Retain Ownership and Co-Develop

This option proposes that ESUS retain ownership of the Holly House property through several possible vehicles and work with developers to build a wide variety of possibilities, mostly focused on economic justice.  These choices will be narrowed down as we gain more information.
Ownership will be continued through outright ownership, a long term ground lease and/or a land trust.  This would keep this land under the stewardship of ESUC.
The development could be single use or multi-use.  Both offer different potential benefits and risks.  The Option Papers included here have proposed building privately owned or rented condos at market rate, low income housing, housing for homeless women, a parsonage, senior housing for UUs (low cost, co-op, or rental), and communal housing.  Any of these in some combination will provide a more stable long term use of this property, because mixed use housing is now seen by Habitat for Humanity to be the best way to maintain community stability next to our campus.

Social and economic justice consistent with UU Principles

High alignment with UU principles and ESUC values because retaining ownership using some legal mechanism allows for the greatest control of how the property is developed in perpetuity. A multi-use development allows the widest potential residents.  This will possibly harm The Sofia Way for short terms and/or long terms, depending on its ability to participte.  This may require moving the P-Patch, although moving may well enable an increase in the size.

This option allows for oversight in the development to best align with the vision of ESUC, and continuing oversight to ensure operations are to ESUC standards in conjunction with the master plan of the campus.  Specifically, a task force or committee would be necessary to supervise the project during development and in perpetuity.

Implementation Time

Any project including low income house can take up to three years to complete planning, design, permitting and building.  It will take time to and effort to find and vet potential partners.  These can include the City of Bellevue, King Counter, Habitat for Humanity, The Sophia Way, and other organizations involved in low income housing including developers who include low income housing in market rate developments.


Risk changes when dealing with multi partners versus one partner.  Multi partners spreads risk and development costs over several organization. (ESUC is putting up the land as part of the partnership).   There is the possibility of church being responsible for dealing with the problem if one partner pulls out or fails, however there may be greater risk if depending on one partner.
Maintaining ownership reduces risk of poor quality and intrusiveness to rest of campus, and misalignment with ESUC values.  There is higher short term financial risk than selling outright.

This option would require the continued involvement of the church.

Financial Implications

There will be increased financial benefit in the long terms through revenue in perpetuity from the various partners.  This can be used to supplement operating budget, which will result in higher percentage of annual pledges going towards programming.  This option takes development costs off ESUC’s plate.

Impact on Campus

Co-development will enable us to look at campus from a holistic perspective.  How would the development fit in with our existing church campus?  There is the possibility of leveraging space and systems overlap to minimize impacts.  For example, well on the HH property can be activated to provide irrigation water.

Author:  Bob Weiss
Contributors of Option Papers:  Bob Weiss, Jason Puracal, Jenny Hall, Maxine Voetberg & Jean Sillers, Kristi Brennan