Rainier Vista Master Plan

Project Description

875 units of market-rate & public housing (mix of 481 public housing rental townhouses & apartments and 394 market-rate, for-sale and rental townhouses and apartments)

Client: Seattle Housing Authority
Contractor for site infrastructure & public housing in Phases 1 & 2: Walsh Construction Co.
Contractor for public housing in Phase 3: Absher Construction Co.


  • AIA Washington 2010 Civic Design Merit Award for the Rainier Vista Master Plan and Redevelopment

One of the Seattle Housing Authority’s three major public housing redevelopments in Seattle funded in part by the federal government’s HOPE VI grant program, the project replaced 481 World War II era public housing units on a curvilinear street system with a new mixed-income, mixed use community of 1010 residential units with office, retail, institutional and recreational space on an entirely new, mostly rectilinear, street grid with improved connection and relationship to the overall city street grid. The site’s 67 acres were rezoned in conjunction with the location Sound Transit’s light rail line that bisects the site and includes a station just to the south. The urban design and planning effort centered on creating a New Urbanist community, both transit-oriented and pedestrian-oriented and fully integrated into the existing surrounding neighborhood. The design of buildings and the project’s design guidelines created for later infill development of market-rate housing reflect the new zoning. The rail station is ringed by concentric zones of buildings- more dense and more-intense mixed-use residential/commercial buildings at the center, surrounded by dense apartment buildings, followed by a zone of townhouses and duplexes, and at the outer reaches of the site single-family houses farthest from the station. Parks, playgrounds P-patches, facilities for social service providers, and indoor and outdoor recreational uses are fully integrated into the site to serve residents of Rainier Vista and its surroundings. Preserved trees from the existing site were also carefully integrated into the plan as focal points for various portions of the site. As part of the New Urbanist aspect of the site planning, parking is kept out of public view of the streets, accessed by alleys in the rear of each block, under buildings in garages, or behind street-facing building facades.