Amazon announced a new $24.8 million affordable housing commitment on Tuesday, Oct. 19 to support two new property acquisitions by Bellwether Housing, King County’s largest nonprofit affordable housing provider – The BLVD Apartments in Kent and The Marina Club Apartments in Des Moines.
The BLVD, 2136 S. 272nd St., has 136 units within walking distance to a light rail station slated to open in 2024 near South 272nd and Interstate 5. The complex offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units with washers and dryers, air conditioning, walk-in closets and balconies or patios.
The Marina Club Apartments, 2445 S. 222nd St., has 77 units located close to the Des Moines Marina with easy access to Kent Valley, Seattle and the Port system. The apartments feature spacious living and dining rooms, updated kitchens and large closets. The property offers a fitness center, a resident club room and a pool.
Both projects will be maintained as affordable to households earning between 60% to 80% of area median income, or below, for the next 99 years. The 80% maximum household income in 2021 is $63,350 for a one-person household, $72,400 for two people, $81,450 for three people and $90,500 for four people, according to Bellweather Housing.
Bellwether Housing, like many nonprofit housing providers, struggles to raise the capital needed to acquire and preserve affordable homes before they are lost to developers that convert them to luxury housing. Bellwether both develops new apartment buildings and converts existing units and buildings, as with the Kent and Des Moines sites.
The nonprofit’s new apartment complex in Tukwila, called The Confluence, currently has monthly rents between $1,047 and $1,735.
“The Amazon Housing Equity Fund could not have come at a better time,” said Bellwether Housing CEO Susan Boyd. “Public funding sources are severely constrained. We anticipate that this fund will allow us to bring hundreds of more units into permanent affordability.”
This investment comes from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a $2 billion commitment to create and preserve 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; in and around Arlington, Virginia; and in Nashville, Tennessee. All three areas are hometown communities where Amazon expects to have a growing presence in the coming years.
Amazon’s new commitment with Bellwether Housing brings the company’s total Housing Equity Fund investment in Puget Sound to more than $310 million in loans and grants and as many as 2,500 affordable housing units created or preserved in the region – with more on the way, according to Amazon.
This commitment with Bellwether Housing follows Amazon’s $100 million transit-oriented development partnership with Sound Transit to accelerate the creation of up to 1,200 homes near active transit corridors.
Earlier this year, Amazon also provided $185.5 million in low-interest loans and grants to the King County Housing Authority, which has preserved 1,084 affordable rental homes in Bellevue and Federal Way, which will remain affordable for at least 99 years.
“The Amazon Housing Equity Fund enables partners like Bellwether Housing and King County Housing Authority to move quickly and competitively to preserve affordability,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “We are so pleased to be a part of the solution in addressing housing shortages in our region by teaming up with partners to grow the housing stock for households making moderate- to low-incomes. We hope that our investments will help these families have greater peace of mind and be able to stay and thrive in the Puget Sound region.”
For more information about finding affordable housing rentals in the Seattle area, go to bellwetherhousing.org.