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Sunset Area (Renton Highlands)

 Sunset Area (Renton Highlands)

Renton team pursues funding to implement Sunset Area Transformation Plan

The City of Renton has been working with the Renton Housing Authority, the Renton School District, and other partners for more than ten years to help revitalize the Sunset Area. As part of our efforts to secure additional resources to advance our community revitalization efforts and better respond to additional community needs, the City, Renton Housing Authority, and Renton School District joined with the King County Housing Authority, Neighborhood House, and many other regional and community partners to apply to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2015 and 2016 for a $25 to $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) grant for the Sunset Area Transformation Plan. HUD received more than thirty CNI applications each year. 

The CNI funds would be a massive catalyst to provide replacement housing for the former 100-unit Sunset Terrace public housing project and build additional affordable and market rate housing, support critical community and economic development initiatives in the Sunset Area, and provide education and supportive services for current and future residents in the neighborhood over a five-year CNI-grant period.  For more information, see the Sunset Area Transformation Plan website.

The Sunset Area Transformation Plan includes substantial new affordable and market rate housing as part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization program with currently 28 local or regional stakeholders and partners. In addition to the five principal partners listed above, the following entities agreed to be CNI anchor institutions and to provide significant leverage and support for the Sunset Area Transformation Plan: Renton Technical College, UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center, The Boeing Company, HealthPoint, Renton Chamber of Commerce, King County Library System, The Road Map Project, The Renton Salvation Army, HomeSight. Additional community partners include Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, College Access Now, Homestead Community Land Trust, Rebuilding Together Seattle, St. Vincent de Paul - Centro Rendu, and Renton Area Youth Services. Additional leverage partners include The Ballmer Group, King County, JP Morgan Chase, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, RBC Capital Markets, Seattle Foundation, Renton Rotary Foundation, and First Financial Northwest Foundation. The above 28 partners combined to provide $171 million in leverage to support the Sunset Area Transformation Plan for the 2016 CNI application, but the majority of the funds were contingent upon receiving a CNI grant.

The vision of the Sunset Area Transformation Plan starts with the redevelopment of the distressed former 100-unit Sunset Terrace public housing project and its replacement with more dense, high quality, and sustainable housing that will be a catalyst for new private housing and business investment in the community. The plan addresses many aspects of life in the Sunset Area, including improving existing housing quality, creating neighborhood improvements, and providing wrap-around place-based community services. The goal is to leverage additional private and public resources to revitalize the Sunset Area as a healthy, mixed income community and provide support and opportunities for low income families.

Renton's Sunset Area Transformation Plan CNI application was a finalist in 2015, but unfortunately the plan did not receive a CNI grant in 2015 or 2016. The City, Renton Housing Authority, and other partners are working to implement some elements of the Sunset Area Transformation Plan with other available resources at this time. The Renton team may apply again for a CNI grant in the future, if available and applicable, and is pursuing alternative public and private funds to implement additional elements of the Sunset Area Transformation Plan in the future.   


Kirkland Avenue Townhomes Ribbon Cutting

Kirkland Townhomes Ribbon Cutting
On December 12, 2014, the Renton Housing Authority celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Kirkland Avenue Townhomes, the first publicly funded, affordable, multi-family modular construction project in Western Washington. The townhomes are part of the city’s Sunset Area Community Revitalization effort and provide housing for veterans and one-for-one, low-income replacement housing as part of the RHA’s Sunset Terrace Redevelopment. The 18-unit Kirkland Avenue Townhomes project provides sixteen Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers and two VASH vouchers to ensure that the eighteen housing units are affordable. Read more information about the Kirkland Avenue Townhomes.

Glennwood Townhomes Ribbon Cutting

Glennwood Ribbon Cutting

On September 26, 2012 the Renton Housing Authority and it’s community partners celebrated the completion of the Glennwood Townhomes. The Glennwood Townhomes are eight 4-bedroom units that provide new homes for the largest families living in Sunset Terrace public housing. Completion of the Glennwood Townhomes is the first step in redeveloping Sunset Terrace into a mixed-income community anchored by a new public library and a new park. Revitalization of this neighborhood has been a top priority of the City and the Renton Housing Authority. Read more about this effort.

