JBG SMITH Begins Residential Building at Amazon HQ2

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1900 Crystal Drive. Image courtesy JBG SMITH

Almost a year after obtaining permits from Arlington County, Virginia, JBG SMITH began construction of two residential towers totaling 808 rental units on 1900 Crystal Drive in National Landing, where Amazon has its second US headquarters. The mixed-use development will also have 40,000 square feet of street-level retail space in the buildings.

The 1900 Crystal Drive development will have a 27-story south tower with 471 apartments and a 26-story north tower with 337 apartments. The approximately 300 foot high buildings were designed by COOKFOX in collaboration with Torti Gallas + Partners. In addition to private roof and green areas for residents, JBG SMITH will create a new pedestrian-friendly street for retailers that will serve as an activated connection between 18th and 20th streets. The developer will also incorporate a number of neighborhood-focused improvements, including improved street landscapes, a grand staircase that connects to public open spaces, and public bike facilities.

Anthony Greenberg, executive vice president of development at JBG SMITH, said in a prepared statement that the start of construction marks another major milestone in the ongoing redesign of National Landing that Amazon selected for its HQ2 in November 2018. JBG SMITH, owner and developer of mixed-use real estate in the Washington, DC market, has been named developer, leasing agent and real estate manager for the National Landing HQ2 project. Amazon is expected to hire at least 38,000 employees and is already occupying space in several JBG SMITH owned commercial properties in National Landing.

Greenberg said the new residences, shops, and restaurants on Crystal Drive 1900, combined with the recently completed retail and entertainment district about a block away, will more than double the concentration of street-facing retail equipment on Crystal Drive. The mixed-use environment will help National Landing be an active destination day and night, he said. The interconnected, walkable neighborhood includes portions of the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods of Arlington County and Potomac Yard in the city of Alexandria. Amazon’s growing presence in National Landing is projected to increase the daily population from around 50,000 today to nearly 90,000 in the future.

JBG SMITH announced that it has successfully bid and secured a guaranteed maximum price contract for the project that is more than 7.5 percent below the pre-pandemic price. The company did not provide any further details.

Affordable housing fund

In January, Amazon launched a more than $ 2 billion Housing Equity Fund to invest in affordable housing in the three regions the e-commerce company operates, including Arlington. Initial investments included $ 381.9 million in loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC) to maintain and create up to 1,300 units in Crystal House, an 825-unit community recently acquired by a subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty was bought. WHC’s financial partner in the acquisition was the Washington Housing Initiative and Impact Pool, founded by JBG SMITH, which will manage the property. Crystal House rents are expected to be affordable for households earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.