In 1991, the federal government declared the base, consisting of 150 acres with it 5000 feet of lake shore, a mix of hangers, community and service buildings and housing, Surplus Property. Under the terms of the McKinney Act, the government provided the opportunity for the city to acquire the naval station for $1, if it provided a plan for housing and services for the homeless.
The 1993 Master Plan titled “At Home At Sand Point” was prepare by the Seattle-King County Coalition for the Homeless, and was primarily authored by the Cedar River Associates and Tonkin/Hoyne Architecture & Urban Design (now known as Tonkin Architecture) as the lead consultants. The lead agency for the study was the Fremont Public Association, now Solid Ground which serves currently as the owner/operators of the renovated and new homeless housing at Magnuson Park, formally the Sand Point Naval Air Station.
The Master Plan for homeless housing, outlined in the study, concentrated on renovation existing barracks and officers housing and the creation of new housing for the homeless all located at the southwestern corner of the base. The study was instrumental in the City of Seattle’s successful bid to secure the entire base for a park and homeless housing and services. After the city acquired the base Tonkin/Hoyne assisted with the renovation of the initial buildings and provided design studies for the development of the planned 106 units of new housing for homeless families. In 2005 Solid Ground began its effort to develop the new housing on several sites located between the renovated existing barrack and officers housing, now declared part of a city and national historic landmark district.
Tonkin Architecture was selected to design the new housing. The initial phase, Brettler Family Place, was completed in 2011, consisted of 2 buildings with 52 new apartments and townhouses for formerly homeless families. This phase also included the construction of the Lowry Community Center to provide services for the homeless families. The final 54 units of new family housing, built in 2 buildings, were completed in 2013. One of these, which houses 15 family apartments, is a third building at Brettler Family Place. The other is a new 39 unit building named Phyllis Gutiérrez-Kenney Place.
Building 9, the historic brick 200,000 square foot barrack, is one of the key pieces of the study’s proposal that remains to be completed. The 1993 study initially recommended that the building could be reused for homeless housing; however, an agreement by the city limited the number of homeless units, both renovated and new to 200, thus eliminating that use for Building 9. However, the state is currently considering the reuse and redevelopment of Building 9 into other types of dwelling uses such as Workforce Housing.