Amazon makes $100 million investment in new affordable housing

Transit-oriented investment is part of Amazon’s $2 billion Housing Equity Fund

Amazon makes $100 million investment in new affordable housing

Amazon is committing $100 million to speed up the creation of up to 1,200 new affordable housing units across Puget Sound, Wash.

In partnership with public transit agency Sound Transit, the tech giant will provide $100 million in early-stage funding and permanent financing to developers to help expedite the development of new affordable housing units on Sound Transit properties near light rail stations across the Puget Sound region.

In a statement, Amazon said that the first $25 million will fund pre-development activities like site due diligence, engineering, and permitting, while the remaining $75 million will go to construction, which is expected to begin within five years.

“In its first six months, Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund has committed over $285 million to accelerate the creation and preservation of an estimated 2,000 affordable homes for the Puget Sound region,” said Catherine Buell, head of community development at Amazon. “Housing and transit are intertwined, and this latest commitment will help ensure families from all income levels will benefit from the build-out of mass transit—greater affordability and equitable economic opportunity, easy access to daily needs, and the environmental benefits of reduced traffic congestion and car reliance.”

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said they are experiencing an affordable housing crisis across the Puget Sound region. He claims that Sound Transit has a policy for facilitating affordable housing near its stations, but obtaining the necessary funding to build those units has always been a challenge.

“Amazon’s $100 million commitment to help fill that gap and make transit more accessible to those who need it the most is truly welcome and appreciated,” Rogoff said.

“There’s nowhere better to build affordable housing than near transit,” said Kent Keel, board chair of Sound Transit and councilmember at the City of University Place. “That’s why the Sound Transit Board has strongly endorsed using our surplus properties to help make our region more livable and equitable.”

Amazon’s partnership with Sound Transit is part of its $300 million total transit commitment for equitable transit-oriented affordable housing development and is the second investment in the region. Amazon’s first Housing Equity Fund commitment in Washington state is funding $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve affordability for 1,000 apartment homes.