It’s no secret that the Eastside housing market is both incredibly competitive and price prohibitive in many neighborhoods. With major tech employers enticing more workers into the area, the need for affordable housing on the Eastside has become a core issue for many. Thankfully, a new partnership between Microsoft and local nonprofit DASH (Downtown Action to Save Housing), along with SRM Development aims to address this issue with the construction of hundreds of new affordable housing units.
The partnership aims to build around 235 affordable apartments on the south side of Bellevue. Overall, the developments will serve people making anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of the area median income.
The project is on a 4.5-acre lot near I-405 and the location of a future light rail stop, and so far includes two separate multi-family buildings. The first building is 991 West, which will include 135 one- and two-bedroom units designed for local workers making 80 to 100 percent of the area median income. Construction on 991 West is set to begin this summer and conclude in 2023.
The second building is a partially-completed hotel at 991 East. The hotel was originally intended to contain 150 rooms, which will now be reconfigured into 100 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for residents making less than 60 percent of the area median income. This project in particular will require zoning and entitlement changes before it can be completed. The current timeline suggests this project could be completed in late 2024.
Both of these developments are the result of Microsoft’s Expanded Land Acquisition Program (ELAP) administered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Earlier this year, Microsoft increased its monetary commitment to its Affordable Housing Initiative, offering $750 million in housing grants to address the area’s housing issues.
The project with DASH took advantage of a $25 million ELAP loan, allowing for quick and cost-effective financing within Bellevue’s competitive real estate landscape. Hopefully, the increased investment from Microsoft will continue to make affordable housing projects in the area both viable and accessible to those who will benefit most.
This article was originally posted on 425Business by John Stearns.