February 8, 2018
Tech Wealth Turns Attention to Affordable Housing in Seattle
From the Wall Street Journal, 2/7/2018
Rising wealth from Seattle’s technology boom changed the face of a neighborhood that used to be the black community’s historic core. Now, tech wealth is joining efforts to push back against gentrification. The project, to secure affordable housing in Seattle’s Central District, is one of several backed by a new $10.25 million fund run by a nonprofit that has attracted high-profile investors from the technology world, including two of Amazon.com Inc.’s earliest investors. Its partners have included an African-American activist group, nonprofit developers and immigrant communities. The 10-year fund offers a modest annual return of 2%.
In Tukwila, a city south of Seattle and home to a large Somali immigrant community, the organization bought a crime-plagued motel across the street from a local mosque. Under the deal, the mosque will take ownership of the motel and help redesign it into a marketplace for Somali businesses and workforce housing.
Pacifica Law Group is serving as pro bono legal counsel for the Abu Bakr Islamic Center for this project.