The Friendship Garden’s 40 garden boxes along 12th Street in Everett, shared by Baker Heights and Delta neighborhood residents, seen from overhead. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Friendship Garden’s 40 garden boxes along 12th Street in Everett, shared by Baker Heights and Delta neighborhood residents, seen from overhead. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Architects unveil new details for Baker Heights housing site

The northeast Everett housing development might be greener and taller than neighbors expected.

EVERETT — Redevelopment of Baker Heights may include a mix of 12-story high rises, townhomes and a grocery store with locally grown produce.

Architects behind the project presented new ideas last week, as the Everett Housing Authority continues early planning for the site nestled between North Broadway and East Marine View Drive in the city’s Delta Neighborhood.

“The purpose from our end is to transform and create a new destination in the community in a way that preserves affordability in the long term,” Everett Housing Authority Executive Director Ashley Lommers-Johnson said.

Neighbors had mixed reactions and a lot of suggestions.

“Are we going to turn this into the new metro Everett?” asked Ryan Weber, who chairs the Delta Neighborhood Association.

The agency wants to build 1,500 apartments and other types of multi-family housing over a decade. It intends to offer housing to people with a wide range of incomes, building levels of affordability into the Delta Neighborhood. Grocery clerks and software engineers, for example, would be neighbors at the new development.

The project is the second phase of a development replacing the old Baker Heights, public housing that permanently closed in 2019. The housing authority already has plans for a smaller portion of the roughly 15-acre site. Now it’s determining the future of about 10 acres. A planned sale to Washington State University Everett fell through earlier this year.

A plan for the redeveloped Baker Heights area of north Everett. (GGLO)

A plan for the redeveloped Baker Heights area of north Everett. (GGLO)

Lommers-Johnson said the housing authority will spend at least another year discussing the project with the city and community. It isn’t seeking official approval for a master plan anytime soon.

“The board is aware we are engaging in a significant public process to get to a place where there is agreement of what is happening at the site,” Lommers-Johnson said. “… We’d like to explore, as part of the planning process, whether that potential can be realized. The board is not going to be voting or approving a plan anytime soon.”

Residents expressed concern about the 12-story buildings and said it felt like the proposed buildings kept getting taller.

“It just doesn’t fit,” one resident said. “This is a residential neighborhood.”

However, many liked the proposed green spaces and retail options.

Weber said after the meeting that the association supports more affordable housing in the Delta Neighborhood, but worries an influx of market-rate apartments may gentrify it. Neighbors fear the new development means rents may rise higher than what current residents can afford, he said.

An excavator moves dirt at the Baker Heights project on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

An excavator moves dirt at the Baker Heights project on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

“If the costs go up, where are we going to move?” Weber said.

Residents in some of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods, like Port Gardner, have blocked zoning changes in their own communities in recent years for the opposite reason. In 2020, the Everett City Council voted against rezoning a 3-acre playfield that nonprofit Housing Hope wanted to develop and use to house homeless students.

The lack of housing has driven up rent prices, increasing “market rate” to a price many residents can’t afford. Developers can’t construct taller, denser buildings in single-family zoning areas. Weber said Delta residents fear the new development means they won’t be able to afford housing in any of Everett’s neighborhoods.

Lommers-Johnson said that won’t be the case for current and future Delta residents.

“Part of what we want to do is ensure long-term affordability in the community,” said the executive director. “The last thing we want to do is to push lower-income people out of the city of Everett.”

The Everett Housing Authority won’t know the exact mix of income levels in the buildings until it designs them, Lommers-Johnson said. GGLO principal Jon Hall said the firm will update the Everett Housing Authority Board early next year, or possibly sooner.

Ultimately, the 12-story buildings would require city council approval. Lommers-Johnson said it’s “unlikely” the agency would construct the tallest buildings in the development first, though.

Katie Hayes: katie.hayes@heraldnet.com; @misskatiehayes.

Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County OKs hotel-shelter purchases, won’t require drug treatment

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring efforts failed to delay the vote and failed to require residents to get addiction treatment.

In a nearly empty maternity wing, Chief Administrative Officer Renée Jensen talks about how it has been almost nine years since east-county mothers could give birth at EvergreenHealth Monroe on Monday, April 1, 2019 in Monroe, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
EvergreenHealth Monroe seeks Community Advisors to guide services

Applications for the volunteer positions are due by Sept. 16.

Arlington
1 dead in fire at Arlington RV park

Authorities believe the fatal fire early Wednesday was an accident.

Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project last June in Everett. (Katie Hayes / Herald file) June 29, 2021
State laws prompt changes in Everett city rules for shelters

The city is considering revisions to issue permits more quickly for emergency shelters.

Most Read