Seattle invests $22 million in affordable housing

Jason Kelly | Washington RealEstateRama

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors such as RTD's West Rail Line from downtown Denver to Golden.Today Mayor Ed Murray announced $22 million for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Seattle. The long-term loans through the Office of Housing will support the City’s priorities of reducing homelessness, supporting transit-oriented development and providing options for families of all incomes to live in Seattle.

“Through our partnerships with the non-profit community, we are building a better reality for hundreds of families and individuals,” said Murray. “Today we’re taking another step to reduce homelessness that is a biting reality on our sidewalks and we’re making families’ dreams of affordable homes come true.”

The $22 million announced today will be loaned to housing developers to build and preserve rent- and income-restricted apartments affordable to our city’s low-income residents:

- Mercy Othello Plaza: Mercy Housing’s project at the Othello light rail station will house 108 low-income families in a mix of units, including 62 two and three bedroom apartments. ($8.5 million in City funding) Read more

Fund for affordable housing in transit-oriented developments to expand beyond Denver

Molly Armbrister | Denver Business Journal

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors such as RTD's West Rail Line from downtown Denver to Golden.Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other dignitaries gathered Tuesday to launch an expansion of the Denver Transit-Oriented Development Fund for affordable homes, a $24 million endeavor.

The fund, which was created to operate within the city of Denver, will expand to include the seven-county metro area.

The $24 million fund will be used to finance property acquisition and pre-development loans for developers creating and preserving affordable homes along transit corridors in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

Enterprise Community Partners Inc. and Enterprise Community Loan Fund Inc. announced the expansion Tuesday, with Hancock on hand. Enterprise is an affordable-housing advocate headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with an office in Denver that led the effort to expand the fund.

“Both the geographic and capital expansion of the Denver TOD Fund will enable us to better create opportunity for Denver metro area residents as we connect affordable homes to transit, jobs, good schools, and health care,” said Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund. Read more

MARTA making progress on projects big and small

Dan Whisenhunt | decaturish.com

MARTA CEO Keith Parker shows off a state of the art bathroom system at the Lindbergh Center Station.                                  Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

MARTA CEO Keith Parker shows off a state of the art bathroom system at the Lindbergh Center Station. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The basic things have held MARTA back for years.

Trains haven’t run on time. Funding for the transit system has been hamstrung by a rule that dictated where MARTA could spend the sales tax money it receives from the city of Atlanta, and Fulton and DeKalb counties. MARTA  raised fares while cutting services. Also, the agency had removed 2/3 of station bathrooms within five years.

Anyone who has ventured into a urine soaked MARTA elevator could tell you that.

But after several years of MARTA’s numbers moving in the wrong direction, the agency is getting its act together under the leadership of CEO Keith Parker. Trains are running more frequently on the weekdays. The archaic funding restrictions requiring the agency to devote 50 percent of its money to operations and 50 percent to infrastructure have been suspended. Clayton County voters overwhelmingly voted to allow MARTA to expand its services there, the first time the system has moved into a new county since the 1970’s.

And riders will start seeing more bathrooms.

Parker, who took over in December 2012, on Dec. 11 showed off one of MARTA’s new state of the art restrooms at the Lindbergh Center Station. Read more

Boston Banks $1.35M to Support a Housing Innovation Lab

Nick DeLuca | BostInno

Image via Creative Commons/ amy gizienski (CC BY 2.0)

Image via Creative Commons/ amy gizienski (CC BY 2.0)

Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday that Boston is one of 12 U.S. cities awarded a grant for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program. The $1.35 million will be dispersed over a three year period and be used to support a Housing Innovation Lab as part of the mayor’s sweeping Boston 2030 housing strategy.

“We must do everything possible to ensure that everyone who wants to help make Boston a better place can afford to live here,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “Potential partners surround us, from local architects to world-leading colleges and universities. The Housing Innovation Lab will help us strengthen these partnerships and create new ones to help us solve Boston’s housing challenges.”

News of the grant comes less than a week after Walsh addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, in which he made note of his plan to implement transit-oriented workforce housing along the Red and Orange Lines. Approximately 20,000 housing units of the overall goal of 53,000 could come from these two “growth zones.” Read more

10 development projects that will transform Minneapolis in 2015

Phillip Kosk | The Line

THE PROPOSED WATER WORKS PARKWhen we first planned this roundup of exciting architectural and development additions to Minneapolis and St. Paul, we confronted the gargantuan elephant in the room: The new Vikings Stadium. While yours truly has gone on record admiring the formal design of the building, far too many questions linger about other critical aspects of the project.

Will the perimeter of the building and landscaping around it really add vitality to the neighborhood as promised—or will it just be Metrodome 2.0? Will fans need to scramble over piles of dead birds to get inside due to the building’s sheer glass walls? Will the promised new park, the “Yard,” really be a boon to Downtown East, or will it simply be a windswept placeholder for Vikings tailgating events.

Rather than go on with more verbal hand-ringing about “The People’s Stadium,” let’s turn our attention to 10 projects we are excited about and that promise to transform neighborhoods, enrich our quality of life and add to the roster of “must see” attractions for out-of-town guests.

1. Surly Brewing Co.  

If Helen of Troy was the “face that launched a thousand ships,” then Surly was the microbrew that launched a thousand brewpubs—at least in Minnesota. Two years after Governor Mark Dayton signed the so-called “Surly Bill” into law, which allowed breweries to sell the product they make where they make it, the Plymouth-based beer-meisters broke ground on their dream building in an industrial corner of Southeast Minneapolis by the University of Minnesota campus. Read more

A Booming North Carolina County Presses Reset on Transit Planning

Michael Grass | Government Executive

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, the commercial center of Wake County. John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, the commercial center of Wake County. John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

A nationally recognized transit planning consultant didn’t have many answers for a large gathering of local elected officials, civic leaders, community activists and residents gathered in a crowded convention center ballroom in North Carolina’s capital city for a “transit kickoff” meeting on Monday night.

There were no grand visions, no lines drawn across county maps showing where new bus lines might go or where a future light rail line might be built.

In fact, Jarrett Walker, the Oregon-based planning consultant and author of the blog and book Human Transit who is working closely with Wake County on its new transit planning efforts, barely mentioned the term “light rail,” instead talking about transit in more generic terms.

That’s not to say there won’t be a light rail line or commuter rail system, like the ones proposed in a Raleigh-area 2011 transit plan that didn’t go anywhere. Read more

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