housing Northwest is a new client, Imagine Housing, REACH
Community Development, and BRIDGE Housing are repeat clients with whom we have collaborated
on multiple, award-winning affordable housing projects in Washington, Oregon,
To learn more about Ankrom Moisan’s work in affordable
housing, click here.