Livability22202 Meeting on County Planning and Affordable Housing

 Good meeting February 9 of the three 22202 civic associations: Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City.

7:00 pm:  Matt Mattauszek, Arlington County Master Planner, Crystal City/Pentagon City Planning Coordinator, provided a detailed overview of the county planning activities for 2021 in 22202. The year will be very busy as development ramps across our community.

7:30 pm: Kimberly Driggins, Executive Director of the Washington Housing Conservancy, explained what the WHC is, its funding by Amazon to acquire Crystal Houses for $377M, and the affordable housing parameters for Crystal Houses.  The acquisition will lead to the preservation and creation of 1,300 affordable homes.

8:00 pm: The Livability22202 Housing Working Group provided a summary and highlights of the Livability Housing report issued in December, the ongoing county Missing Middle Study and Housing Report, and the Working Group’s meetings with County Board members.

The meeting was recorded and can be viewed here when available. Currently viewable on the CCCA Facebook page.

This information is also posted on livability22202.org

Breaking News: Crystal Houses and Housing Affordability

Great News! The Washington Housing Conservancy has bought Crystal Houses on S Eads Street with a major grant from Amazon and JBG Smith will manage it. The conservancy’s mission — and the Crystal House project — aim to create spaces for individuals and families who may make too much money to qualify for government housing assistance but do not earn enough to afford high-demand real estate markets. https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/01/06/amazon-arlington-affordable-housing/

With Amazon’s flexible capital, WHC was able to execute the purchase of Crystal House in under two months, an expedited timeline for commercial real estate transactions. WHC’s finance partner, the Washington Housing Initiative, and Impact Pool, created by developer JBG SMITH, provided commercial real estate expertise and an additional loan of $6.7 million.

Amazon announced its Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion initiative to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable housing units in the Puget Sound region in Washington State, Arlington, Virginia region, and Nashville, Tennessee—three communities Amazon calls home. The first investments include $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 on S. Eads Street. Over the next five years, rent prices for 75 percent of the units at Crystal House will drop to help residents who are making less than 80 percent of the area’s mean income of $126,000. Read the Amazon announcement here: https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/community/amazon-launches-2-billion-housing-equity-fund-to-preserve-and-create-over-20-000-affordable-homes

Breaking News: Housing Workshop Report Released

We are pleased, after a year of work, two well attended workshops and many meetings of a ten person working group, to be able to share the report on housing livability in 22202. This report was previously shared in draft form with participants of Livability workshops as well as presented at meetings for each of the civic associations. This is, of course, part of the greater Livability project and our specific recommendations should be taken into account with the other community needs raised by Livability, such as open space and schools.

The report reviews data and history of the 22202 area, exploring how our unique housing situation came to be. It then makes recommendations for public and private actors in areas around avoiding displacement, diverse housing options (both affordable and market rate) and building community through housing. Please find the full report here and a one page fact sheet here

See the full press report here.