REDMOND — Microsoft, King County and the King County Housing Authority will invest $245 million to provide affordable rents for more than 3,000 low- and middle-income residents through the purchase of five apartment complexes.
King County housing authority will buy apartment complexes in Kirkland, Bellevue and Federal Way to ensure that the residents aren’t faced with skyrocketing rental costs seen across the region, the organizations announced Thursday morning. Housing advocates say they chose the complexes — with 1,029 total units — because they were especially vulnerable to rental hikes or redevelopment based on their proximity to transit hubs and booming real estate markets.
The funding includes $60 million loaned to the housing authority from Microsoft, $20 million from King County and $140 million in bonds from the housing authority. The partnership is among the first originating from the Redmond tech giant’s $500 million pledge announced earlier this year to address homelessness and develop affordable housing throughout the region.
The pledge is the largest in the company’s 44-year history, and, according to the company, is one of the heftiest contributions by a private corporation to housing.
This project is part of Microsoft’s focus on the middle-income population, or those earning between $60,000 to $120,000 a year, said Jane Broom, senior director of Microsoft Philanthropies, and the company’s belief that communities should have people at all income levels and job categories, said Jane Broom, senior director of Microsoft Philanthropies. Microsoft said it would loan $225 million to help developers facing high costs build and preserve “workforce housing” on the Eastside.
The residents currently living in the apartment complexes will get to stay, regardless of their income level, said Dan Watson, deputy executive director of the King County Housing Authority. Based on their listed rents, the housing typically appeals to middle-income residents, he added.
Each complex offers “naturally occurring affordable housing,” because they are older and have fewer amenities than newer housing, but are particularly vulnerable to changes from private investors, Watson said. The current residents would likely not be able to afford the higher-end rents if the units were upgraded.