by: Deborah Horne Updated:
"I pay $795 for a two bedroom." Even Marla Parisi admits she has gotten a good deal in the 20 years she has lived in Ballard's Lockhaven apartments. "I realize that is like nowhere else in the city," said the unemployed single mother. But Lockhaven's new owners are beginning a multimillion dollar renovation and residents fear their rents could double, even triple. "I would say 95 percent of the people in here can't afford that kind of money," said Parisi.
A local apartment research firm reported in September that Seattle's rents are among the fastest-rising in the nation. According to Dupree+Scott, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in or near downtown Seattle is more than $1,400. That's up nearly 9 percent in just one year. And rents are expected to rise another 3 percent through March.
The new owners of Lockhaven have sent letters to the residents here telling them they have anywhere from five to 15 months to move out. But move out they must while these buildings are being renovated.
"We're moving." The owner of this hair salon inside Lockhaven says the fear that his $925-a-month rent will go up, is forcing him out for good, and soon. "I am not waiting for the ax to fall," said Tom Longtine. "I'm a businessman. I have to keep things kind of going here. I can't have a lull in business."
Parisi expects to be gone soon, too. "It's really sad," she said. "And I'm really going to miss this area."
There is some help. The city of Seattle requires landlords to cover $3,000 in moving costs for tenants displaced by massive renovation.