The Sunset Area

The Renton team pursues funding to implement the Sunset Area Transformation Plan

The City of Renton, Renton Housing Authority, Renton School District, and other partners have been working together for more than ten years to help revitalize the Sunset Area. In 2010-2011, the team created the Sunset Area Community Revitalization program with a number of planned public infrastructure and facility improvements to catalyze private property development and create opportunities for new market-rate housing, affordable housing, and retail investment.

In 2013-2014 the City and Renton Housing Authority completed a Renton Community Needs Assessment with a special addendum focused on the Sunset Area. The City and Renton Housing Authority were joined by Neighborhood House and other community partners to use the Sunset Area Community Needs Assessment as the framework for planning additional neighborhood improvements and education and supportive services to better respond to resident and business needs in the Sunset Area.

With the support of the King County Housing Authority, the City, Renton Housing Authority, Neighborhood House, Renton School District, and numerous other partners, the Renton team created and refined the Sunset Area Transformation Plan in 2014-2016. The plan includes substantial new affordable and market-rate housing, critical community and economic development initiatives for Sunset Area residents and businesses, and education and supportive services for neighborhood residents.

The Sunset Area Transformation Plan was developed using the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) model whereby a struggling neighborhood with a distressed public housing project is transformed through comprehensive strategies designed to address housing, people, and neighborhood needs. The Sunset Area Transformation Plan uses the redevelopment of the former 100-unit Sunset Terrace public housing project located in the center of the Sunset Area as the foundation for the Sunset Area Transformation Plan.

In 2015 and 2016, the Renton team applied to HUD for a $25 to $30 million CNI grant for the Sunset Area Transformation Plan. The principal partners were the King County Housing Authority (the Lead Applicant and the Housing Implementation Lead), the City of Renton (a Co-Applicant and Neighborhood Implementation Lead), the Renton Housing Authority (a Co-Applicant), Neighborhood House (the People Implementation Lead), and the Renton School District (the Principal Education Entity). The CNI funds would help improve existing housing quality, create neighborhood improvements, and provide wrap-around community services with a well-planned and coordinated Sunset Area Transformation Plan that includes citizens, leaders, and stakeholders throughout and after the five-year CNI grant period.

The above five principal partners were joined by 23 other community and regional partners for the 2016 Renton CNI application. The 28 partners provided a total of $171 million in leverage for the Sunset Area Transformation Plan, although the majority of the funds were contingent on receipt of the CNI grant.


Click here to see a complete list of our partners.


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.



Neighborhood Background  

The Sunset Area is a 269-acre neighborhood with 2,689 residents, located in the City of Renton. The area is home to the former 100-unit Sunset Terrace distressed public housing project and hundreds of duplexes that were built for World War II defense workers. The Sunset Area has a 27 percent poverty rate and is substantially more diverse than Renton overall, with 51 percent of residents with English as their second language and 26 percent of residents Hispanic. The Sunset Area has an average household median income of $42,500, compared to the Renton’s average household median income of $65,223 and King County’s average household median income of $73,035. The boundaries of the area have been a special planning and revitalization zone for more than ten years.


The Sunset Area has a 6.6 percent unemployment rate. Many of the residents lack access to living-wage jobs and career advancement. The area also has twice the City’s average for violent crime and domestic violence.

While the Sunset Area has been identified as having significant disparities compared with the rest of the City and County, there are existing assets that provide opportunities to the Sunset Area Transformation Plan such as an active business district that connects the neighborhood to grocery stores, retailers, financial institutions, and childcare. The neighborhood also provides local bus services and a state highway that eases access to services and regional job centers. Public facilities including the Highlands Library, North Highlands Park, Neighborhood Center, and Renton Technical College are also located within the Sunset Area boundary.