Trailblazing: Cedardale Apartments, Seattle, WA

Reviving a Well-Maintained 1980s-Vintage Apartment Community

Cedardale Apartments


Ahhh…breathe in the fresh, rain-kissed air and rustic charm of the Pacific Northwest.

That’s what we did last spring when we first visited Cedardale Apartments in Federal Way – a suburb just outside of downtown Seattle. We were enamored with the serene and secluded setting, mature landscaping, open space and beige siding.

Hold on…beige siding? (Well, okay, a few things needed some updating). However, we saw past the drab building colors and dated interiors, recognizing an opportunity to revive a 30-year-old apartment community in the Seattle suburbs. Our goal: to modernize the community while retaining its serene Pacific Northwest charm.

Cedardale is located on a seven-acre parcel and consists of 126 apartments, a mixture of one and two-bedroom units ranging from 608 to 905 square feet. The buildings were constructed from 1981-1983 as condominiums but none were sold. The apartment interiors, although dated, feature efficient floorplans, in-unit washer/dryer and private balconies or patios. The property is about three miles from Pacific Highway South (99) and Interstate-5, providing easy access to the area’s major transportation corridors servicing Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue. Residents also enjoy nearby restaurants, shopping centers and recreation facilities.

After our purchase, we completed some much-needed deferred maintenance, which included repairs to the property’s underground drainage and landscaping systems. Additionally, we quickly pulled Cedardale out of the ‘80s with a fresh, lively exterior paint scheme and will be adding several common area amenities including a community dog park, fitness center and BBQ area as well as completely renovating the clubhouse and leasing center. We are currently updating the unit interiors by adding new flooring, lighting, paint, appliances and countertops and have renovated about 50 apartments to date (and continue to renovate four to five units per month). We hope to start construction on the common area improvements in early 2017.

As Seattle’s job growth (67,000 jobs in the past 12 months!) continues, nearby suburbs like Federal Way are experiencing significant rent growth, which could continue for another few years. As fishermen on the Puget Sound have been heard to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats” and Federal Way (and Cedardale) are benefiting from Seattle’s boom.