Amazon taps Arlington company for minority real estate program

Amazon will invest more than $21 million in professional training, mentorship and funding to promote real estate developers of color.

It includes a $5 million grant for Arlington, Virginia-based Capital Impact Partners to spearhead the focus on accelerating opportunities for real estate developers of color and increasing affordable and workplace housing across the D.C. region.

Amazon also is piloting the program with partners in Seattle and Nashville, and its funding it with its $2 billion Housing Equity Fund.

Capital Impact has used the grant to create a two-year, part-time accelerator program for real estate developers with experience and focus on affordable housing development. The training and mentorship is free, and includes potential access to capital for predevelopment expenses, such as architecture and engineering costs, permitting, site-planning and feasibility studies, sometimes the hardest fees for developers to raise.

“Developers of color bring enormous opportunity for inclusive ideas and creativity to community-focused real estate development, but the barrier to entry is often very high for these individuals,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners.

An Urban Land Institute report in August 2020 said just 5% of its members described themselves as Black or African American.

To qualify, developers must have at least two affordable housing development projects completed or underway, focused on the D.C. metro region.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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