Mayor Jenny Durkan Publishes Mercer Island Mega Block Proposal

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Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a major update in the sale of nearly three acres in South Lake Union, dubbed the “Mercer Mega Block,” as it was revealed that Alexandria Real Estate won the bid, committing to a total of $143.5 million for the land and money allocated to provide services to the homeless. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Durkan’s proposal “would buy real estate to preserve and build affordable housing, work with employers to foster homeownership and provide financing of backyard cottages, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs).” Below is a breakdown of Durkan’s plan, which now much be approved by Seattle City Council.

$57.2M: Equitable, Transit-Oriented Development

$15 million to be allocated to the revolving Equitable Development Initiative Site Acquisition Loan, which helps affordable developers secure land and pay back the loans upon permanent financing. The other $42.2 million is proposed to go toward a Strategic Property Acquisition Fund, which supports “purchasing existing lower income properties or development sites around transit stations in areas with high risk of displacement.”

$15M: Affordable, For-Sale Housing

The city will find places to develop properties in the Rainier Valley for “people who make up to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI),” which equates to approximately $87,000 for a family of four. Mayor Durkan would also like to look at partnerships with employers that would help employees that make 80 percent of the AMI in purchasing homes.

$6M: ADU Financing

Recent changes by City Council will likely spur the construction of ADUs and in order to help with that growth, the plan proposes a loan program (with terms TBD) that will allow homeowners to borrow money to construct an ADU and pay the loan back upon selling the home.