King County Housing Authority Purchases Two Properties near Tukwila Light Rail Station

Acquisition of 286 apartment units will ensure access to
affordable housing for working families within walking distance of mass
transit

TUKWILA, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In an effort to preserve housing affordability in response to the
region’s meteoric rise in rents, the King County Housing Authority
(KCHA) has purchased two apartment communities adjacent to the Tukwila
light rail station. The acquisitions − The Villages at South Station in
Tukwila and the Corinthian Apartments in SeaTac – total 286 units.
Access to affordable housing near transit stations is a key state,
county and local priority.
KCHA has made Transit-Oriented
Development (TOD), especially the preservation of existing affordable
housing along transit corridors, a central component of its real estate
acquisition and development strategy. KCHA has committed to developing
or preserving at least 800 units of affordable housing in suburban King
County over the next five years.


“As rents in the region continue to rise, lower- and moderate-wage
working families are increasingly being priced out of housing with easy
access to mass transit. Purchasing existing housing along emerging
transit corridors is the most cost-effective way of ensuring that these
families have continued access to light rail, providing connections to
healthcare, education and employment opportunities, and reduced
commuting costs,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King
County Housing Authority. “These acquisitions support our region’s
ambitious goals designed to provide adequate transportation capacity and
housing affordability in the face of accelerating population growth.”

State and local policy makers are advancing new land use and financing
strategies to support housing affordability linked to mass transit
access. House Bill 1223, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year,
authorized King County to issue up to $45 million in bonds backed by
local hotel-motel tax revenues to develop or preserve affordable
workforce housing along transit corridors. The County intends to use
these funds in coordination with an $18 million revolving loan to
support mixed-income, mixed-use TOD development. The expansion of the
region’s light rail, now scheduled by state legislators to go to the
voters, also includes funding for the creation of workforce housing near
light rail stations. Most cities in the region, including SeaTac and
Tukwila, have signed the Growing Transit Communities Regional Compact,
committing their support for a variety of strategies to promote
equitable development around transit stations, including the “use of a
full range of housing preservation tools to maintain the existing level
of affordable housing within each transit community.”

Ensuring affordability near the Tukwila light rail station shows
that the King County Housing Authority shares my commitment to creating
vibrant, mixed-income neighborhoods around transit centers,” said King
County Executive and Sound Transit Chair Dow Constantine, who recently announced
an initiative
for better station area development. “By combining
resources, we can create communities where families of all incomes can
access fast, frequent, reliable transit to our region’s job and
education centers.”

The Villages at South Station

The Villages at South Station is located directly east of the Tukwila
light rail station and provides 191 apartments.

“Given its proximity to the rail station, growing demand for housing
within transit corridors, and the general tightness of the rental market
in the area, I’m pleased that the King County Housing Authority has
acted to preserve the long-term affordability of this apartment
complex,” said Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton. “KCHA’s management
experience and track record ensures that The Villages will be a well-run
community. By keeping rents affordable, this acquisition helps the city
of Tukwila attract the workforce it needs. This is a strategic
investment that protects affordability and mass transit.”

The Villages features 40 studio apartments, 62 one-bedroom units, 81
two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units. Rents generally range
from $900 to $1,500, depending on the size of the unit.

KCHA’s acquisition will ensure that rents in at least 50 percent of the
units will remain affordable to families at or below 80 percent of the
area median (or $65,800 for a family of four). Had the housing authority
not purchased the complex, rents at the property would likely have
increased by double digits as rental markets, particularly around
transit stations, tighten.

The property was acquired with a short-term loan from KeyBank, and KCHA
is partnering with King County to develop a long-term financing
structure that will ensure continued affordability. The Villages is
managed by Madrona Ridge Residential.

The Corinthian Apartments

The 95-unit Corinthian Apartments is located directly west of the
Tukwila light rail station. The complex is part of the city of SeaTac’s
South 154th Street Station Area, a district where the city
envisions future growth that provides for both new residential and
mixed-use developments and the preservation of existing affordable
housing.

“Rents in the 154th Street Station Area have begun to
increase,” said SeaTac Mayor Mia Gregerson. “The Corinthian is located
in an excellent area – just steps away from light rail and Rapid Ride
bus service with direct access to major employment centers like the
airport and downtown Seattle. The city of SeaTac is delighted that the
King County Housing Authority is helping fulfill our vision for this
emerging transit-oriented neighborhood. By preserving affordable rents
and making significant capital investment at the Corinthian, the Housing
Authority helps solidify two vital community attributes – quality
affordable housing and the means to commute to good jobs – both of which
are at the heart of keeping SeaTac a vibrant community.”

Built in 1968, the Corinthian consists of 14 studios, 55 one-bedroom
units, and 26 two-bedroom units. Rents at the Corinthian range from $825
to $1,150, meaning they are affordable to households earning around 60
percent of the area median, or $53,700 for a family of four. The
Authority plans to do a modest rehab of the complex, including
energy-efficiency upgrades, replacement of decks, fire alarm, electrical
and lighting improvements, and unit interior upgrades.

KCHA acquired the property with a short-term loan from KeyBank and, in
partnership with the County, will use a combination of financing tools
which may include tax-exempt bond financing and low-income housing tax
credits to support acquisitions and planned upgrades.

KCHA, an independent municipal corporation established under state law,
provides stable, affordable housing to over 18,000 households in King
County on a daily basis. The Authority administers a variety of programs
that range from federally assisted subsidized housing to moderate-income
housing operated without federal subsidies. KCHA is committed to working
with local communities to address local priorities such as ending
homelessness, improving educational outcomes for the region’s low-income
youth and assuring that disabled and elderly households can live with
dignity.

Contacts

King County Housing Authority
Rhonda Rosenberg, 206-574-1185
Director
of Communications