A historic hotel turned apartments is getting a $26 million facelift and addition in one influential Seattle neighborhood.

Publix Apartments
The Publix Apartments, which stand at the grand entrance of Seattle's Historic International District, closed in 2003. The owner has been awarded a federal tax credit to restore the historic building.

The Publix Hotel, built in 1927, was renovated into affordable housing and then closed in 2003. It sits next to the grand entrance gateway to the city’s Historic International District.

The Moriguchi family, owners of the well-known local Asian grocery store chain Uwajimaya, purchased the building in 2002. When it closed in 2003, the family had every intention to renovate it. But, once the Great Recession took hold on the economy, those plans were stalled.

By 2009, the family hired a consultant to get the project back on track and broke ground in January with the plan to create a new community based off the historical significance of the old hotel.

Rob Affleck, a vice president in the Camas, Washington office of New York-based Berkadia, worked on the deal. It’s special to him because he grew up in Seattle and can recall when the first Uwajimaya store opened in Seattle in the 1980's.

He says the rehab is particularly meaningful to the local Asian immigrant community because the hotel was originally constructed to help house the growing number of immigrants in the area and eventually became affordable housing for the group. And the grocery store bolstered the influence of the Asian community in that part of the city.

“They really had a big voice and stuck up for themselves over the years,” he says. “They really built that part of the city and pushed the City of Seattle to provide housing for them.”

The new community, which will preserve as much history as possible, will include 60 restored units of housing and 65 new units with 28 parking spaces in an underground garage beneath a commercial retail space.

The $26 million construction loan, which was financed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration’s rehab program, is a 40-year, non-recourse loan with an 83% loan-to-value ratio.

Rent is expected to start around $1,000 for a studio and go up to about $1,600 for a two-bedroom unit. The average asking rent in fourth quarter of 2014 for Seattle was $1210.91, according to a report from New York-based research firm Reis.

And while the restoration will become market-rate housing, 20% of the units will be reserved for affordable as well. The affordable studio apartments will be rented out at 655 area median income, or AMI. The affordable one-bedroom units will be leased by individuals with 75% AMI and the affordable two-bedroom units will be reserved for those with 85% AMI.