Ballard apartment residents worry renovations will price them out

SEATTLE -- Residents in a Ballard apartment building say the wave of upscale apartments moving in is forcing them out.

The Lockhaven got a new owner in the last year, and the owner plans to renovate the units. Residents have been told they will have to move out while the building gets a facelift

"I just don't understand why real estate developers have more rights only because they have more money to get what they want, I suppose," said resident Gail Engler.

Last year, after the sale, notices were posted on doors, saying people had to leave in 20 days. But the city said for renovations, the owner needed to give more time and financial help. They say they've done that.

"We have gone above and beyond what the city requires for relocation assistance to help them," said Natalie Quick with the Lockhaven Apartments. "We've provided about $35,000 to 23 residents who qualified for relocation assistance."

Now a six month reprieve is about to be over. Lockhaven residents say after the place is spruced up, rents will be jacked up and they won't be able to afford to return.

"We need more people to stand up and realize Lockhaven is not the first and it wont be the last to be taken over by wealthy developers and what for? more profit?" said resident Jet Terrell. "When is enough going to be enough?"

Quick says they've hired a relocation specialist.

"She's found about nearly 30 units that are in and around Ballard that are in about the same affordability range, and is working with folks," Quick said. "We don't have to do this. These are things we are going above and beyond to do."

But residents say this is just one fight in a greater battle to keep affordable housing in Seattle.

"We are the workforce we live here and we deserve affordable housing," Engler said.

The owners of Lockhaven say after the renovations are complete, the rents will still be lower than other comparable apartments in the area.