Amazon to provide $10.6 million in loans for affordable housing in Nashville

  • Amazon’s contributions include $7.1 million in low-interest loans.
  • The company will provide a $3.5 million grant to CrossBridge, a nonprofit organization.
  • The money will go to affordable housing projects in East Nashville and Rutledge Hill.

Amazon will contribute $10.6 million in low-interest loans and grants to build or renovate more than 130 affordable units in East Nashville and Rutledge Hill, the company announced Wednesday.

The commitment includes a $7.1 million loan at the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency for construction of the Cherry Oak apartments, which begins Wednesday morning in East Nashville.

A $3.5 million grant to Nashville-based nonprofit CrossBridge will help fund the creation of 50 new units and 34 renovated units for adults who are overcoming addiction.

These two investments are Amazon’s first concrete contributions to creating new affordable housing in Nashville.

The funds come from the company’s $2 billion Amazon’s Housing Equity Fundand are separate from the company’s commitment last June to provide $75 million in low interest loans to preserve at least 800 rental units in Nashville near WeGo transit routes. The specific investments of this $75 million commitment have yet to be announced.

Cherry Oak Apartment development inaugurates

Cherry Oak Apartments will be a 96-unit, mixed-income, multi-family development located at 705 South 6th Street adjacent to MDHA headquarters. Of those units, 53 will be affordable to residents earning 80% or less of the Nashville-area median income for 99 years.

Cherry Oak is MDHA’s seventh new residential construction”Imagine Cayceplans to revitalize Cayce Place, Nashville’s largest subsidized housing property. The project will cost about $33.4 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, according to the MDHA.

After:Amazon in talks to lend $7.1 million to 96-unit mixed-income development in East Nashville

CrossBridge increases its accommodation capacity

Amazon’s $3.5 million grant to Cross the bridge will help fund the two non-profit housing projects that span one block on Lindsley Avenue.

CrossBridge provides housing and services for adults who are overcoming addiction, including counselling, addictions support and help with re-entering the labor market.

The grant will help CrossBridge maintain affordable rental rates for the projects – a new 50-unit building and a renovated 34-unit building – in addition to expanding services.

Renderings show design plans for the 96 mixed-income Cherry Oak apartment development next to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency headquarters in East Nashville.

Amazon’s commitments to Nashville

Since 2020, Amazon has committed approximately $94 million in loans and grants for affordable housing projects in Nashville. This includes $3.75 million in donations to Housing Fund and $5 million in funding for the Real Estate Developers Academya program designed to support color developers looking to increase their project capacity, in partnership with the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

The program’s first cohort of 13 developers launched last week.

“With the Housing Equity Fund, this is an opportunity for us to provide below-market capital to developers and nonprofits,” said Michelle Brown, Amazon’s head of public policy. “For some projects, funding will be in the form of loans, like our partnership with MDHA, and then for others with nonprofits, you’ll see grants.”

The type of support each developer receives from Amazon depends on the needs and plans listed on their app and what the developer’s capital stack looks like, Brown said.

Amazon focuses on housing for residents who earn between 30% and 80% AMI.

“For us, we recognize that if you’re below 30% of the AMI there are public benefits that can help you stay in housing, but we really try to focus on that ‘missing middle’, the people who earn too much for the housing public, but are still priced exorbitantly due to rising rental costs,” Brown said.

Cassandra Stephenson covers metropolitan government for The Tennessean. Contact her at [email protected] or (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.

Garland K. Long