Amazon is supporting two new acquisitions by Bellwether Housing, King County’s largest nonprofit affordable housing provider, with more than $24.8 million in low-rate loans that will preserve 213 affordable homes.
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.
The new agreement with Bellwether Housing brings Amazon’s total units created or preserved in the Puget Sound region to as many as 2,500, with more investments in the region to come.
Our most recent investments include:
- The BLVD, Kent – 136 units within walking distance to a light rail station slated to open in 2024. 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, Des Moines – 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 at or below 60% to 80% of area median income for the next 99 years.
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.
“The Amazon Housing Equity Fund could not have come at a better time. Public funding sources are severely constrained,” said Bellwether Housing CEO Susan Boyd. “We anticipate that this fund will allow us to bring hundreds of more units into permanent affordability.”
“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.”
King County Housing Authority
Earlier this year, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund provided $185.5 million in low-interest loans and grants to the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) to preserve 1,000 affordable homes in the region. The funding initially helped KCHA acquire three Bellevue apartment buildings. Amazon and KCHA have now exceeded the original goal with the addition of four more apartment complexes, bringing the total number of units to 1,084 affordable rental homes that otherwise might have gone to a private developer. The buildings will remain affordable for at least 99 years.
“Amazon's support has immediately preserved nearly 1,300 existing affordable housing units—including more than 900 right here in Bellevue—with more to come to help grow more inclusive communities for families in east and south King County,” said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. “I'm excited to have the public, private, and nonprofit sectors teaming up to take on one of our region's toughest challenges.”
- Hampton Greens, Bellevue – 326 units located on 16 acres. Public transportation is less than a half-mile away. Spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments include washers and dryers, fireplaces, and private patios. The property also offers swimming pools, a dry sauna, a 24-hour access package locker room, a fitness center, a tennis court, a playground, an electric vehicle charging station, and a resident lounge.
- Pinewood Village, Bellevue – 108 units offering spacious studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments. All units feature electric kitchen appliances as well as a dishwasher, a refrigerator, and a personal balcony or patio. Select units also include a fireplace, granite countertops, vaulted ceilings, and washers and dryers.
- Illahee Apartments, Bellevue – 36 units in a garden-style community conveniently located in the Bel-Red/Spring District corridor across the street from Bellevue Highlands Park and less than 1 mile from a future light rail station. Units include balconies or patios, and there are on-site laundry facilities.
- Sandpiper East Apartments, Bellevue – 224 units located approximately a half-mile from the Bel-Red/130th Street Light Rail station, which is scheduled to open in 2023. The apartments are also a quick drive to restaurants, shopping centers, local parks, and several nearby lakes.
- The Carrington Apartment Homes, Bellevue – 108 units with easy access to public transportation and close to five parks, including Robinswood Community Park. The central campus of Bellevue College is a short walk away. The property is conveniently located near restaurants and a large shopping center at Eastgate Plaza.
- Surrey Downs Apartments, Bellevue – 122 units located on a public bus line and walking distance to restaurants and shopping. The apartments include updated kitchens with stainless steel appliances. The complex offers a walking trail and swimming pool.
- The Argyle Apartments, Federal Way – 160 units located on several Metro bus lines and less than a five-minute walk to the Federal Way Transit Center, which is also the planned location of the new light rail station scheduled to open in 2024. The property offers a clubhouse, a fitness center, a swimming pool, covered parking, and laundry facilities.
Additionally, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund also committed $100 million to developers working with Sound Transit to accelerate the creation of up to 1,200 homes near active transit corridors. Transit-oriented development has a range of benefits, including greater economic activity, reduced traffic congestion, and associated environmental benefits, and it provides access to transportation and education for low- to moderate-income households.
Amazon believes that all people should have access to a home they can afford. Which is why we are using our reach and resources to support innovative housing affordability initiatives that will help families, especially in communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the housing shortage in the U.S. We remain committed to helping families and individuals achieve the long-term housing stability that promotes economic mobility and builds and supports strong, inclusive communities.