JLL Capital Markets and Public Institutions has arranged $24.8 million in financing from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund for Bellwether Housing to acquire and rehab two garden-style multifamily communities in Washington’s Puget Sound region.
The Pacific Northwest’s largest nonprofit affordable housing provider, Bellwether Housing will make 100% of the units at the 136-unit BLVD in Kent and the 77-unit Marina Club Apartments in Des Moines affordable to households making 60% to 80% of the area median income to address the growing need in the Seattle metro area.
JLL worked with Amazon to secure the $15.56 million and $9.24 million 20-year, fixed-rate loans for Bellwether Housing. Through the fund, Amazon provides low-rate subordinate financing to aid the acquisition and rehab of the properties.
“We are so pleased to be a part of the solution by addressing the affordable housing shortage,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “By teaming up with organizations such as JLL and Bellwether Housing, we are able to help grow the housing stock for households making moderate to low incomes. These households may include teachers, transit workers, and firefighters—people whose jobs may pay a modest income, but whose contributions are invaluable.”
According to JLL’s August workforce housing research, this product type has experienced growing demand in recent years as rents continue to rise. The demand has been exacerbated by a construction pipeline that has been dominated by high-quality mid- and high-rise multifamily communities and an inventory often unaffordable for residents earning the local median household income.
“Our goal has been to preserve as much affordability in King County as we can before it’s too late,” said Susan Boyd, CEO of Bellwether Housing. “Public funding sources are severely constrained and have not prioritized this kind of strategy. As we were preparing our hunt for low-cost capital, Amazon announced its fund. We anticipate this tool will us to bring hundreds more units into permanent affordability and prevent hundreds of lower-income families from being displaced from their homes.”
The advisory team working with Amazon was led by C.W. Early, senior managing director of JLL Capital Markets Debt Advisory, and Martine Combal, senior vice president of JLL Capital Markets and Public Institutions.
The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is a $2 billion commitment to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable homes in three of the communities where the company expects to have a growing presence in the coming years—the Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia, area; and Nashville, Tennessee. The fund also provides an additional $125 million in cash grants to businesses, nonprofits, and minority-led organizations to help them build a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis.
“JLL assisted Amazon as its credit underwriter for transactions in the Puget Sound,” said Early. “JLL is so excited and humbled to be involved in such an amazing program. Amazon has created a platform to preserve, create, and improve projects all while adding very long-term affordability to a market that is sorely in need due to rising rents and high demand.”