Seattle officials recently unveiled a plan to create 6,000 units of affordable housing in the city.
Some have called the measure a "grand bargain" between real estate developers and affordable housing advocates. The legislation includes a commercial linkage fee, called the Affordable Housing Impact Mitigation Program. It requires developers to pay a fee for each square foot of new commercial development.
Funds from those fees, ranging from $5 to $17 per square foot, will be used to pay for new affordable housing units. Also part of the plan is a requirement for new multifamily developments to set aside between 5% and 8% of units for affordable housing for 50 years. Residents who earn up to 60% of the area median income, currently $37,680 for individuals and $53,760 for families of four, would be eligible for the affordable units.
In addition, the city will consider increasing development capacity. In the downtown and South Lake Union areas, new developments would be permitted to have an extra 1,000 sf per floor. Outside of the main downtown area, new buildings would be permitted to add an additional story.