Case Study

Amazon Dives into Affordable Housing

6 min read

192 Shoreline Provides Affordable Housing for Employees and Outsiders

There is going to be a lot going on at 192 Shoreline, a new affordable housing development in the Washington community of Shoreline, in the northern suburbs of Seattle. And now that JLL Capital Markets has facilitated a subordinated loan to provide gap financing for the ambitious project, it looks like full speed ahead.

The result will be 250 units of affordable housing at a development originally permitted as a 241-unit market-rate but has since changed to affordable housing because of the “ever-evolving real estate market,” according to TWG Development, the developer of 192 Shoreline.

JLL Capital Markets underwrote and arranged the $15 million loan through The Amazon Housing Equity Fund, an affiliate of the giant Internet retailer, which has been lending money to facilitate housing near Amazon hubs, like Seattle/Puget Sound (Amazon is based there); Arlington, VA; and Nashville. Amazon Housing Equity Fund is planning $2 billion in loans total, to build an anticipated 20,000 units nationwide.

However, you don’t have to be an Amazon worker to qualify to live at 192 Shoreline. “This is a Low Income Housing Tax Credit development, so all qualified applicants will be accepted. The goal of this project is to provide affordable housing for those who need it,” according to Megan Adams, local senior development director at TWG, which is based in Indianapolis.

The capital stack will facilitate the construction of a large onsite community support facility for children and adults with developmental disabilities to be operated by Alpha Supported Living Services, the Bothell, WA-based nonprofit.

The JLL team working on the project was led by senior managing director C.W. Early, who says, “Amazon provided attractive, long-term subordinate financing to fill the financing gap and ensure this project will be built. As part of Amazon’s investment, the borrower agreed to keep the project affordable for 99 years.”

JLL worked with Amazon to secure the 20-year, fixed-rate loan for the borrower, TWG Development, according to JLL. The Amazon Housing Equity Fund also provides cash grants to businesses, nonprofits and minority-led organizations to help them build solutions to the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color. The developments they fund often prevent affordable housing units from being converted to market-rate housing.

JLL, last year, did $18 billion in multifamily production in addition to its financing facilitation, multifamily investment advice and multifamily real estate sales.

Total development cost is anticipated to be north of $95 million. “The project closed in December 2021 on competitive tax-exempt bonds, taxable bonds, LIHTC equity, as well as the funding from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund,” says Adams.

Equity from the four percent LIHTC award is expected to be around $31.3 million. The bond issuer is Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and the investor is Bank of America.

Construction to Finish Next Year
Construction is set to be completed in the fall of 2023, says Adams, using affiliate TWG Construction as the general contractor. The architect on the project is Seattle-based Clark Barnes.

Seventy percent of the units at 192 Shoreline are at 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and 30 percent of the units are at 60 percent AMI, according to an agreement with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. “The original plans and permits were created by a market-rate developer who decided to sell rather than move to construction, so TWG got site control and made revisions to the plans/permits to increase unit count, especially for large family units,” says Adams.

TWG has done other projects helping specialty populations, like the visually impaired or foster children. For instance, “Pando Aspen Grove is located in Indianapolis and is a permanent supportive housing complex serving young adults who were previously part of Indiana’s child welfare and fostering system,” says Adams.

Once complete, the seven-story 192 Shoreline will consist of a mix of studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, as well as 160 parking spaces, according to JLL.

Units will feature an energy-efficient appliance package, wood cabinets with laminate countertops, faux wood vinyl flooring, a combination tub/shower and LED lighting. Select units will have an exterior balcony or patio area.

“Common area amenities will include an on-site leasing office, bike storage, a secure package room, lounge areas including a game room, laundry facilities and fitness center and an outdoor courtyard with seating areas and garden planters.”

Located at 19022 Aurora Ave. North in Shoreline, the property is approximately 11 miles north of Seattle’s Central Business District.

“The neighborhood offers proximity to transit,” notes JLL. “The site is adjacent to Shoreline Park & Ride and near additional bus stops located at the intersection of N. 192nd Street and Aurora Avenue North.”

No More Rollerball   
The new development will represent quite a change of format for the property, which has been used as a rollerball arena for the Rat City Rollergirls and a mattress factory prior to this. The original building was demolished in February.

The property will provide housing and supportive services to general low-income households, as well as to disabled people through Alpha Supportive Living Services Agency, which describes itself as a nonprofit agency providing supported living and group training home services to adults and children with developmental disabilities in King, Snohomish and Spokane counties in Washington state.

Alpha says it will have a community facility on the second level of the 192 Shoreline housing complex. According to an article in the local Shoreline Area News, “This new space will allow them to reach more individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The community space is about 4,700 square feet and will have two large activity/conference rooms, a teaching kitchen and satellite office space, as well as storage.”

A big part of the new facility will be to host Alpha’s Community Projects program, “a substitute for the no longer state funded adult day services programs.”

Alpha notes the new space will support other activities, as well.

“We will be able to host an art club in the community center, as well as cooking classes and other events. These activities will be open to other supported living agencies and the community at large,” says Alpha.

In addition, Alpha will offer:

  • Nutrition classes taught by Alpha’s nutritionist;
  • Satellite office space for staff;
  • A recreation/respite area for clients;
  • A staff break/respite area; and
  • Provider training and staff development to other agencies, including Dementia Specialty Training, Mental Health Specialty Training, Nurse Delegation and Diabetes Training.
Mark Fogarty has covered housing and mortgages for more than 30 years. A former editor at National Mortgage News, he has written extensively about tax credits.