- Amazon’s contributions include $7.1 million in low-interest loans.
- The company will provide a $3.5 million grant to nonprofit CrossBridge.
- The money will go toward 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 to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency for the construction of the Cherry Oak Apartments, which broke ground in East Nashville Wednesday morning.
A $3.5 million grant to Nashville nonprofit CrossBridge will help fund the creation 50 new units and 34 renovated units for adults overcoming addiction.
The pair of investments are Amazon’s first concrete contributions to the creation of new affordable housing in Nashville.
The funds are drawn from the company’s $2 billion Amazon Housing Equity Fund, and are separate from a commitment the company made last June to provide $75 million in low-interest loans to preserve at least 800 Nashville rental units near WeGo public transit routes. Specific investments from that $75 million commitment have not yet been announced.
Cherry Oak Apartment development breaks ground
Cherry Oak Apartments will be a 96-unit mixed-income multifamily development located at 705 South 6th Street, next to MDHA’s headquarters. Of those units, 53 will be affordable to residents making 80% or less than Nashville’s Area Median Income for 99 years. Other units will be workforce and market rate.
“Living in a mixed-income neighborhood benefits all residents, and Cherry Oak will be a model of what is to come in Nashville,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said during the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
Cherry Oak is the seventh new residential construction in MDHA’s “Envision Cayce” plan to revitalize Cayce Place, Nashville’s largest subsidized housing property. The project will cost an estimated $33.4 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, according to MDHA.
More:Amazon in talks to contribute $7.1M loan to 96-unit East Nashville mixed-income development
CrossBridge expands housing capacity
Amazon’s $3.5 million grant to CrossBridge will help fund the nonprofit’s two housing projects spanning a city block on Lindsley Avenue.
CrossBridge provides housing and services to adults overcoming addiction, including counselling, addiction support and workforce reentry support.
The grant will assist CrossBridge in maintaining affordable rental rates for the projects — a new 50-unit building and a renovated 34-unit building — in addition to expanding services.
Amazon commitments to Nashville
Since 2020, Amazon has committed roughly $94 million in loans and grants to affordable housing projects in Nashville. This includes $3.75 million in donations to The Housing Fund and $5 million in funding for the Real Estate Developers Academy, a program designed to support developers of color looking to scale up 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, it’s an opportunity for us to provide below-market capital to developers and nonprofits,” Amazon Public Policy Manager Michelle Brown said. “For some of the projects, the financing will be in loans, such as our partnership with MDHA, and then others with nonprofits you’ll see some grant funding.”
The type of assistance each developer receives from Amazon depends on the needs and plans indicated on their application and what the developer’s capital stack looks like, Brown said.
Amazon is focused on housing for residents who make between 30% to 80% AMI.
“For us, we recognize that if you’re below 30% AMI there are public benefits that can help you stay in housing, but we’re really trying to focus on that ‘missing middle,’ the people who make too much for public housing but are still being priced out by increased rent cost,” Brown said.
Cassandra Stephenson covers Metro government for The Tennessean. Reach her at [email protected] or (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.