Environmentally Designed


Environmental Impacts 1Plaza Roberto Maestas (PRM) is an energy and water-use efficient new mixed-use equitable transit oriented development being built on the south acre of the El Centro de la Raza campus in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of  Seattle. Located next to the Beacon Hill Link Light Rail Station, PRM will be sustainably built, containing 112 apartments in two buildings for low-income residents, a 7-classroom expansion of El Centro’s award-winning José Martí Child Development Center, a new community cultural center, office space and neighborhood retail/restaurant space. Anchoring the project will be a 10,000 square foot central plaza for residents and the greater Beacon Hill community to enjoy that will celebrate Latino history and multi-racial unity. PRM is funded by a combination of public and private sources including funding from Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, private mortgage debt and a Capital Campaign.

El Centro de la Raza was a recipient of the King County Right Size Parking Grant in 2013to help craft an innovative shared parking and traffic management plan as part of an overall campus improvement plan to decrease reliance on the automobile. In partnership with SDOT, El Centro de la Raza will provide transit passes to PRM during lease-up and will encourage staff to commute to work using alternative modes of transportation. A limited number of residents of the Plaza project will have shared access to parking in the to-be-improved El Centro de la Raza north parking garage project, with the overall goal being to utilize parking more efficiently between residential, staff and program uses.

Plaza Roberto Maestas will be built under Washington State’s Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS) and certified under the Seattle Built Smart program. PRM has embraced sustainability in every aspect of its design as demonstrated by the following features.

Sustainably located and designed to encourage transit ridership and create a walkable community:

  • Directly adjacent to the Beacon Hill Link Light Rail and King County Metro Transit Station
  • Across the street from a grocery store
  • In a neighborhood that includes a host of nearby amenities including restaurants, banks, coffee shops and the award winning Beacon Hill Branch of the Seattle Public Library
  • Within a mile of two high quality elementary schools
  • Next to Santos Rodriguez Park and down the road from award-winning Jefferson Park
  • Pedestrian oriented exterior space including a central plaza and only one auto sidewalk curb-cut to a small garage for just five cars – safe for young children to run and play
  • Abundant bike parking inside and outside
  • ZipCars on site
  • Generous public plaza that can support a local farmer’s market and micro-business enterprises
  • Transit passes during lease-up, and
  • A public “transit access screen” for easy access to Light Rail and buses

Energy efficient design to reduce electricity and gas usage:

  • Rooftop photo-voltaic panel array
  • Highly efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) mechanical system
  • Exterior wall assembly that includes extra insulation, long lasting fiber-cement siding and efficient vinyl windows
  • Energy Star and efficient lighting throughout
  • Energy Star electric appliances and exhaust fans
  • Programmable green thermostats in every apartment
  • High-efficiency gas-fired central hot water heaters
  • Energy efficient elevators
  • Centralized Energy Star laundry facilities on every floor
  • Energy Star rated roofing to reduce heat-island effect

Extensive measures to reduce water consumption:

  • Low-flow water fixtures throughout
  • A rain garden and green roofs to capture, filter and reduce site and roof water run-off
  • Native and drought-tolerant landscaping throughout
  • Efficient irrigation system which can be limited even more once plants are established
  • Centralized water-efficient laundry facilities on every floor

Improved air quality for healthy living:

  • Low-VOC paints, primers, sealants and adhesives
  • Non-smoking buildings
  • Whole-house ventilation system in every apartment to decrease moisture accumulation
  • Hard surface flooring vs. carpet
  • Organic pest management systems

Social equity is embraced for a more just and sustainable community:

  • Predominantly 2- and 3-bedroom affordable apartments for low-income families to stay in Seattle
  • Affordable childcare
  • Health and wellness, cultural and educational programming in community center
  • Many opportunities for local small businesses – retail/restaurant bays, carts in plaza, live/work apartments
  • Abundant access to safe and clean outdoor parks and gathering places
  • Immediately adjacent to El Centro de la Raza where residents can access the 44 programs and services offered designed to empower people and help meet the needs of low income individuals.

Sustainable Operations:

When complete, it is estimated that over 200 children will live with their families at PRM. PRM is about creating a more sustainable future for this generation and beyond. As PRM leases up and operates, El Centro de la Raza property and asset management staff will work with residents to further reduce their environmental footprints through community building initiatives designed to educate tenants about green features of the building, encourage further conservation of energy and water, encourage composting of trash, and incentivize a car-free lifestyle whenever possible.