Sunset Area Community Revitalization

The Sunset Area Community Revitalization Program will redevelop the Sunset Terrace public housing community and encourage redevelopment in the Sunset Area through land use transformation, and public service and infrastructure improvements. This public investment will catalyze private property development at a greater scale and help realize the existing permitted zoning uses and density, creating opportunities for market rate and affordable rental housing and homeownership, plus local and regional retail investment. Find out more about this in the Sunset Area Community Revitalization Overview.

Major Developments in the Sunset Area

The Sunset Area has significant market potential due to its convenient location, excellent transportation access, and amenities.  Anecdotally, the potential for private investment and redevelopment in the area is demonstrated by Harrington Square, a large recent apartment development that is thriving despite challenging economic conditions, just three blocks from the proposed Sunset Terrace redevelopment.  Through an evidenced-based and participatory planning process, Sunset Area Community Revitalization has established the ground work critical to achieve market potential and realize the vision of health, safety, prosperity, and diversity that the community articulated in their 2008 vision.

Renton Highlands Library Project

Highlands Library

In June 2013 the Renton City Council accepted the schematic design for the Highlands Library, as a cornerstone project for the Sunset Terrace redevelopment. See more about how the Renton Highlands Library is an important part of the Sunset Area Community Revitalization. The 15,0000 square foot Renton Highlands Library opened in Spring of 2016.

Meadow Crest Early Learning Center

Meadow Crest Early Learning CenterOutdoor

The Renton School District constructed a $30 million early childhood learning center on the site of the former Hillcrest School beginning in spring 2012. The project was completed in summer 2013 and the Meadow Crest Early Learning Center opened in fall 2013 for the beginning of the school year. Up to 650 students can be served at the school. The facility also features the Meadow Crest ADA accessible playground (see below). 

Meadow Crest Playground

Meadow Crest Early Learning Center

The Meadow Crest Playground opened in May 2014. The new community-accessible playground was designed for all ages and all abilities to encourage imagination and interaction. There are large outdoor musical instruments, spaces to run, a stage and areas to be alone. All activities provide opportunities for youth of all abilities and different generations to play and learn together. The new facility was built on shared property between the new Meadow Crest Early Learning Center and the North Highlands Neighborhood Center. The City and Renton School District received a 2014 Governor’s Smart Communities Award for the joint project. Read more about the award

Harrington Avenue NE Green Connections

Harrington Ave NE Green Connections Bioretention

In order to demonstrate how bioretention stormwater facilities (rain gardens) provide enhanced water quality treatment, the City used a Washington State Department of Ecology grant to construct the Harrington Avenue NE Green Connection stormwater project in 2013/2014. The project was completed in spring 2014 and also improves pedestrian safety and provides a walkable route to schools, the public library, and parks. Read more information about the Harrington Avenue NE Green Connection project.

Sunset Terrace Regional Stormwater Facility

Sunset Terrace Retional Stormwater Facility

The City constructed the Sunset Terrace Regional Stormwater Facility in 2015 to provide improved flow control and enhanced basic water quality treatment. The project includes rain gardens and an infiltration gallery to reduce the volume and peak rate of runoff from the area and improve the quality of the stormwater runoff. The project, funded by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the City, was completed in summer 2015. Read more information about the Sunset Terrace Regional Stormwater Facility.   

Previous Efforts

Since the late 1990’s the City has focused on the Renton Highlands as an area targeted for improvement and investment.  The City has listened to the ideas and plans that have emerged from the public in the last five years, and the current strategy reflects the goals, priorities, and recommendations of these previous efforts: 






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Sidebar - Highlands

With explosive population growth and the construction of hundreds of new homes to the east, the Highlands neighborhood, with its World War II-era housing and underutilized shopping mall, is ripe for redevelopment.    

Sunset Area Overview

Sunset Area Community Revitalization Overview
Sunset Area Awards  
Sunset Area In the News 

Important Planning Documents 

Planned Action Ordinance
Planned Action Ordinance Map 
Planned Action Ordinance Mitigation Measures
Surface Water Master Plan  
Final EIS
Final EIS Appendices
Draft EIS 
Draft EIS Appendices 

Current Sunset Area Projects

Renton Accessible Playground
Highlands to The Landing Pedestrian Connection


If you have questions about these planning documents, please contact Mark Santos-Johnson, Community Development Project Manager, at 425.430.6584 or to be added to the mailing list for this project, complete this form.