Community Roots Housing: Hazel Plaza


Hazel Plaza is a HUD-assisted multifamily rental property consisting of two buildings with 14 two- and three-bedroom townhouses and 4 one-bedroom flats. Hazel Plaza was built in 1971 and renovated in 1992 after Commuity Roots Housing (CRH) acquired the property. CRH identified a set of upgrade projects in order to preserve the structure, better control energy costs, and improve tenant comfort and well-being. 


Community Roots Housing partnered with Environmental Works Community Design Center for architectural services and the Rafn Company as the general contractor and identified three key areas to focus on during the renovation: the building envelope, HVAC & domestic hot water equipment, and lighting. Key elements of the retrofit included:

  • New fiber cement rain screen siding system, including 2” exterior rigid insulation (R-8) and new continuous air infiltration barrier over the existing plywood wall sheathing and R-11 wall insulation
  • Vinyl windows and sliding glass patio doors with argon-filled, low-e glazed units. The typical window U-value is 0.26, and the typical sliding glass door U-value is 0.29
  • Cove heaters in bedrooms and ENERGY STAR/CEE Tier 1 rated heat pumps in living area
  • Bathroom exhaust fans that provide continuous whole-house ventilation for better indoor air quality
  • 91% efficient Energy Star-rated hot water heaters
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures conserve water and electric use by reducing cold and hot water use
  • Energy Star-rated interior and exterior light fixtures with LED lamps

The energy efficiency upgrades were part of a larger project renovating the property as a whole, which cost just under $1.3M.  Financing was accomplished with a mix of the owner’s capital replacement reserves and a bank loan.  The heat pumps were installed with a grant of approximately $45,000 from the City of Seattle Office of Housing (and are not included in the project cost numbers). Other upgrades to Hazel Plaza included:

  • Roof, gutters, and downspouts
  • New resilient flooring and formaldehyde-free cabinets and counters in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, mirrors and medicine cabinets
  • New window sills and window treatments
  • Selective replacement of interior doors
  • Site improvements including drought-tolerant and native landscaping, repairing damaged paved surfaces and perimeter fencing

Other Benefits

Given the range of building types and vintages in Community Roots Housing’s portfolio, the organization expects to continue its retrofitting efforts well into the future. This project brought more experience to the Community Roots team in news areas like in occupied rehab, energy efficiency, building envelope replacement, and the financing structures necessary to pull it all off. Most importantly, the project was completed as an occupied rehab. Communication with residents and coordination of work to minimize impact was a big priority for the project team. One existing vacant unit was used as a “jump unit,” available to residents while their kitchens and bathrooms were being renovated, and all interior work was done as quickly as possible to shorten the inconvenience to each household.

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Hazel Plaza

Hazel Plaza

Hazel Plaza

Hazel Plaza