Hey there, it’s been a long time. Good to see you. Lots of interesting developments in the world of housing innovation, policy, and affordability. Here are some:
Microsoft pledges $500M towards affordable housing in the Seattle Area. Seattle, like SF and other cities with scores of new, high paying tech jobs and no corresponding uptick in housing production, has a major affordable housing crisis. The pledge is ostensible penance for Microsoft’s part in creating the crisis.
While many laud Microsoft for its largesse, others wonder why they are doing this as a corporate entity? Instead, why aren’t they backing initiatives like last year’s proposal that would have levied large companies with a per-employee tax dedicated to homeless services and affordable housing construction (the same one Amazon put the kibosh on)?
Construction tech firm Katerra might be getting another cash infusion from the Softbank Vision Fund to the tune of $700M; this is on top of last year’s Softbank-led $865M D-round. The chatty cathies I know don’t have the greatest faith in Katerra—they say the scope of their ambitions is too great, they’re not staffed up, their initial projects have been fiascos, and they have an absentee CEO. For the sake of seeing further growth in this segment, I’m hoping these are mere growing pains and that Katerra’s promise corresponds with the gobs of cash it’s getting.Continue reading “2019 looking like a big year for housing”