Inside the nonprofit investment fund shaping Seattle RE

Contributors to the $10.2M fund include some of Amazon's early investors

Feb.February 10, 2018 10:00 AM

(Credit from back: Pixabay; RM Media Ltd, Alpha Stock Images, Nick Youngson, CC BY-SA 3.0)

A nonprofit-owned investment fund, Forterra, is becoming a major player in shaping how Seattle real estate is carved up and developed.

The $10.25 million fund — with its 2 percent returns — buys properties that are then developed into affordable housing or business and recreation spaces by partners ranging from nonprofit developers to community groups. Recently, according to the Wall Street Journal, the fund has poured $3.8 million into three affordable housing projects that will include a retail component.

Many of Forterra’s investors come from the tech industry, which is widely-recognized for causing the gentrification and displacement that the nonprofit fund is trying to defend against. Its investors include venture capitalists who were among the earliest to bet on Amazon, Tom Alberg and Nick Hanauer.

“There has been a shift among investors, and particularly folks who have done well in this region, to recognizing that they can redirect the money they’ve made in the last decade into actually improving this region,” said Forterra president Gene Duvernoy to the Journal. [WSJ]Erin Hudson

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