SEATTLE — The Wing Luke Museum announced on April 10 the acquisition of property located at 611 8th Ave South in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) neighborhood.
The investment is associated with the Museum’s long-term Homestead Home capital project, which will expand the Museum’s footprint in the neighborhood one block south of its current site for historic preservation and increase opportunities to continue work in immersive educational initiatives.
This historic property, owned by the Suen Eng family for over 80 years, is one of the neighborhood’s last remaining and most intact single-family homes, representing a pioneering Chinese American family’s modest house with a basement bean sprout business. It was constructed after the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and amidst housing discrimination in Seattle, disallowing residence for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in many neighborhoods, including the commercially designated CID. Despite these barriers, the Eng Family persevered and, in 1937, found a way to build their home.
With the high risk for displacement and extreme development pressure across the CID neighborhood as identified by the City of Seattle’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, this community-led acquisition is a rare instance of a long-term property owner partnering with a community organization of color rather than a for-profit outside developer. It reaffirms the community’s need to claim a place.
As part of the Museum’s mission, this space will promote neighborhood empowerment and economic vitalization by preserving this property as an immersive educational exhibit, a stop on its public walking tours, and a cultural heritage and educational space.
The property is adjacent to Canton Alley and can enhance the public experience and extend the Museum’s cultural programming along this historic alleyway.