Wadajir Residences and Souq

Wadajir Market Rendering Forterra

Wadajir Residences and souq

With the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in the 1990s, many refugees left for the United States, settling in Tukwila, growing families, starting small businesses. Today gentrification and development plans threaten to displace many from their homes and storefronts. These are pressures that challenge many communities in our rapidly growing region and create serious challenges to community well-being.
When the site of an old motel came up for sale across from their mosque, leaders from the Abu Bakr Islamic Center, the cultural and spiritual center for Puget Sound’s 30,000-strong Somali community, saw an opportunity. Seeing the possibility in an inclusive development that would provide housing and space for local vendors, but a means to homeownership and equity building — for the Somali community and others in Tukwila. Through ownership, the community can set down roots and be assured of its future.

creating change - together

Abu Bakr reached out to Forterra for assistance in buying the property and realizing their vision for attainable housing and a marketplace for local businesses. Drawing from the Strong Communities Fund I for social impact investors, Forterra purchased the site and is now working towards a community-driven plan that includes a 15,000 sf Souq and international marketplace, up to100 new cooperatively owned homes – with 80 larger two- and three-bedroom homes for families.

With our partner and engaged community members, we are customizing the co-op legal structure of collective ownership and management so that it reflects the values and needs of the community.
Wadajir, “Together” in Somali, will provide comfortable and affordable cooperative housing so that residents can build equity and continue to live together in Tukwila.
  • Cooperative Housing – residents own shares in the building and land as members of a limited equity, cooperative non-profit corporation. Learn more about cooperative housing.
  • Sustainable — Wadajir will be built out of a sustainable product called Cross Laminated Timber.
  • Community Driven Development — a community marketplace on the ground floor with a small restaurant and up to 65 market stalls for small local businesses will be available.


In partnership with Abu Bakr Islamic Center and the community, Wadajir is community-driven development that will establish affordable housing and an International Market in Tukwila.


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Forterra and its partners continue to seek community input and is currently working on key agreements that will bring approximately 100 units of cooperatively owned homes and a community marketplace in the heart of Tukwila.

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