Affordable-housing projects get financial backing

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission recently approved more than $216 million in financing to construct or upgrade almost 900 units of affordable housing—most of them for seniors. More than $70 million worth of projects are in Pierce and King counties.

“These projects will improve the lives of hundreds of seniors, as well as other individuals and families, by not only creating affordable housing but also preserving and rehabilitating it,” said Karen Miller, chairwoman of the Housing Finance Commission.

The commission finances affordable housing and community facilities by issuing tax-exempt bonds or notes and allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Tax-exempt bonds allow developers to borrow at lower interest rates, while the tax credit allows them to raise capital by selling the credits to investors.

The new projects include:

  • In south King County and Pierce County, SHAG Affordable Senior Living Communities ($31 million tax-exempt bond, $11.5 million tax-credit equity). Six communities, for a total of 374 units of housing, will be completely rehabilitated with new exteriors and interiors, as well as expanded transportation options and amenities. Conservatory Place I and II (Tacoma), Willamette Court (Federal Way), Cedar River Court (Renton), and Gowe Court and Titus Court (both in Kent) will also remain affordable for decades to come, officials said.


  • In Tacoma, Wright Park House, located at 401 S. G St. (Redwood Partners, $10.2 million tax-exempt note, $3.4 million tax-credit equity). A seven-story building with 54 apartments for low-income seniors will be significantly renovated and its rental subsidies extended for another 20 years.


  • In Kent, LARC at Kent Station, 1001 1st Ave N. (American Capital Group, $20 million tax-exempt bond, $9 million tax-credit equity). This new apartment complex by LARC (Legacy Affordable Retirement Communities) will offer 131 affordable apartments for seniors (55 years old and up) in central Kent.


  • In Seattle, the University District Apartments, located at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 50th Street (Bellwether Housing, $11 million tax-credit equity). In the heart of the U-District, this will be a mixed-use building with 133 apartments, 3 condominiums, and ground-level commercial space. The financing covers 53 apartments for lower-income residents, including 40 for people experiencing homelessness. Bellwether has partnered with Compass Housing Alliance to offer critically needed on-site support services.
  • Also in Seattle, Bayview Retirement Community, 11 W. Aloha St. (Bayview Manor Homes, $65 million tax-exempt bond). The project will result in substantially renovating Bayview’s original building built in 1961, adding 10 independent-living apartments and 10 memory-care units, and construction of a new building with 43 units for assisted living.

Other projects are planned for Monroe, Everett, Spokane and Richland. In Richland, Senior Life Resources Northwest will build its own administration building and commercial kitchen to support its meals on wheels program, which delivered 157,000 meals for seniors last year.

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission, through private investment dollars, has created and preserved affordable homes for more than 334,000 people statewide in the past 32 years, officials said.