Dow Constantine on Monday announced details of the project that aims to help people with the area’s surging costs of housing.
King County officials unveiled an $83 million plan to build hundreds of homes around transit hot spots Monday in an effort to help residents who are struggling to keep up with rising living costs.
Executive Dow Constantine is pushing an initiative to build 700 affordable “workforce” housing units around transit centers in light of Sound Transit’s plans to launch more than 30 miles of new lightrail in the next eight years.
The new homes will be open to people earning less than 80 percent of the median income and are part of a push to help development around the huge transit project.
“Lightrail has the power to transform communities,” Constantine said in a statement. “With this vision, we can be deliberate about creating vibrant, walkable, economically diverse neighborhoods around new and existing stations.”
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The Executive announced the development plans Monday morning at Northgate Station, where many of the affordable units would be mixed with market-rate housing, in just a few densely-populated blocks.
Project leaders plan to start making the housing units available to those who qualify in the next two to five years, and the salary threshold for an eligible resident sits at $69,000 annually for a household of four, according to the Executive’s office.
The Washington Legislature in April moved to allow the county to use up to $45 million in workforce-housing bonds backed by the local hotel tax. The Executive’s plans include that sum to cover the subsidy or preservation of an estimated 500 homes, according to a news release from Constantine’s office.
Another $18 million would create a loan fund to finance the construction or preservation of 200 units, which would be administered by the nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, according to the news release.
An additional $20 million in loan funds would be added if voters approve the multi-billion-dollar Sound Transit 3 expansion plan next year. The Sound Transit board plans to take action next summer on placing the measure on the November 2016 ballot.
Officials are still in the process of finalizing land-purchase amounts and developer incentives, according to spokespeople from the Executive’s office. Constantine will be working with members of the King County Metropolitan Council in the future to determine where the housing would be located, they said.
The Council will then vote on the contracts and land purchases for the project.
Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.