When it comes to housing, we see it as our responsibility to create high-quality places people are proud to call home—within any budget, location, or timeline. At Mercy Othello Plaza, we created 108 affordable homes by working closely with our client and the city to obtain entitlement and permits in a rapid 11.5 months. The financing package and the design were developed simultaneously, and two separate structures made the most of a tight budget.
Access to public transportation is critical for many Seattle residents, especially those without cars. Mercy Othello Plaza is designed to connect residents to the rhythm of the nearby transit center. Built on a triangular site, the two buildings are oriented toward the light rail station. Residents can walk to the end of each corridor and see the station, watch trains arrive, and catch theirs on time.
Mercy Othello catches each commuter eye with bold red and white stripes on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Lighter building masses at the site corners anchor each building and flank the residential entry between them. Thick, 2X8 walls in in both buildings make Mercy Othello an energy-efficient and quiet home, with air-infiltration quality on par with Passive House design. Reinforced windows on the transit and MLK side also keeps inside spaces quiet.
Stacked units, vertical circulation cores, and thorough building envelope and ventilation strategies ensure a quality design that is affordable to build, maintain, and operate.
When residents are ready to join and make some noise, they have a multi-purpose community space on the second level that spills out onto the upper level courtyard through an operable partition. There’s also a community kitchen, computer workstations, and Mercy Housing Northwest offices that bring together residents and the outside community for after school programs and ESL classes.