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Amazon-Backed Affordable Housing Towers Moving Forward In Tysons

The first all-affordable housing development in Tysons has secured new pieces of its financing puzzle and is on track to break ground late this year.

A rendering of Dominion Square in Tysons, Virginia, set to be delivered in 2027.

Dominion Square is planned to feature two 20-story towers, with 516 apartment units and a 33K SF community center near the Silver Line’s Spring Hill Metro station. The units will be reserved for residents making between 30% and 70% of the area median income.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority acquired the 2-acre site, formerly surface parking lots used by auto dealers, on June 30 for $19.5M, according to Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing Senior Vice President of Real Estate Michael Chiappa.

The development team on July 26 closed a $55M below-market-rate loan from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, which was announced in May 2022, according to an APAH spokesperson. That funding will make it possible for all 516 units to be developed at once, instead of in phases, as the initial plan laid out.

The county will ground lease the property to APAH, a local nonprofit developer, for 85 years, ensuring the homes “will be affordable to residents well into the future,” according to the release. 

In addition to securing the site, the FCRHA has authorized the issuance of up to $89M in tax-exempt bonds for the project, according to the release. 

“This project, this location, represents APAH’s continued commitment to providing not only a place for residents with lower incomes to call home, but a foundation from which they can realize their dreams,” APAH President and CEO Carmen Romero said in the release.

APAH said it hasn't yet finalized construction financing, but is working with its lenders and tax credit investor funders, hoping to raise the needed funds by the end of 2023, with an expected delivery in 2027.

Tysons is outpacing the rest of Virginia in housing growth, according to a new market study by Tysons Community Alliance. The report found that the region’s household growth rate rate increased by 4% between 2015 and 2021, more than four times the Fairfax County average and 2.5 times the regional average. 

But it found that Tysons trails Fairfax in providing affordable housing for those with income on the lower end of the AMI spectrum.

“Tysons affordable housing stock is substantially more weighted toward middle-income households than Fairfax County’s,” the report said. 

In Tysons, only 15% of affordable units are reserved for residents making 60% or below of AMI while in Fairfax as a whole, 58% of affordable units are reserved for those residents, according to the report. 

CORRECTION, AUG. 9, 6:15 P.M. ET: A previous version of this story misstated how an aspect of the development was funded. This story has been updated.