With Amazon making Arlington home to its new HQ2, the company has started giving back to the community. Announced early this week, Amazon will donate vacant land surrounding the 16-acre Crystal House property to Arlington County to build new affordable housing.
Valued at $40 million, the donation will help create over 550 new homes. Once approved by the county board, the new houses will be home to residents earning 80 percent of the area median income and below. Crystal House is located right across the street from Amazon’s campus next to Metropolitan Park.
“Amazon is committed to promoting economic inclusion for all families and fostering a thriving community in and around Arlington,” said Catherine Buell, head of community development, Amazon, in a recent press release. “We are excited to build on our earlier work to preserve affordable housing at Crystal House in the heart of our new headquarters. This donation to the county brings us a step closer to achieving up to 1,300 total affordable homes at the site for families earning moderate- to low-incomes.”
This donation is a part of Amazon’s housing equity fund, which was created back in January 2021. The retail giant made a $2 billion commitment to Arlington, Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington state’s Puget Sound region to build over 20,000 affordable homes in their cities. During that same month, the company provided $381.9 million to the Washington Housing Conservancy to purchase the Crystal House community to help preserve affordable appartments for moderate- and low-income families.
“Amazon is demonstrating dedication and commitment to the Arlington community with this game-changing opportunity to increase affordable housing in the county,” said Arlington County Housing Division Chief Anne Venezia. “Future development on the Crystal House site will help bolster critical housing-supply goals in an area with limited affordable housing options.”
Since 2000, the county has reported a loss in 14,400 privately owned, affordably priced housing units. From 2010 to 2018, median home values and rents in the area saw an increase of 20 and 11 percent, outpacing the growth of median household incomes, which only rose 7 percent over the same timeframe.
Construction on the affordable homes will not start until 2025.
The Seattle-based company has already started construction on its HQ2 in Arlington, which is currently scheduled to open its Metropolitan Park in 2023. As of April 2021, Amazon predicts the new headquarters will bring 25,000 new jobs to the area.
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