A Northwest developer is voluntarily charging lower rents on 10 percent of the units in its Washougal apartment complex, Ninebark.
Killian Pacific, a Portland-based development company, made 24 of Ninebark’s 246 units, located along the edge of the Columbia River, affordable to people making 80 percent of the area’s median income ($63,150 for one person or a combined $90,200 for a family of four in Clark County).
For reference, if a one-bedroom apartment was $1,500, which is fair-market rent, according to Clark County, a one-bedroom unit affordable for someone making 80 percent of the area’s median income would be $1,200.
Michi Slick, Killian Pacific’s director of development, said the decision stemmed from recognition of the housing affordability challenges confronting the region.
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“While we don’t specialize in affordable housing development, we saw a chance to make a meaningful contribution within our sphere of influence as market-rate developers,” she said in an email. “We saw it as an opportunity to lead by example and inspire positive change within the industry.”
Killian Pacific did not receive any public funds, tax incentives or financial benefits. Slick said there are no significant costs associated with the program, outside of making sure people continue to qualify for the income-restricted units.
However, she noted that the favorable market conditions at play when the project was being planned in 2021, such as lower interest rates, influenced the decision as well. Those conditions have since worsened.
This is the first time the developer has voluntarily included this many affordable units, and it hopes to do similar programs in the future, Slick said.
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