The international multi-billion dollar company Amazon has stated that it would spend over $82 million in order to help build affordable housing in Prince George’s County. The company projects that this housing will come in the form of 742 new apartment units that will be constructed near Metro stations in College Park and New Carrollton. These complexes were made in partnership with Metro and several other undisclosed private developers and are intended to be widely affordable to residents of these regions. Amazon stated that the rent prices of these apartments will range from $1400 to $2500 per month depending on the unit being rented, which is affordable to individuals making up to 80% of these areas’ average median income.
The two apartment complexes being constructed near College Park and Garden City Drive have been named “The Atworth” and “The Margaux¨ respectively. “The Atworth” will have 451 apartment units ranging in price from $1400-$2500, and “The Margaux” will have 291 units ranging from $1600-$2500. Both complexes are expected to officially open in 2024, with a notable feature of these buildings being their proximity to Metro stations, not only as an endorsement to the benefactor, but also for the convenience of reasonably priced transportation close to the apartments. “You can live in a great apartment building, hop on the train, and get to your job in a matter of minutes. That’s the benefit of being able to put affordable housing near transit,” said Catherine Buell, the director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund.
With these new apartment complexes showing great promise in their ability to provide affordable housing to residents of these areas, a question arises: why would Amazon fund a project like this? There are several potential answers to this question; however, the most significant reason is likely that the two new developments will both be roughly 15 miles from the site where Amazon’s HQ2 is being built in Arlington. It has not been officially stated by the company, but these apartments are likely intended at least in part for Amazon employees who will be working at this new building, with the Metro connection between these sites serving as further evidence to support this claim. Whilst it is true that the construction of these buildings is somewhat in order to provide affordable housing to residents of these areas, it is still hard to ignore the underlying motive that the company clearly has in addition to this surface-level reasoning.