EVERETT — A 430-unit affordable apartment complex developer is getting $1 million from a state grant through the city of Everett.
DevCo, a Bellevue-based real estate investment company, is constructing the five buildings called Four Corners at the former Kmart on Evergreen Way between 79th Place SE and Highway 526. The buildings vary in size up to six stories, and units range from one to five bedrooms.
All of the apartments are intended for people earning at most 80% of area median income, but the company has a target of averaging 60%. In today’s dollars, that equals $69,420 for a family of four.
The location is near a planned light rail station currently slated to open by 2041.
Everett applied for the grant and is passing the money on to the developer to help offset fees for connecting to the city’s sewer and water lines.
“This one stood up because of our real desire to focus on affordability in that particular area near the future light rail station,” Everett special projects manager Jennifer Gregerson said. “It’s really important to ensure the folks that live there have opportunities to stay in the community.”
The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded the grant from its Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program (CHIP). The legislature funded the new endeavor with millions from the state’s allotment of federal American Rescue Plan Act money.
Grants of up to $2.5 million were doled out to 54 projectsthis year. That helped offset development costs for 4,700 affordable housing units across the state.
“We’re definitely hearing about continued interest in the program,” Commerce CHIP manager Eric Guida said. “Putting together an affordable housing project has layers upon layers of funding, so anything that can assist has value.”
Cities, counties and even some utility districts could apply for the grants to go toward housing projects with at least a quarter of the units guaranteed to be affordable for at least 25 years.
The government agency that applied for a CHIP grant had to have a sales and use tax for affordable housing, which meant at least 80% of area median income.
The money was intended to cover infrastructure costs, such as utility hookup fees that can be tens of thousands of dollars. Four Corners, which got the largest amount in the third and final round of funding this year, was the only one in Snohomish County to get one of the grants.
DevCo already paid its sewer and water connection fees to the city, which was sending the grant money to the company, Gregerson said.
Anne Fritzel, Commerce’s housing programs manager, said encouraging dense development like Four Corners in urban areas helps meet the state’s climate action goals and requirements in the Growth Management Act. The state law is intended to prevent sprawl and concentrate housing in and near cities, which helps keep infrastructure costs lower.
Staff in Commerce are developing housing growth targets in communities across the state. The report is expected in January.
Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; email@example.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.
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