Taking a unique approach to providing affordable housing, LinkedIn is pledging $10 million in seed money that would be loaned out for new residential developments in Mountain View. This pool of money is described as a new tool to help affordable housing projects that struggle to acquire property in a competitive real estate market.
Mountain View city officials formally approved the idea last week. If the plan goes forward, the money would be administered by the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley as part of the nonprofit's TECH fund.
"This is an innovative way we can tackle one affordable housing challenge right now," said Kevin Zwick, Housing Trust president. "This is another way that the city of Mountain View is in the vanguard of showing cities new ways to do affordable housing."
LinkedIn is contributing the $10 million as an upfront community benefit for the tech giant's proposed 612,000-square-foot expansion of its campus at 700 Middlefield Road. The money would be deducted from the normal housing impact fees for the project, which are expected to total $16 million.
Normally, developers pay housing impact fees when they receive building permits, which isn't expected to happen until mid-2019 for the LinkedIn project. In order to put the money to use right away, LinkedIn proposed paying this $10 million portion in advance to help the Housing Trust's loan program.
City staff emphasized that the upfront payment was not a quid pro quo to guarantee the city would approve the company's Middlefield project. If the city ends up rejecting the development project, the $10 million would be eventually repaid to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn's money is being specifically targeted to help affordable housing developers acquire land in Mountain View, which has been an ongoing challenge given the super-heated real estate market.
The loan program would last for five years, and LinkedIn officials said they hoped multiple affordable housing projects could benefit from it. Zwick, of the Housing Trust, promised that city officials would be consulted about which projects should benefit from the investment loans.
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