Courtesy of Sound Transit

The Sound Transit board of directors today approved key transaction terms with developers to build almost seven acres of transit-oriented development (TOD) located across from the Spring District/120th Link light rail station that will open in 2023. Plans call for affordable and market-rate housing, offices, retail, and public space.  

San Francisco-based Bridge Housing — a nonprofit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in California, Oregon and Washington — and its partners were selected last year to develop the project, valued at more than $500 million, according to a news release from Sound Transit.

The transportation agency noted that the project will be adjacent to its new Operations and Maintenance Facility East (OMF East).

The project is planned to include about 500 units of housing, of which about 280 would be affordable units serving incomes between 30 percent and 80 percent of area median income. It also will include more than 400,000 square feet of office space, active ground-floor uses including retail and resident amenities, and a public park. The multiphase TOD is expected to be built over the next decade. 

Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue worked for years planning how to integrate the OMF East into the city’s plans for the Bel-Red corridor.

“Together, through creative engineering and partnerships, this area will now have not only a maintenance base, but also affordable housing, office, retail, and a park, all within a short walk to the Bel-Red light rail station,” Sound Transit board member and King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci said in the release.

"The Spring District/120th Station area is transforming into a transit-oriented community with thousands of new homes and jobs including some 280 units of desperately needed affordable housing,” added Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “The economic development that is accompanying our Eastlink rail expansion must benefit everyone and we are thrilled that this project will deliver affordable housing alongside market rate housing, office and retail spaces surrounding our new maintenance facility and rail station, allowing residents quick access to opportunities on a light rail network stretching from Redmond to Seattle to Lynnwood and Federal Way by 2024."

Bridge Housing will serve as the qualified entity, lead developer, and affordable housing developer. Bridge has participated in the development of more than 18,000 homes on the West Coast.

“Sound Transit's Spring District site is an unparalleled opportunity for Bridge to bring much-needed affordable housing to the Bellevue community as part of a vibrant, mixed-use collaboration with Essex Property Trust and Touchstone/Urban Renaissance,” said Ken Lombard, president and CEO of Bridge Housing.

Seattle-based Touchstone, a URG Company, will develop the commercial office component.

Essex Property Trust, a fully integrated real estate investment trust that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in West Coast markets, will develop the market-rate housing.

The development team is pursuing a creative financing strategy for affordable housing that utilizes the recently announced Amazon Housing Equity Fund, which committed $100 million to support affordable housing on Sound Transit property, the release said. 

The City of Bellevue and Sound Transit each contributed approximately an acre of land at no cost, valued at around $12 million, to support the development of affordable housing.

Once all office and market-rate housing projects have completed their construction and lease-up period, Sound Transit can expect a minimum of $1.36 million in annual ground rent. This amount increases over time with consumer price index adjustments and land value readjustments. Sound Transit also will receive 1 percent of gross sales proceeds as profit participation upon the first sale of an office or market-rate housing building, the release said.