Maybe it’s me, but I sure do enjoy seeing some community-conscious projects taking shape across the Pacific Northwest.

I recently did a piece that ran in the print edition of Northwest Construction Magazine showcasing two different affordable housing complexes going up in Portland. The Resource Access Center for the Homeless — which has been drawing national attention — not only aims to jump-start development in Old Town, but it also shoots for LEED gold by offering apartments and employment, housing and treatment counseling. The Pearl Family Housing apartment complex in the Pearl District wants LEED silver with its six-story, 138-unit complex.

But those aren’t the only projects in the Pacific Northwest reaching out to the community. Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle will start in January on The Hope Center, a seven-story church/outreach center/affordable-housing complex designed by Seattle’s Olson Kundig Architects and SMR Architects.

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The $20 million project is broken into three sections. The five-story affordable housing portion will take up 32,000 square feet and cost $11.5 million. The Kindred Center, including the church’s revamped sanctuary, is 25,500 square feet and at a cost of $6.75 million. The basement, the Hope Center, is $2.25 million for 13,000 square feet. The three components work together to create a social-service hub based at the church.

The Seattle office of CMS Keller is handling construction management and RAFN Construction Company of Bellevue, Wash., will serve as the general contractor.

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Overall, the property aims to serve more than 15,000 disadvantaged women, children and men when the variety of services offered nearby and through the church gather under the one roof, all with the goal of helping Seattle’s Campaign To End Homelessness.

Instead of selling the Denny Triangle property in Seattle and moving out of the city, the church decided instead to do something beneficial for the community: stay. 

Staying required getting their hands dirty with fundraising, building and the long-term commitment of serving. But Gethsemane Lutheran Church is doing it all right, with a top-notch design and a plan that will serve the surrounding area. Sure, maybe it’s just me, but it is nice to see such a community-minded, people-centered project. And the construction industry gets to be a part of it too.