The partners behind the re-development of the Liberty Bank site are a group of nonprofit organizations that hold the interests of the community at heart. At a time of rapid change in the neighborhood, we are committed to ensuring that this project lifts up the spirit and vibrancy of the Central District.
(Left to right) Evelyn Thomas Allen, BCIA; Wyking Garrett, Africatown; Andrea Caupain, Byrd Barr Place; Kevin Dawson Jr., Byrd Barr Place; Jaebadiah Gardner, Onpoint Real Estate; Jill Fleming, CHH.
The project partners recognize the unique opportunity the re-development of this site offers, and are approaching it as an opportunity to demonstrate how a community can have a say in how it grows and changes. The partners have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to guide the development of the project.
The project partners will ensure that the building design both appropriately memorializes its history as Liberty Bank and is representative of African American design sensibility.
CHH will work with the Partners and other community partners to identify Black owned subcontractors. The project will also recognize the goals of the City of Seattle’s “priority hire” program.
The Capitol Hill Housing Foundation will commit $5,000 per year for three years to help establish a business innovation fund to support small, Black-owned business development in the Central Area.
CHH will develop a partnership with Centerstone and Africatown that provides the opportunity for African American community-based ownership of the building. Centerstone will have both a right of first offer and first right of refusal to acquire Liberty Bank after 15 years.
CHH will work with Centerstone and Africatown to affirmatively market available rental units to members of the community that have been historically disenfranchised and displaced by past and present policies and practices. CHH will work with the partners to program activities in the building in ways which maximize activation of the building reflective of community priorities. CHH will further work with partners or other organizations to develop or facilitate access to services that provide a pathway to home ownership, business ownership, and wealth building.
The partnership recognizes that one building is not enough to address the growing issue of displacement in the Central District. The project partners will work with the City to explore policies that allow for the prioritization of displaced families and individuals in publicly financed affordable housing.
CHH strives to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. As CHH expands its work in the Central District, it will continue its commitment to diversifying the CHH Board and staff, as recognized in recent hires and appointments as well as ongoing training.
In order to most appropriately honor the history of this location Capitol Hill Housing convened an advisory board including daughters of the original founders, a former executive director of the bank, long time community members, leaders in the Central Area and religious leadership to advise on how to tell the story of Liberty Bank through art, historic documents, and architecture.
In this regard the project partners are indebted to Joquelyn Duncan, Derryl Durden, Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Merle Richlen, George Staggers and Pastor Witherspoon who together represent a cross-section of Central District leadership and a link to the history of Liberty Bank. Their involvement is critical to ensuring that the legacy will be remembered and appropriately honored.
The advisory board released final recommendations in May 2015, and the partners are working to integrate as many of the recommendations as possible into the final design.