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Microsoft to invest $500M in Seattle area affordable housing

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Microsoft to invest $500M in Seattle area affordable housing

Tech giant Microsoft Corp. committed to invest $500 million to increase and preserve affordable housing in and around Seattle.

The move is aimed at preserving existing affordable housing stock, developing new supply and partnering with nonprofits to take on the affordable housing crisis in the Puget Sound region and the Eastside of King County, Microsoft said.

Most of the investment capital is expected to be deployed within three years, with $225 million earmarked for below-market-rate returns focused on preserving and developing new Eastside middle-income housing.

Another $250 million will be invested at market-rate returns to support low-income housing across King County and $25 million is marked for philanthropic grants to tackle homelessness.

The company said the investment comes along with a declaration from mayors of nine of the biggest cities around Seattle to boost affordable housing stock by considering zoning changes in select areas, providing public land for projects and offering tax incentives for developers.

The Puget Sound area has logged a 21% increase in jobs since 2011 while housing units have only increased 13% during the period, the tech giant said.

Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Wash.