On Thursday morning the Lockhaven Tenants Union held a press conference at the Lockhaven Apartment complex (3040 NW Market St) to inform the media of their ongoing battle against owners Goodman Real Estate.
Goodman Real Estate purchased the 22-building complex last August from the Ecklund family, who, according to a report by Seattle Weekly, had the building in their family for generations.
My Ballard initially covered the formation of the Lockhaven Tenants Union last September, which formed after tenants in three of the buildings were served with illegal 20 day eviction notices to vacate their homes by property managers at the Pinnacle Family of Companies. These initial vacate notices were reportedly served to tenants in order for the property to undergo extensive renovations.
According to the Seattle Weekly report, through union protest the tenants were able to push back the eviction until April this year. After the April eviction, Goodman Real Estate will then go ahead with the renovation plans, which according to Seattle Weekly, “will increase rent from roughly $890 a month to around $1500 per unit at the high end.”
Thursday’s press conference was well attended by the local media and also by two Seattle City Councilors Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant.
“My concern is that this is just one example of what’s going on around the city,” said Councilmember Nick Licata to Seattle Weekly. “You have tenants seeing their rents dramatically increase when someone comes in, either tears down the building, or buys it and does some remodeling and then starts charging much higher rents. This is a citywide problem,” Licata continued.
Licata spoke at the rally and has been involved with mediation between Lockhaven Tenant’s Union and Goodman Real Estate.
The Lockhaven Tenants Union wrote the following on their blog about the press conference:
Tenants facing displacement after the Lockhaven’s sale to Goodman Real Estate will hold a press conference at the Lockhaven Apartments, speaking about their 6-month struggle to save their homes and their plans for future action to maintain Lockhaven as one of Ballard’s last bastions of market-rate affordable housing for workers, seniors, and people with disabilities.
According to a KING 5 report Goodman Real Estate President George Petrie released the following statement in response to the press conference:
The Lockhaven apartments are more than 50 years old and have reached the end of their physical life. The previous owners put the building on the market at a competitive, full-market price. We purchased the building with the goal of investing several million dollars to make the needed interior and exterior improvements to ensure these unique buildings remain in Ballard for the next 50 years.
Affordability in Seattle is a complex topic and one that we are sympathetic to. We are all apart of this community and housing that is affordable is critical to maintaining a vibrant neighborhood. It’s why we not only worked with the City to provide relocation assistance for all residents who qualified for it, but also retained an on-site relocation specialist to work one-on-one with each resident to help us understand their specific needs and how we can best help them.
That’s included everything from helping them find new apartments in and around Ballard with rents comparable to the Lockhaven, to providing additional financial assistance to those who need it. Additionally, we’re open to being extremely flexible with the timeframe in which residents move – we’ve communicated a very flexible 12-18 month timeframe, which will also help ease this transition. We’re also working individually with any resident who would like to remain at Lockhaven during and after the renovations.
We will continue to work with all residents to do what we can to help. Additionally, we look forward to continuing a dialogue with the City about the tools that can be used to help address affordability in our growing City.
The My Ballard team is in touch with Lockhaven Tenants Union organizer David Stoesz and we will continue to update readers with more information in the coming days.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Weekly.