Amazon Commits $24M for Affordable Housing in Bethesda, Md.

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Amazon has committed $24 million to fund 122 new affordable homes as part of Strathmore Square, a multiphase development on a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ground lease near the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station in Bethesda, Md.

This new development, by Fivesquares Development and Aimco, will consist of a 1.2-acre public park, an expansion of the Strathmore Music Center, and new mixed-income housing, including a 220-unit building that broke ground this week.

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“We are confident that it will be a national model of TOD (transit-oriented development) centered on arts, culture, open space and sustainable living — a community with a soul that will be brought to life by our partnership with adjacent Strathmore Music Center,” Andy Altman, principal and co-founder of Fivesquares Development, said at a groundbreaking for the project Thursday.

Thanks to Amazon’s funding, the developers will soon start the construction of two new high-rise buildings with 574 units, 122 being for those making 50 to 70 percent of area median income, which is currently $172,873 for a household of four.

“Strathmore Square brings this community a much-needed resource — transit-oriented affordable housing,” Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, said. “The partnership between the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, WMATA, The Strathmore and Fivesquares Development will also serve as a model for how to bring more transit-oriented, affordable housing to our communities for years to come. We’re grateful to be a part of this collaboration.”

This is just the latest investment as part of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund’s $2 billion commitment to create and preserve 20,000 affordable homes. In the D.C. Metro area alone, the fund has committed more than $990 million to help create or preserve more than 6,200 affordable homes. (The e-commerce giant is building its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.)

“This is not the first transit-oriented, affordable housing project Amazon has supported, and it certainly won’t be our last,” Buell said.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.