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Amazon commits $147 million for D.C. area affordable housing units

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An effort by Washington, DC officials to encourage the construction of more affordable housing is aided by Amazon. Amazon said Wednesday that he will contribute $147 million to help build or maintain 1,260 units for low- and middle-income people. district.

money from the company housing equity fundEfforts deployed by the tech giant to alleviate affordable housing shortages in New York, DC, Nashville and Seattle.Amazon is expanding its corporate footprint in these three metropolitan areas. Activists and government officials fear that an influx of highly paid tech workers could exacerbate the shortage and displace longtime residents.

“By working with these diverse development organizations, we can create long-term, inclusive affordable housing close to public transportation and other amenities that improve the quality of life for our residents.” , housing fund director Catherine Buell said at a news conference Wednesday. “We also help families across Washington, D.C., avoid being expelled from their communities.” (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Amazon will have more than 25,000 employees in the region as it opens its new headquarters. Experts are weighing how this will affect gentrification and employment. (Video: Hadley Greene/Washington Post, Photo: Jackie Ray/Washington Post)

Buell and DC officials have announced commitments at Congress Heights Apartments in the 8th Ward. long legal battle Between the DC Attorney General’s Office and the landlord until a settlement in January. This is his one of 11 projects around the DC area that Amazon is helping fund.

The low-income tenants of this property next to the Congress Heights subway station lived in filthy conditions for years, including persistent mold and pests that hadn’t been addressed. Washington, D.C. Attorney General Carl A. Racine, Democrat, alleges landlord Sanford Capital failed to evict low-income renters to make way for more expensive market-priced homes. Did.

The few remaining residents of Congress Heights live in temporary housing off-site after much of the legal battle.

“Today is about partnership, commitment and perseverance,” DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Democrat, said at a press conference. “Perseverance from the family that is with us and can return to this place soon – and what a place it is.”

Ownership of the property was transferred to a real estate investment firm as part of the settlement. The real estate investment firm plans to work with the nonprofit National Housing Trust to demolish the existing building and replace it with new units. According to the National Housing Trust, Amazon financed $12.7 million of the project’s total development cost of $109 million through grants and loans at below-market rates.

The refurbished Congress Heights Apartments include 179 new units for households earning 30-80% of the area’s median income (AMI). About $38,700 to $82,300 for a family of four.

Bowser set a goal Create 36,000 new housing units in your district By 2025, include 12,000 affordable for households earning 30-80% of AMI. Independent of Amazon, her efforts are focused on creating units in all of her eight boroughs of the city, especially in wealthy boroughs that aren’t always welcoming to low-income renters.

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Wednesday’s announcement includes eight projects spread across six DC boroughs, in addition to one project each in Fairfax, Montgomery and Price George counties.

A critic of Amazon’s housing equity fund said of the company’s efforts: not providing enough benefits to poor familiesEspecially those who earn too little to keep up with rising rents, but too much to qualify for most public benefits.

Amazon is claiming this fund in an effort to help renters earn 30-80% of their AMI. However, according to data provided by the company, as of April, just 6% of units reserved for that money in the DC area were reserved for families at the lower end of the interval.

Amazon’s $2 billion housing push mostly excludes the poorest in the DC area

4 of the 11 properties included in Wednesday’s announcement Create or maintain family-affordable units that represent 30-50% of AMI in and around the district. Amazon officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how many units the total would be.

Congress Heights Apartments will be rented at 5% at 30% AMI, 75% at 50% AMI and the remaining 20% ​​at 80% AMI, DC officials said in January.

Last summer, the company announced it would commit $125 million from funds to build new units on land owned by Metro or near Metro stations. Amazon also didn’t disclose what it received from existing funding commitments of the 11 facilities, including at least three stations near subway stations.

Amazon has already hired 5,000 employees to work at its new headquarters under construction in Arlington, and expects to add another 20,000 by 2030. If this condition is met, the company will receive up to $573 million in subsidies from local and state governments. Up to $773 million if you meet or exceed your employment target.

Arlington officials expected to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the company by this summer when the deal was signed in 2019, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the local economy is looming. no money paid still in the company.

In addition to the Congress Heights Apartments, Amazon’s $147 million is also funding the construction or purchase reservations for the following buildings:

  • Existing condominium in the Carver Langston area of ​​the 5th Ward. AMI maintains 320 affordable units for households with incomes between 30-60% of his.
  • New assisted living community located one block away from Benning Road subway station in District 7. 156 apartments will be built for 60% AMI households.
  • A new apartment building is being built in Petworth, District 4. This includes his 40 units for households that earn 50-80% of his AMI.
  • New condo across from Tacoma subway station in 4th district. Includes 102 units for households with AMI income between 60% and 80%
  • New development on S Street in District 2. Includes 90 units for households with AMI income of 60%.
  • Three existing apartments in Ward 1, Mount Pleasant, will convert 165 units for households with incomes between 40% and 80% of AMI.
  • Convert 99 apartments in existing buildings in Columbia Heights, District 1 for households with AMI incomes between 30% and 80%.
  • New development near Capitol Heights subway station in Prince George’s County. Includes 130 units for households with AMI income of 70-80%
  • A new development in Montgomery County. Built 163 affordable homes for households with AMI income between 30% and 80%
  • A set of 18 condominiums in a complex in the Hybra Valley area of ​​Fairfax County. Saved for households earning 50% of his AMI.

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