Plaza Roberto Maestas Receives $7.9 Million towards Building the “Beloved Community”

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For Immediate Release
December 11, 2013

Press Contact: Yunuen Castorena

Seattle – On December 5, El Centro de la Raza (ECDLR) was awarded $7.9 million from the City of Seattle Office of Housing, as part of the Housing Levy, for construction of Plaza Roberto Maestas (PRM) a mixed-use community with an anticipated early 2015 ground breaking date

“This is a significant award to the Latino community and communities of color that will allow us to build assets and meet multiple community needs including economic development, affordable housing for low-income working families, high quality affordable early childhood education, and affordable multicultural community/civic gathering spaces.” Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza.

PRM is a community-inspired, equitable transit-oriented development project on Seattle’s Beacon Hill adjacent to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station and next to ECDLR. PRM will provide:

  • 113 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable rental housing for working individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of area median income,
  • A 5,800 square foot permanent expansion of our award winning José Martí Child Development Center serving diverse income families,
  • 3,900 square feet of flexible street level retail and restaurant space and micro-business development spaces,
  • A 5,400 square foot multicultural community center, 4,500 square feet of office space, and an 11,000 square foot public plaza.

“PRM represents a bold step forward for ECDLR and a major step forward for the surrounding community,” says Estela Ortega.

The project’s location next to a light rail station will provide direct access to SeaTac airport and communities south of Seattle, the downtown core, and the University of Washington, allowing residents to live in quality affordable housing near educational and economic opportunities. Residents will also have direct access to ECDLR’s 44 current programs and services in the adjacent historic schoolhouse building.

Sightline Institute estimates that the residents of Plaza Roberto Maestas will make consumer purchases of roughly $3.98 million per year strengthening the local business community of Beacon Hill.

Input from the surrounding Beacon Hill community and ECDLR constituents has helped shape the design of the project enabling us to create a plan that serves the needs of our organization, our clients and the broader Beacon Hill community. This project highlights an integrated approach to housing, land use, environmental planning, public transportation, community infrastructure, unique programs that promote a healthier community and aligned workforce opportunities.

It is estimated that the project will create over 150 construction, engineering, and design jobs during development with 40 or more permanent jobs, once complete.

Plaza Roberto Maestas represents the realization of the hopes and dreams of the diverse group of ordinary people who founded El Centro de la Raza over 41 years ago. This project will be a physical manifestation of the work of the organization in building Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community”. Throughout the years tens of thousands of volunteers and friends have helped ECDLR grow to an organization that in 2012 served over 18,500 children, families and individuals through the hard work of 91 dedicated employees and a budget of almost $6 million annually.

In addition to the generous award from the City of Seattle Office of Housing, funding for this $40 million project will include a mix of equity from the sale of low-income housing tax credits, private debt, and donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations raised through a capital campaign.

Partners on this project include our development consultant, Beacon Development Group, our design team led by SMR Architects, and our pre-construction services General Contractor, Walsh Construction.

Estela Ortega is available for interviews by calling (206) 957-4605 or emailing For more information, please visit