Virginia announces first affordable housing investment for Amazon initiative

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The Virginia Housing Development Authority has made its first affordable housing investment as part of the Commonwealth’s partnership with Amazon.

VHDA, a public-private partnership that provides affordable housing without using state or general fund dollars, has awarded a $5 million grant and a nearly $83 million mortgage loan to Parkstone Alexandria, an Alexandria apartment community, to develop affordable housing in proximity to Amazon’s new headquarters.

The development will provide 326 units, most at affordable rents for individuals and families meeting income requirements.

VHDA has allocated $15 million per year for five years to support affordable housing initiatives in Northern Virginia and the development of affordable housing near Amazon.

“We know that access to quality, affordable housing is key to attracting new businesses to our Commonwealth,” Gov. Ralph Northam said. “That’s why addressing Northern Virginia’s housing needs was a central component of our proposal to Amazon and continues to be at the forefront of our efforts to create thriving communities for all Virginians. Parkstone Alexandria is a great example of how affordable housing solutions can advance our economic development priorities.”

In addition to VHDA’s contributions, the City of Alexandria provided an $8 million loan, and JBG SMITH’s Washington Housing Initiative provided a loan of more than $15 million to complete the acquisition.

In January, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) purchased the Parkstone Alexandria apartment community, formerly known as the Avana Alexandria Apartments, located in the Fairlington area of Alexandria.

The Parkstone Alexandria will provide 130 apartments serving families with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), and 114 apartments for those with incomes under 80 percent of the AMI. The remaining 82 apartments will rent at market-rates. Income restrictions on the units will be phased in over time and no current tenants of the building will be displaced.

“The availability of quality affordable housing is crucial to the development of a successful economy,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “In addition to creating jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods, and supporting local businesses, affordable housing offers economic stability and other meaningful benefits for individuals and families. The creation of new affordable housing units at Parkstone Alexandria helps Northern Virginia’s economy continue to grow and provide new opportunities for its citizens.”

This investment supports the affordable housing priorities outlined in Executive Order Twenty-Five, which Northam signed in November 2018 following the Amazon announcement. Since then, the administration has been focused on implementing solutions that reduce the cost of housing and provide additional affordable housing units.

“Parkstone Alexandria is the first development to leverage VHDA’s Amazon-related REACH Virginia funds in the form of a $5 million grant,” said VHDA’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Dewey. “We were very pleased to award these funds to this development because it offers many of the benefits that we like to see in affordable housing, including mixed income units and proximity to transportation and jobs. We were impressed with AHDC’s vision for this project, and look forward to working with them in the future. We appreciate the strong partnership between AHDC, the City of Alexandria, JBG Smith, and VHDA.”

“Preserving Parkstone Alexandria as long term affordable and workforce housing required that the entire team work collaboratively and, on an expedited basis, to assemble an innovative funding package to secure a great real estate opportunity,” said Helen McIlvaine, Director of the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing. “Parkstone is just the type of project Alexandria hoped for when we strategized with VHDA and other stakeholders about how we might meet the housing needs of our region’s future workforce. VHDA was a terrific partner, and the ability to leverage two new resources—VHDA’s Amazon funds and JBG SMITH’s social impact funds—was critical.”

“In just over a year since its launch, JBG SMITH’s Impact Pool has secured more than $104 million in private capital to further the Washington Housing Initiative’s mission,” said AJ Jackson, Executive Vice President of Social Impact Investments at JBG SMITH. “The $15.1 million loan to AHDC towards the Parkstone marks its inaugural investment.”

Founded in 2018 by JBG SMITH and the Federal City Council, the Washington Housing Initiative is a transformational market-driven approach to preserve and create affordable workforce housing in rapidly changing communities throughout the DC region. The Impact Pool is the financing component of the Washington Housing Initiative.

“The Parkstone, and the long-term commitment to affordability it represents, was made possible by the hard work and vision put forward by many—from VHDA and the Commonwealth, to the City of Alexandria and JBG SMITH,” said Jon Frederick, President and CEO of Alexandria Housing Development Corporation.



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