Displaced First Hill seniors offered discounts at retirement communities

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In September, around 200 residents of a First Hill apartment tower — many of them elderly, long-term residents of the building — went on the search for new housing after learning they would be forced to move out for an overhaul of the building starting next year.

The Panorama, a 52-year-old concrete highrise on University just east of Boren, was sold in September for $73.9 million. Shortly after the sale, new owners Security Properties notified resident they would need to be out by summer 2015 for the massive renovation.

A Federal Way-based housing company is offering seniors at Panorama special deals at two of their retirement communities: El Dorado West in Burien and Mill Ridge Village in Milton. Village Concepts is also offering to pay for residents’ moving costs and one month’s rent.

Back in October, Village Concepts director of corporate development Tracy Willis told CHS the company would help tenants pack, help pay for the move, and give them a month or two of free rent to get them on their feet.

“Whenever we see these stories we always reach out to see what we can do,” Willis said. “There are some really frail people.”

After news of the Security buyout emerged, the company promised to refund all security deposits and offer substantial relocation assistance in accordance with Seattle’s tenants rights laws. In a statement, a company spokesperson said the $15 million overhaul would include replacing the buildings electrical and fire safety systems, as well as updating apartment interiors and adding washers and dryers in each unit.

Despite the promised relocation assistance, some residents have said they will never be able to rebuild the community and relationships that developed over the decades. KING reporter Linda Brill, who lived at the Panorama and moved out after hearing of the renovations, spoke with some building residents in September.