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Amazon commits $147 million to create and preserve 1,260 affordable housing units in six DC wards

Amazon has announced a commitment of $147 million to create and preserve 1,260 affordable housing units in six of Washington, D.C.’s eight wards and in nearby Maryland and Virginia communities—primarily in partnership with minority-led organizations.

This is the latest commitment from Amazon’s more than $2 billion Housing Equity Fund, which aims to combat affordable housing challenges and promote equity and inclusion in the communities the company calls home, including Washington state’s Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia/Washington, D.C. region; and Nashville, Tennessee.

The Sept. 14 announcement brings Amazon’s total commitment to help create or preserve affordable housing in the Washington, D.C. area to $992 million in support of more than 6,200 affordable homes.

This total includes Amazon’s investment in Crystal House (which is over and above the $2 billion commitment), its $125 million transit commitment with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Amazon’s Real Estate Developers of Color Accelerator Program investments. Of this total, $696 million will be used to create or preserve nearly 3,600 units of affordable housing in partnership with minority-led organizations.

“We’re proud to work with a diverse set of experienced partners to create and preserve much-needed affordable homes that help keep long-term residents in the community while bolstering our diverse and historic neighborhoods,” Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, said in a statement.

“By working with these diverse development organizations, we can create long-lasting and inclusive affordable housing closer to public transit and other amenities that will improve quality of life for residents. We’ll also help ensure families across Washington, D.C. are not displaced from their communities.”

Since launching in January 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has increased the long-term committed multifamily affordable housing stock in Arlington by 22% (based on data provided by Arlington County). These newly announced projects will build on this success and increase access to affordable housing throughout Washington, DC.

Amazon’s $147 million commitment was announced at an event held at Congress Heights – an affordable housing project being developed in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8. Like many of the other affordable housing projects that are part of this announcement, Congress Heights (which is being developed by the National Housing Trust) is adjacent to public transit (in this case, a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) transit station.)

“Today is about partnership, commitment, and perseverance,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Partnership with Amazon, the National Housing Trust, WMATA, and our community partners. A commitment to build 36,000 new homes by 2025, with at least 12,000 of them affordable. And perseverance from the families who stuck with us and will soon be able to return home to this location – and what a location it is.”

This announcement aligns with Mayor Bowser’s goal of creating 36,000 new housing units, a third of which will be affordable, by 2025. Each of these commitments will ensure the long-term preservation of affordability (generally 99 years, with limited exception) and will make housing available to individuals and families earning 30-80% of the area median income (AMI). Today’s announcement showcases partnerships with the following organizations:

The Congress Heights Apartments in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Ward 8, which will include the construction of 179 new affordable units for households earning between 30-80% AMI. The apartments will be developed by National Housing Trust (NHT), which works to ensure that privately owned rental housing remains in the affordable housing stock using the tools of real estate development, rehabilitation, finance, and advocacy—all with sustainability in mind.

2026 Maryland Ave NE, located in the Carver-Langston neighborhood of Ward 5, will include the preservation of 320 affordable units for households earning between 30-60% AMI. These apartments will be preserved by Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, a leading owner and developer of mixed-use properties and attainable housing.

The Residences at Benning Road will be the second affordable, assisted-living community in Ward 7. This transit-oriented development, located at the former site of an Industrial Bank branch (one of the first Black-owned banks in the region), will create 156 new affordable apartments for households at 60% AMI within one block of the Benning Road Metro station. The Residences will be developed by Gragg Cardona Partners, a company that has been working for more than two decades on revitalizing D.C.-area neighborhoods by using public/private partnerships to bring about new investments in housing, commercial space, and community facilities.

4111 Kansas Ave NW, a newly constructed residential building (originally designed as condominiums), to create 40 new affordable units for households earning between 50-80% AMI in Ward 4. With Amazon’s support, the property was purchased by So Others Might Eat (SOME), a nonprofit with comprehensive programs that are designed to help neighbors experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty find pathways out of poverty and achieve long-term stability and success.

325 Vine will be a newly constructed apartment building in Ward 4 that will include 102 affordable units for households earning between 60-80% AMI and will feature the preservation of two historic homes. The property is located across the street from the Takoma Metro station. SGA Companies is a full-service firm specializing in transit-oriented, multifamily residential and mixed-use retail properties in the Washington, DC metro area.

S Street Village will be a new development with 90 units of affordable housing at 60% AMI in Ward 2. The site will be developed by Manna, Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing consultancy and developer committed to helping low-income and moderate-income persons acquire affordable, quality housing across Washington, D.C.

The Mount Pleasant Preservation Project will consist of the preservation of Richman Towers, Sarbin Towers, and Park Marconi in the Mount Pleasant community in Ward 1. The Project will convert 165 apartment homes into affordable homes for households earning between 40-80% AMI. Jubilee Housing is a nonprofit housing developer focused on creating affordable homes with onsite and nearby services in thriving communities.

Holmead Place Apartments consists of 99 homes in Ward 1, all of which will be converted into affordable, accessible residential units for households earning between 30-80% AMI. Wesley Housing provides safe, quality, and affordable housing to across the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

In addition to these projects in Washington, DC, Amazon is providing funding to the following developers to create additional affordable housing in Maryland and Virginia:

Community First Development Corporation is a partnership between A. Wash & Associates, Inc. and Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures (NREUV), both Black-led real estate development organizations with deep ties to the Washington, D.C. area. They are collaborating on 210 on the Park, which will be a newly constructed development containing 130 affordable units for households earning between 70-80% AMI. The apartment complex is located a short distance from the Capitol Heights Metro station in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and includes retail space that will offer discounted rates for local and minority businesses.

Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) is a nonprofit serving the residents of Montgomery County, Maryland and neighboring communities. The organization is committed to housing people, empowering families, and strengthening neighborhoods. Since 1989, MHP’s mission has been to preserve and expand access to quality, affordable housing. MHP is developing Nebel Street, which will be a new construction development containing 163 affordable homes for households earning between 30-80% AMI.

Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services’ mission is to reduce homelessness, increase community support, and promote self-sufficiency. Good Shepherd Housing has served the housing needs of Northern Virginia families and individuals for more than 40 years. They are acquiring 18 homes in the Colchester Towne Condominiums, and will preserve these at 50% AMI in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.


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