Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Community Fund Makes Sen$e--You Can Say That Again!

A small group of stakeholders celebrated the launch last night of Sound Community Initiatives, an innovative investment fund that promises to help revitalize low-and moderate-income neighborhoods while paying off big for contributors.

Sound Community Initiatives has been dubbed a "double botton line" fund promising healthy investment returns--the first bottom line--as well as jobs, amenities and strengthening of poor communities--the second bottom line. Over the past ten years, similar funds have been used to support more than $2 billion in commercial, retail, residential and mixed-use projects in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore and Miami. Sound Community Initiatives expects to pump as much as $360 million worth of development funding into five Puget Sound counties--including King, Pierce, Thurston, Snohomish and Kitsap. And fund developers expect it to be the first of as many as five such investment pools, with the potential to generate as much as $3.2 billion in development in the five counties. The Puget Sound will be the first region in the Northwest to benefit from such a program, thanks to three years of work by Martin Luther King Housing Development Association director Felix Flannigan and a group of local investors.

Local funds will be managed by Los Angeles-based investment group Kennedy Wilson, which services more than $8 billion worth of commercial and residential property. The firm also manages five real estate funds representing more than $2 billion in assets. Kennedy Wilson officials promise to share their development and investment expertise with local communities in addition to maximizing returns for investors.

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