gentrification | KNKX

gentrification

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 19, 2018.  

The rising cost of Seattle real estate isn’t just affecting housing: it’s also bearing down on houses of worship.

The tide of rising rents and gentrification has pushed a string of churches out of Seattle neighborhoods such as the Central District and West Seattle. And that’s had an interesting side effect in nearby Skyway, wedged between Seattle and Renton.

Will James / KNKX

 


To stand outside Bob’s Bar-B-Q Pit in Tacoma is to see a gentrification wave just beginning to curl.

 

A block away, a new artisanal coffee shop is brewing. Down the street, a developer plans to build an apartment building with studios renting for up to $1,400 a month.

 

But to walk inside Bob’s is to walk into the past.

 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

The site of Washington state's first black-owned bank is on its way to becoming what developers hope will be a hub for the neighborhood's modern black community.

The Liberty Bank project on 24th Avenue and East Union Street broke ground Monday. The groundbreaking ceremony coincided with Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Like many new developments in the Central District and around the city, the project is set to become high-rise housing with businesses on the ground floor.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A deal has been reached between the owners, a developer and two nonprofits on a valuable piece of property in Seattle's Central District.

Lake Union Partners has agreed to buy the old Midtown Center property on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street for $23.25 million.

The property is one of the last full blocks of undeveloped land in the city and lies at the historical heart of Seattle's black community.

Renderings courtesy of Mithun

Six King County African-American groups are vowing to collaborate to break the cycle of poverty in their communities. The groups cite a growing wealth gap between blacks and their white neighbors.

A study commissioned by the organizations explores factors behind this disparity. The groups gathered stories from more than 500 African-Americans who live and work in the Seattle area.  

Simone Alicea / KNKX

When it comes to issues of public safety, it's usually good for neighbors to get together and talk about it.

That's what Sara Mae thought. She owns 701 Coffee on 23rd Avenue and Cherry Street in Seattle's Central District. 

She recently held a community meeting at the shop to talk about how to make the neighborhood safer. She says there's been a recent spate of shootings, which are up citywide.

But what erupted in Mae's coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon gets at the core of what it's like to live and work in a place that has been upended by change. 

Inye Wokoma / Courtesy of "Shelf Life"

The Red Apple Market is a social hub of Seattle’s Central District.

When filmmaker Jill Freidberg heard the grocery store was going to be demolished this year, she saw it as a call to start telling the stories of her gentrifying neighborhood.

Zac Davis Photography

Zac Davis has lived all around the Puget Sound region — Issaquah, Bellevue, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island. But about six years ago, he moved to Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood.

He was drawn to the vibrancy of the area, pulsing with different languages and cultures. He describes this as we walk down the street, past African women with their heads covered and moving smoothly in their long robes.

“In my cul-de-sac alone, there’s probably four languages spoken, and yet we manage to have a block party every summer,” he said. “It makes us stronger.”