Work has begun on a rental development at Wyatt & Madison. With the ground cleared and graded, it’s hard to remember what was once there—an unassuming yellow building with 13 affordable homes that Housing Kitsap was looking to sell, HRB was hoping to buy, and the community was trying to protect.  

Last month, Madison Avenue Development (MAD) broke ground at Wyatt & Madison, an 80-unit rental complex at the corner of its namesake streets and encompassing the site of a former Housing Kitsap apartment building known by its address, 550 Madison Avenue. The developer is selling 13 units to HRB, at the cost to build. HRB will add them to its community land trust where they will be kept permanently affordable to families and individuals earning at or below 50% area median income. The other 67 units will be market-rate and available to households at any income.

To understand HRB’s involvement in Wyatt & Madison, it’s worth revisiting the story of 550 Madison Avenue—a story of community action and unexpected partnership that prevented the loss of 13 affordable homes.

In 2019, the financially strapped Housing Kitsap was looking to sell its 13-unit property. The residents launched a passionate campaign, “Save 550 Madison Avenue,” broadcasting their plight on social media, petitioning Housing Kitsap, and ultimately generating widespread support in a community growing increasingly concerned with the lack of affordable housing.

HRB was likewise concerned and made a bid to buy the property and preserve the units in one form or another. MAD submitted a bid too. It planned to develop the site, along with its adjoining parcels, as an 80-unit market-rate apartment complex.

Subsequent conversations revealed MAD also wanted to preserve the affordable units. HRB and MAD ultimately entered into an agreement that would allow HRB to purchase 13 homes at the cost to build and add them to its community land trust, ensuring that they remain affordable in perpetuity to low-income households. The result would be a mixed-income residential community, addressing the need for housing across the income spectrum. To support the purchase, HRB raised $300,000 from the community in just five weeks.

In partnership with Helpline House and the 550 residents, HRB worked to find new homes for those who needed help and offered all first right of refusal for the new units (assuming they are still income eligible).

In September 2021, City Council committed $2 million from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support HRB’s purchase at Wyatt & Madison. HRB and housing advocates rejoiced. The acquisition of the 13 units is expected to cost HRB $4 million. The ARPA funds, in addition to those already secured by HRB, meant fundraising for Wyatt & Madison would be nearly complete.

In the two years since, HRB has completed fundraising for the project. All that remains is for the homes to be built, and as you can see today, construction has begun. The expected completion date for Wyatt & Madison is early 2025. Track developments here.

A rendering of the future Wyatt & Madison