Mon. May 16th, 2022
Amazon allocates $42.5M to build 318 affordable apartments near Seattle area light rail stations
New flats rise in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. (GeekWire Picture / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon on Tuesday announced that it has allotted $42.5 million to assist pay for the development of 318 inexpensive flats close to two gentle rail stations within the better Seattle space. The tasks are being accomplished in partnership with Sound Transit, an area public transit company.

The dedication is a part of a broader effort by Amazon and different tech heavyweights to spice up the stock of inexpensive housing within the area, which has seen a seemingly endless rise in housing costs whereas the variety of folks experiencing homeless likewise retains rising.

The funding comes from a broader $2 billion Housing Fairness Fund introduced in January 2021. Via the initiative the corporate is concentrating on inexpensive housing in three areas the place it has a big presence and increasing financial divides: Seattle; Nashville, Tenn.; and Arlington, Va. It has dedicated to constructing or preserving 20,000 houses within the three areas.

Amazon, which has a market worth of $1.5 trillion, has to this point allotted greater than $344.3 million in loans and grants to tasks within the better Seattle space, creating and saving 2,870 inexpensive houses.

The corporate additionally introduced funding for 742 new flats within the Arlington-Washington, D.C. area. totaling $81.7 million.

Washington state tasks introduced Tuesday embody:

  • A $25.8 million low-rate mortgage dedication and predevelopment grant to BRIDGE Housing, a nonprofit developer, for building of 233 inexpensive flats in Bellevue, close to a light-weight rail station that’s scheduled to open subsequent 12 months.
  • A $16.7 million low-rate mortgage dedication and predevelopment grant to Mercy Housing Northwest to construct 85 inexpensive flats close to a light-weight rail station in SeaTac. The challenge options sustainable building supplies and vitality environment friendly items.

Building is anticipated to start out in 2024 in Bellevue and 2023 in SeaTac, in response to the Seattle Times.

Bellevue particularly is feeling the strain of high-tech development colliding with a scarcity of housing. Amazon is transferring 25,000 new staff into its downtown, whereas Fb, Salesforce, Microsoft and eBay proceed increasing their presence within the metropolis east of Seattle.

“Bellevue is likely one of the most unaffordable cities in Washington state,” Joe Fain, CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, informed GeekWire this previous fall. “The high-paying jobs we add shall be rivaled by the blue-collar jobs we add. And until you could have appreciable internet value, you won’t be able to afford a single-family residence right here — until you already personal one.”

Considerations about housing changing into more and more out of attain for lower- and middle-income residents within the Seattle space worsened just lately with information of a better wage cap for Amazon staff, coupled with a headline a couple of Bellevue residence promoting for $1 million over the asking worth.

Neighboring tech big Microsoft has additionally dedicated to addressing the inexpensive housing disaster, pledging $750 million to efforts within the better Seattle space. The corporate just lately shared an replace of its initiative. Microsoft has preserved or created 9,200 inexpensive housing items within the area since 2019.

Whereas Amazon and Microsoft are serving to stoke the housing challenges, Gregg Colburn, an assistant professor of actual property within the College of Washington’s School of Constructed Environments, offers them credit score for his or her actions.

“What’s vital from an enormous image standpoint is recognition in public statements and monetary commitments from two of our largest companies that the dearth of housing is an actual menace to our area,” Colburn informed GeekWire in January.

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