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Amazon grants $55M to Tysons all-affordable housing project

(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) An infusion of funds from Amazon will help accelerate the construction of Tysons’ first entirely affordable housing project.

Officially announced at 2:30 p.m. today (Tuesday), the $55 million investment from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund will allow the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to construct both of its Dominion Square West buildings instead of breaking the project up into phases.

Replacing a car dealership parking lot on Spring Hill Road, the multifamily residential buildings will collectively include more than 500 dwelling units, all of them priced for households that earn a low to moderate income, according to Fairfax County.

“We know that an investment in affordable housing is more than just a building,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at a press conference. “It is an investment in what our residents will achieve given the firm foundation of a safe, livable, and affordable home.”

The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the project’s first phase — a nine-story, 175-unit apartment building on the northern side of the 2-acre property — on Jan. 12. The units will be aimed at people who earn 30, 50, and 60% of the area’s median income, which was $127,866, as of 2020.

The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing will build buildings C5 and C6 in Tysons’ Dominion Square West development (via Fairfax County)

For the second building on the south side, designated C5, the conceptual development plan that the county adopted for Dominion Square West in 2017 allows two options:

  • A 260-foot-tall high-rise with 16 to 25 floors and up to 320 units
  • An 85-foot-tall building with six to eight floors and a maximum of 175 units

Both options allow for up to 15,000 square feet of retail space.

While the Amazon funds will cover construction, APAH still needs to get a final plan for the building approved by the county, Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development spokesperson Ben Boxer confirmed.

Officials announced today that the site will include a 30,000 square-foot community center with a gym, fitness room, senior and youth multi-purpose rooms, an art/maker space, sensory room, and more. The programs and resources will be provided by the county’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services.

“As the planning process gets underway, NCS will solicit input from the community to consider programming and services that will meet the needs of the surrounding community,” the news release said.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors allocated $43 million in January to buy the Dominion Square West land and help APAH finance the first building in the project. The funds came from a variety of sources, including commercial developer contributions, federal COVID-19 relief money, and the county’s affordable housing fund.

The county also designated Dominion Square West a revitalization area in February to help APAH apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits. While the nonprofit is developing the buildings, the property will be owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Launced in January 2021, Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund is intended to offset the soaring real estate prices that tend to follow the retail giant. However, the $750 million pledged in the D.C. area so far has mostly been aimed at the higher end of its 30-80% AMI target, The Washington Post reported last month.

Construction on the Dominion Square West project could potentially begin as early as the fall of 2023, the county says.

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