Amazon commits $124M to create over 1,000 affordable rental dwellings

Amazon commits $124M to create over 1,000 affordable rental dwellings
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SEATTLE – Today Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced it will invest over $124.4 million to build 1,060 affordable homes near four public transit sites and work in partnership with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) and Sound Transit, the transit system serving the Central Puget Sound region of Washington state, to complete the housing developments. The new deals stem from Amazon’s $300 million transit commitment from 2021 to create 3,000 new affordable homes in collaboration with the transit agencies in each region.

“The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is tackling the affordable housing crisis on multiple fronts and through innovative solutions, such as teaming up with public transit authorities, which brings people closer to more opportunities, services, and a better quality of life,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to create and preserve 20,000 affordable homes for individuals and families earning moderate to low incomes in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia region; and Nashville, Tennessee. “We know that our investment in these areas brings many economic opportunities for residents in the region, but we also acknowledge that this growth needs to benefit everyone in the community. The progress we have made in our first year is promising, but we have more to do.”

Since the launch of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund in January 2021, Amazon has invested more than $1.2 billion to create or preserve over 8,000 affordable homes for families earning between 30%-80% of area median income (AMI), including first responders, teachers, and service industry employees whose wages haven’t kept pace with escalating rents. For each Amazon-funded affordable home, rents will be maintained at levels affordable for low- and moderate-income families (generally for 98 to 99 years), and rents will only rise with wage growth as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As real estate prices continue to rise, this commitment will save affected families thousands of dollars annually. Based on the average rental household size in the zip codes of funded Amazon initiatives, the newly affordable homes will support an estimated 18,000 people across all three regions, nearly a quarter of whom are children. All 8,000 units are or will be within a 10-minute walk to public transit; this ensures that moderate- to low-income families can afford to live near—and benefit from—quality public transit.

Since January 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has committed more than $795 million in loans and grants for the Arlington, Virginia-Washington, D.C. region to create and preserve more than 4,400 affordable homes. Based on data provided by Arlington County, through its efforts in the past year, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has increased the long-term committed multifamily affordable housing stock in Arlington by 22%. New transit-oriented housing commitments announced today include:

  • The Margaux at the New Carrollton Metro Station: In partnership with Metro and developer Urban Atlantic, Amazon is creating 291 new construction apartments, with guaranteed affordability for 98 years, adjacent to the Metro station in New Carrollton, Maryland, a major mixed-use, multimodal transportation hub for commuter rail and bus lines, Metrobus, Metrorail, Amtrak, and the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) under-construction Purple Line. Amazon is funding $25.4 million in low-rate loans to Urban Atlantic to begin construction. The Margaux will offer 1-, 2-, and 3- bedroom units and is an essential part of the transformation of New Carrollton, a vital gateway to the Washington, D.C. region.
  • Atworth at the College Park Metro Station: In partnership with Metro and developer Gilbane Development Company, Amazon is creating 451 new construction apartments, with guaranteed affordability for 98 years, immediately adjacent to the Metro Station, bus lines, MARC Train, University of Maryland Shuttle Service, and under-construction Purple Line. The Atworth development includes a public park which will be used for community events focusing on health and wellness, such as hosting farmers markets to promote greater access to fresh food while supporting local businesses. The Atworth is within walking distance of the University of Maryland and the Discovery District, and it contains over 2 million square feet of office, laboratory, and research space for both private companies and public agencies. Amazon is funding a $56.3 million low-rate loan to the Gilbane Development Company to begin construction.

“The transformations underway at New Carrollton and College Park are revitalizing underutilized land to create vibrant mixed-use commercial and residential destinations. These developments will reduce barriers to taking advantage of all the conveniences transit-oriented development has to offer,” said Paul J. Wiedefeld, general manager and CEO of Metro. “Thanks to Metro’s aggressive joint development initiatives and Amazon’s commitment to affordable housing near Metro, the future looks bright for smart growth near Metro and other transit options in Prince George’s County and throughout the entire region we serve.”

Since January 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has committed more than $344.3 million in loans and grants for the Puget Sound region to create and preserve 2,870 affordable homes. Based on data provided by the City of Bellevue, through its efforts in the past year, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has increased the long-term multifamily affordable housing stock in Bellevue by 20%.

“The scale that Amazon has gone to in order to create and preserve affordable housing in our region makes a real difference,” said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. “Their commitment is bringing much needed affordability and accessibility to Bellevue residents.”

New transit-oriented housing commitments announced today include:

  • Spring District/120th Station: In partnership with Sound Transit and BRIDGE Housing, Amazon is helping to create 233 new-construction affordable apartments in Bellevue, Washington near a new light rail station that is scheduled to open in 2023. Amazon is funding a $25.8 million low-rate loan commitment and predevelopment grant to BRIDGE Housing, a nonprofit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing. BRIDGE Housing has teamed up with YMCA of Greater Seattle for youth and family services at the property.
  • Angle Lake Station: In partnership with Sound Transit and Mercy Housing Northwest, Amazon is helping to create a minimum of 85 new construction affordable apartments located next to the light rail station in the City of SeaTac, Washington, which is near high-quality transit, jobs, parks, and schools. The property will be constructed with high-quality sustainable construction materials and methods to ensure sustainability and energy efficiency—thus providing savings to residents while minimizing environmental impact. Amazon is funding a $16.7 million low-rate loan commitment and predevelopment grant to Mercy Housing Northwest. Mercy Housing Northwest will in turn partner with The Arc of King County, a nonprofit which supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to provide onsite resident services.

 

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