Amazon announced a commitment today of $300 million from its Housing Equity Fund to create more than 3,000 new affordable homes near public transit for families in the Puget Sound, Washington; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville regions.
This new commitment is part of the Seattle-based tech giant’s Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in the cities it calls home.
In Arlington, Amazon is teaming up with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the Washington region’s rail, bus and paratransit service, to create 1,000 new affordable housing units on property owned by Metro at their stations throughout the region.
Amazon is committing $125 million in below-market capital of which $25 million is set aside to fund development led by minority developers, as part of the fund’s goals to include and grow capacity of minority-owned and -led businesses and organizations. These units will give families access to housing at Metrorail stations and other transit sites, making amenities and community resources more accessible.
It’s the latest round in Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund partnership in the greater Washington region. The support follows its investment of $381.9 million in below-market loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve and create up to 1,300 affordable homes on the Crystal House property in Arlington, which Amazon announced in January.
“Transit-oriented development has a proud legacy at Metro, and with this investment from Amazon we can continue to help the region tackle the challenges of housing affordability, congestion, and sustainability,” said Metro general manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld. “Having a philanthropic partner in this effort, along with the support of the public and private sectors, puts the region on the best path possible to meeting our shared housing, transit, equity and economic prosperity goals.”
In Puget Sound, Amazon is partnering with Sound Transit and committing $100 million in below-market capital to expedite the creation of up to 1,200 new housing units on their surplus properties.
In Nashville, Amazon is committing $75 million in below-market capital for developers to create 800 new housing units on privately owned land within a half-mile of WeGo transit corridors.
Transit-oriented development is a unique approach to preserving and creating affordable housing options so moderate- to low-income families can afford to live near—and benefit from—quality public transit.
When successful, transit-oriented development has a range of benefits, including greater economic activity, reduced traffic congestion and associated environmental benefits, and a strengthened, more resilient labor force.
Amazon is providing developers with fast access to capital at below-market rates to expedite and create affordable homes.