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Griswold Building Demolition Making Way for Old 99 Flats
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Griswold Building Demolition Making Way for Old 99 Flats

A Five-Story Mixed Use Building

On May 4, 2021, the Olympia City Council allowed the City of Olympia to enter into a purchase and sale agreement for the 308-310 4th Avenue property. In 2004, the building currently on this site burned down. The city acquired the property in 2016 and entered into an agreement with a different development team shortly thereafter to redevelop the property. That project was not able to get off the ground. This developer has a record of successfully developing mixed-use projects in Olympia and the agreement requires moving forward with construction quickly following the demolition and sale. 

Now, the City is demolishing the current building (demolition began on February 28) and selling the property to Urban Olympia, a local development firm headed by Walker John, for $50,000. In exchange, the community gains 20 years of guaranteed additional affordable housing and the removal of the blight that has tarnished this section of 4th Avenue for 17 years.

The agreement requires Urban Olympia to lease 60% of the units for rent for “affordable low-income housing” for the first 12 years and then reduces that requirement to 30% and then 20% of the units in the out years of the agreement. The developer has proposed a five-story mixed-use building with retail space with some common and building amenity spaces, plus some parking on the first floor. The four stories above would accommodate 48 units and a rooftop common area, this would include 29 affordable units for the first 12 years and then 14 - 10 affordable units for the following eight years. The project will need to complete code (currently in progress) and land use reviews and then acquire construction permits before beginning work and these processes generally require a year or more.

Partnerships like this are one of the ways the City is expanding the number of affordable dwelling units available to community members and those who choose to live downtown. We estimate that constructing these same units would cost over $5,000,000 at recent construction cost estimates. The City of Olympia will continue to explore more private and public sector investments and partnerships to meet our city’s housing needs. 

The City looks forward to the day when the Griswold’s blight will be replaced with a beautiful new building that provides affordable housing to residents of our community.

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