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JBG Smith Launches Affordable Housing Initiative To Preserve And Build Over 2,000 Units

EYA partner AJ Jackson and Carr Hospitality President Austin Flajser

D.C.'s largest developer and real estate owner is preparing to take on one of the city's biggest issues: affordable housing. 

JBG Smith, in partnership with the Federal City Council, is launching the Washington Housing Initiative with the goal of preserving or building between 2,000 and 3,000 units of affordable workforce housing. 

The initiative comes as JBG Smith is courting Amazon with its Crystal City office portfolio; the tech giant has told local officials that affordable housing is one of its top priorities for an HQ2 landing spot. 

Along with the launch, JBG Smith announced it has hired AJ Jackson as executive vice president of social impact investments to lead the developer's work on the initiative. Jackson was previously a partner with developer EYA.

The Washington Housing Initiative will be split into two components. The partnership is creating a nonprofit entity, the Washington Housing Conservancy, to acquire, develop and operate workforce housing. JBG Smith will manage The Impact Pool, an investment vehicle created to provide capital for the acquisition and development of affordable workforce housing. The group will focus on what it calls "high-impact locations," fast-growing areas where housing prices are expected to rise over the next decade. 

"This initiative takes advantage of our existing operations and scale to help address a critical need in the community," JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly said in a statement. "We are deeply committed to the success of this effort and to helping strengthen communities throughout our region by addressing this urgent and growing housing need.”

JBG Smith is not the only large D.C. developer to turn its attention to affordable housing. MRP Realty, typically a market-rate builder, has recently filled its development pipeline with a large concentration of affordable units, including a fully affordable, 137-unit Ward 7 project and NoMa's 806-unit Northwest One development, which will set aside 67% of its units as affordable.