The Seattle Times reports that in Seattle, Amazon and Sound Transit have announced a collaboration "to speed up development of as many as 1,200 affordable homes next to light-rail stations, using vacant lots left over after construction.
"The e-commerce giant is establishing a $75 million low-interest loan fund for developers, and donating $25 million for site preparation, engineering and permits."
At the same time, the story says, Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund announced "similar affordable-housing contributions Wednesday of $125 million around Washington, D.C.-area transit stations, and $75 million along the WeGo bus-rapid transit network in Nashville.
"It’s the latest round in Amazon’s $2 billion housing program, that included a $185.5 million commitment in January to buy 470 apartments in Bellevue, and provide another 530 affordable units across the region."
Catherine Buell, head of community development for Amazon, says that "as developers repay the loans, the money would be recirculated for future financing."
The housing will be targeted at "households earning between 30% and 80% of median income,” Buell said.
- KC's View:
Maybe I'm being cynical, but when I read this story I find it illustrative of the paradox that is Amazon. On the one hand, it makes its considerable resources available to help people at the lower end of the economic scale to get access to affordable housing, and do it in a way that also gives them easy access to mass transit.
But at the same time, we're also seeing stories - perhaps more than ever, as Amazon continues to grow and become a larger target - about the degree to which many people who work in Amazon distribution centers are being taken advantage of, and how some communities where these facilities are located are feeling aggrieved.
It is a complicated picture of a company in which the various components often are hard to reconcile.