Skyrocketing construction costs have hit the newest Anacortes Family Center project, but some help from the City of Anacortes could make a difference.
Labor and supply shortages are pushing costs up.
“It’s outrageously expensive to build anything right now,” center Executive Director Dustin Johnson said.
What was expected to be a $4.5 million project now has an estimated construction-only estimate of $5.3 million, he said.
Now, the Family Center is looking at making up that deficit.
The project is being funded in part (roughly $3 million) by the 1/10th of 1% sales tax passed by area voters in 2019. The center received another $1 million in donations along with another state allocation of $400,000.
The city was able to previously able to get a Community Development Block Grant of $150,000 to help with the project.
Then, construction costs skyrocketed, and the Family Center had to find more money, Johnson said.
To start, it went to the city.
The City Council voted Monday to give the Family Center $500,000 from the general fund to help with the project. The money is freed up in part because of the American Rescue Plan Act, according to city Finance Director Steve Hoglund.
The center will try to raise the rest. All those funding sources will go to pay back a loan for the project, which Johnson said should have permits any day now. Pouring of concrete and work on the site should kick off soon.
The Landing Apartments, will be a four-story building with 21 units of affordable housing, including five that are set aside for income-qualified first responders who work at Island Hospital.
When the project was progressing, stakeholders expressed concern about what would happen during an emergency, Johnson said. If something were to happen that knocked out the bridge to Anacortes, emergency workers who live elsewhere wouldn’t be able to make it to the hospital, he said. Setting aside apartments means an affordable housing option in Anacortes for those workers, he said.
The new apartment building will also include an early learning center on the first floor. The center, run by the Boys and Girls Club, will have space for 40 young people older than age 3 who are not yet in elementary school. Seven of those spots will be reserved for young Anacortes Family Center residents, but most will be kids from across the community, Johnson said.