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JBG Smith-Backed Affordable Housing Nonprofit Acquires First D.C. Property

The Huntwood Courts apartments at 5000 Hunt St. NE

The Washington Housing Conservancy has acquired its first property in its namesake city in its quest to preserve 3,000 affordable housing units in the D.C. region.

The nonprofit acquired Huntwood Courts at 5000 Hunt St. NE in Deanwood for $25M, it announced Thursday. The purchase was financed through JBG Smith's Washington Housing Initiative Impact Pool.

“With this acquisition in the District, we are making tremendous progress in our mission to push back against the headwinds of housing inequity and rapidly escalating rents that so many Washington area residents face," Washington Housing Conservancy Executive Director Kimberly Driggins said in a press release.  

Within the seven-building complex, 80% of the units are affordable at 60% of the area's median income. Washington Housing Conservancy pledged to keep rents stable and maintain the Deanwood property's level of affordability until at least 2036.

The Huntwood Courts complex was built in 1951, then underwent significant rehabilitation before qualifying for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which mandated its current level of affordability.

Washington Housing Conservancy was created through a partnership between Federal City Council and JBG Smith to keep and maintain affordable housing in the region. The D.C.-based nonprofit was set up with a goal to preserve 3,000 units of affordable workforce housing.

This is the third multifamily building the Washington Housing Conservancy has acquired since its formation.

In August, the nonprofit partnered with National Housing Trust Communities to purchase Hamilton Manor at 3342 Lancer Drive in Hyattsville for $39.5M. They acquired the 245-unit apartment community through Prince George's County's Right of First Refusal Program, which allows the county to acquire or assign the right to purchase certain multifamily buildings as a means of preserving affordability when they are put up for sale.

Washington Housing Conservancy got its start when it received support from Amazon to purchase Crystal House near the company's HQ2 development in National Landing. That building would keep 1,300 units affordable for 99 years.

The project fit neatly into Amazon's vision to invest millions of dollars in affordable housing near HQ2. JBG Smith, Amazon's development partner and landlord at the complex, has also coordinated with other private entities in the region to direct money toward affordable housing in anticipation of the massive influx of workers HQ2 will bring.

That includes the JBG Smith-run Impact Pool used to finance Huntwood Courts. By the end of 2020, JBG Smith announced it had received almost $115M in investor commitments to the fund, with major local donors like EagleBank among its benefactors.

A.J. Jackson, JBG Smith's executive vice president of social impact investing, said the Washington Housing Initiative moved one step closer to meeting its affordability goals with Tuesday's acquisition.

“With the acquisition of Huntwood Courts, JBG Smith’s Impact Pool has helped the Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve housing in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC — the three jurisdictions it has pledged its commitment to,” Jackson said in the press release. “We hope this unique approach will continue to act as a model for other private, public, and nonprofit organizations to work together toward the creation and preservation of affordable housing.”