Amazon has committed $75 million for developers to create 800 affordable homes in the Nashville area near WeGo high-capacity transit corridors, ensuring that moderate- to low-income residents can afford urban housing with easy access to employment, schools, healthcare and more.
The Nashville investment is part of Amazon’s more than $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable homes through below-market loans to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies and minority-led organizations.
“Nashville is one of Amazon’s newest communities, and we’re committed to supporting — and partnering closely with — our new neighbors,” says Michelle Gaskin Brown, Amazon’s Nashville manager of public policy.
Amazon will provide $75 million in below-market loans to developers to expedite housing development along high-capacity WeGo transit corridors. WeGo is the primary regional transit agency operating bus and paratransit service across Nashville and serves about 30,000 riders daily.
Amazon will choose the development partners for housing construction over the next five years and will focus on affordable properties within a half-mile of transit stops and prioritize opportunities to invest in minority-led organizations and racially and economically diverse communities.
Amazon will work closely with public transit agencies to fund development on either surplus land owned by the agencies or privately-owned land near active transit corridors to create new, affordable, and move-in ready homes by as early as 2025, according to Amazon.
“By strategically placing affordable housing units along our frequent routes, we can ensure riders have equitable access to public transportation,” says WeGo CEO Steve Bland.
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a unique approach to preserving and creating affordable housing options so moderate- to low-income families can afford to live near—and benefit from—quality public transit. Successful, TOD has a range of benefits, including greater economic activity, reduced traffic congestion and associated environmental benefits and a strengthened, more resilient labor force.
Amazon is providing developers with fast access to capital at below-market rates to both expedite and create affordable homes that could otherwise be lost to market-rate developers, the company says.
“This major investment in Nashville by Amazon will help this region in our pursuit of less traffic congestion, sustainability and more affordable housing,” says Stanton Higgs, business operations director for TMA, which offers a range of commuter benefits such as flex scheduling, and operates VanStar.
“Such public-private partnerships can help our region move forward faster in providing effective transit for its residents,” he says.
Amazon is also making transit commitments in its headquarter regions of Arlington, Va., and Washington state’s Puget Sound region to develop 3,000 new affordable housing units across all three regions with proximity to public transit in urban centers.
“Nashville must be a city that works for everyone,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper says. “And — in a city that works for everyone — everyone who works here should be able to live here. Nashville’s affordable housing needs are urgent, and Amazon’s commitment today will support our work to create and preserve more affordable home for families.”