Wadajir Residences and Souq

A cooperative housing development will make homeownership possible for residents of Tukwila.

A community creates a home

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, and founding the Abu Bakr Islamic Center, the cultural and spiritual center for Puget Sound’s 30,000-strong Somali community. 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, Abu Bakr leaders saw an opportunity for an inclusive development that would provide not only 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.

Forterra’s involvement

Abu Bakr turned to Forterra for help in buying the property and realizing their vision for attainable housing and a marketplace for local businesses. Drawing from the Strong Communities Fund for social impact investors, Forterra purchased the site and is now working with local residents on the design. Wadajir, “Together” in Somali, will provide comfortable and affordable cooperative housing so that residents can build equity and continue to live together in Tukwila. 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.

A rendering of what Wadajir could look like, built with Cross Laminated Timber.
By Mithun

The future homes and marketplace

Opening in 2022, Wadajir will feature one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. Together, residents own shares in the building and land as members of a cooperatively owned corporation. Members who purchase larger homes receive more shares; however, every home, regardless of size, comes with one vote. With a co-op, residents decide on the management and maintenance of their building.

Wadajir will be built of a new sustainable wood product called cross laminated timber which is both attractive and affordable. There will be a community marketplace on the ground floor with a small restaurant and up to 65 market stalls for small local businesses. The market stalls will be cooperatively owned by the merchants.

What is “attainable housing”?

“Attainable” means that the cost of homes is affordable to the local community. The price is typically calculated as a percentage of area median income. Wadajir will offer homes at a lower cost than comparable ones on the market today.

How to get involved

Support attainable housing and strong communities by making a donation to Forterra or investing in the Strong Communities Fund.

Give to support attainable housing in Tukwila

The Vision:

Help us build a solution — Wadajir Residences and Souq


Don't miss out on the important work we're doing to create a community anchor in Tukwila