With vision for ‘African American communities and spaces of the future,’ Africatown Plaza will be next to take shape in the Central District

Community members met this week for an all-day design symposium at Washington Hall in the Central District to plan “African American communities and spaces of the future” around the Puget Sound.

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The event follows a major development in the Central District with the opening of the Liberty Bank Building and comes as the early design process for Africatown Plaza at Midtown, another fully affordable development around the 23rd and Union core, is about to begin.

“Overall, working to make sure that we still have a heart and soul and a place of unity and community,” the Africatown Community Land Trust’s K. Wyking Garrett said Saturday, before giving a shout out to last weekend’s Umoja Fest Parade, a Central Area staple since the 1940s. He wants Africatown, however, to be more than just these major celebrations, but places “where we can experience Black culture, Black music, Black culinary genius from throughout the diaspora.”


The Liberty Bank Building

At 24th and Union, the Capitol Hill Housing-led Liberty Bank Building now provides more than 100 affordable homes after opening this spring. Africatown hopes the new building can be a springboard for more equitable development in a neighborhood that has seen increased gentrification and felt the effects of mass incarceration in recent years.

Next will come Africatown Plaza at Midtown on the southern end of the Midtown Center block. Being planned as 130 units of 100% affordable housing plus street-level retail and commercial space, the project will be built at 23rd and Spring, just down from the Liberty Bank Building on the south end of the site of the former Midtown Plaza. It will include around 130 affordable housing units, specifically for “those who have been displaced due to rising rents,” as well as several thousand square feet of retail space, as previously reported by CHS.

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