(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. 
                                Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

Microsoft reveals project criteria for $500 million affordable housing funds

The company will soon accept applications for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside.

A Microsoft official met with local business owners on Wednesday and outlined the tech giant’s plans and criteria for projects related to the $500 million affordable housing commitment it has put out in an attempt to curb the homelessness crisis.

Microsoft will open applications for funding next week for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside that meet a criteria detailed at a Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA) breakfast on May 29. Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, gave some of the first details about how specifically the company will disperse the funding it announced in January.

Broom specified that Bellevue projects must have at least 100 units; dedicate at least 40 percent of the units dedicated to middle-income families or 80 percent of the units to low-income families; the projects must be within a 60-minute commute of Bellevue during peak traffic hours; and developers must commit to maintaining affordable prices long-term, at least 10 years.

Projects will also be considered based on diversity within the housing and the surrounding area along with what amenities are included.

“Ideally, [the projects] will have daycare on the ground level or some form of health care,” Broom said. “We want to build a walkable place people want to live at.”

The information was clarified during a panel discussion at the BDA breakfast with Broom, Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, and former Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle and detailed the affordable housing crisis earlier that morning.

The $500 million commitment will fund projects that create and preserve affordable housing in the Puget Sound region in an attempt to curb the housing crisis. The funds are split to provide about $225 million to subsidize middle income housing in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish while another $250 million will go toward low-income housing across King County.

Despite the immediate goal of improving affordable housing options throughout the region, Microsoft’s primary goal aims to eliminate some of the risk around affordable housing projects while creating a precedent for future investors to follow.

“Our biggest goal will be, can we create replicable products that other investors can use [to] make a little bit of money? We can get the markets to work a little better [and] essentially take away some of that risk of investing.” Broom said. “That is ultimately what our goal is with this portfolio.”

Broom, Davis and Gregoir highlighted that while Microsoft makes this effort to solve part of the affordable housing crisis, local business owners can also look at how to invest in the problem.

“There is something everybody can contribute to this work, the thing we’re looking for is creativity,” Broom said. “So that means nonprofit sitting at table with for profit and seeing how they can improve [and] work together to provide funding and tools that will incentivize and provide comfort to people looking to make a change.”

“It doesn’t have to be $500 million,” Davis added. “Think through what it is you individually can contribute proportionally.”

“Failure is not an option,” Gregoir concluded. “We have got to come together and embrace bold new kinds of ideas, take risks and succeed where everyone else has failed.”

Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak stands as former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, thanked local officials for their effort to work with Microsoft in curbing the affordable housing crisis. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak stands as former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, thanked local officials for their effort to work with Microsoft in curbing the affordable housing crisis. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. 
                                Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoir, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

More in Business

The new Bothell Friday Market will run from 3-8 p.m., every Friday through Sept. 27. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
New Bothell Friday Market opens

Bothell Friday Market will run every Friday through Sept. 27

Kiddie Academy locations on the Eastside win national recognition

Six locally owned educational child care centers received an award for brand excellence and customer service.

Selection and steady sales characterize local market

Buyers can enjoy additional selection this summer as they look for the home of their choice.

From left: Craig Olson, Joan Schrammeck, and Paula Paula DelGiudice with a solar panel. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Little Bit in Redmond goes solar

Northwest Electric and Solar (NWES) of Kenmore donates a solar energy system to the therapeutic riding center.

Microsoft reveals project criteria for $500 million affordable housing funds

The company will soon accept applications for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside.

Local real estate market brings more opportunities for buyers

Homebuyers are also benefiting from lower interest rates, which are currently are less than four percent.

Maurita Colburn, the chamber’s Member and Community Relations manager, welcomes Country Village owner Leeann Tesorieri as she receives a standing ovation from local business owners. Kailan Manandic/staff photo
Bothell Kenmore Chamber honors Country Village

The chamber awarded Country Village owner, Leeann Tesorieri, as member of the month.

Kailan Manandic/staff photo 
                                Bothell’s newest animal hospital opens with a joint celebration hosted by the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce.
Twin Pines Animal Hospital offers new vet services in Bothell

The animal hospital had been operating in the community for years before opening a new location.

The data visualized here was compiled from Apartment List’s monthly rent reports. See an interactive chart below. Kailan Manandic / data illustration
Eastside rental market could balance out with the region

Eastside rent medians increased by 2.8 in the past year, a decrease in growth from previous years.

Bothell’s Country Village opened in 1981 and offers around 40 small businesses a place to operate. It was thought to be closing this month, but recently announced shops will remain open until June 1. Aaron Kunkler / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
Country Village announces some shops will remain open until June

The well-loved village announced the two-month extension for certain businesses two days after its supposed closure.

Work crews construct the first floor of Kenmore’s newest downtown development, the Flyway. The building is adjacent to the Hangar, Kenmore’s community center, and will be a mixed retail and residential space.
Kenmore’s newest downtown development breaks ground

The Flyway broke ground last week and aims to complete construction by February 2020.

Aaron Kunkler / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter 
                                Country Village is home to more than 40 local businesses. It is unclear whether these shops will secure new locations in Bothell before the center closes in April 2019.
Country Village closed after hosting local shops since 1985

The Country Village hosted about 40 local shops and restaurants before closing on March 31.