Amazon targets Pikes for transit-adjacent affordable housing

Applications open for developers to submit plans
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Posted at 9:19 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 23:55:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — This week Amazon announced a $75 million pledge to build 800 affordable homes or apartments in Nashville near major bus stops.

Housing and transportation are some of the hottest topics in Nashville, as the two biggest expenses for most families.

And Amazon says its plan will tackle both.

Amazon Public Policy Manager Michelle Gaskin Brown says she's targeting private land on Nashville's major Pikes, within a half mile of a bus stop for the future developments.

"Gallatin Pike, Murfresboro, Nolensville Pike, Charlotte, Clarksville, Dickerson, Hillsboro," she listed off, "just to make sure we're as close as possible to these high transit areas to make sure families are able to get to school to work to the grocery store, wherever they need to in a good amount of time."

Watch Traffic Anchor Rebecca Schleicher's full interview with Amazon here:

WeGo Public Transit CEO Steve Bland says he's been involved in conversations to help Amazon understand the different options. On the two most popular routes, Gallatin and Murfreesboro Pikes, service occurs every ten minutes at peak times to move people around town.

"If someone were to ask me today 'if I were moving to Nashville and wanted to rely on public transportation, where should I move to,' we're pointing them to those corridors," Bland said.

Amazon will give out below market capital loans and lines of credit to developers who submit their plans and ideas through their application process.

"We are not dictating what the units have to look like [or] the number of units. We just want to work with as many local developers who know the area and know what the needs are so we can provide as many wrap-around services as well," Brown said.

As Nashville has expanded, development hasn't been equal in all parts of town. And it's too early to tell where the affordable housing will land.

Bland says he's not a developer, but acknowledges Clarksville Pike and Dickerson Pike may have more land options than the more developed Charlotte or Hillsboro Pikes. A future North Nashville Transit Center is planned for Clarksville Pike and 26th Avenue North.

Brown says Amazon likes the idea of developing in North Nashville.

"We want to be in North Nashville and close to our historically Black colleges and universities, she said, "we want to make sure that we are in areas where we're building housing and WeGo is increasing their services. We are hoping be an economic developer in that area."

Brown says families making 30% and 80% of the Area Median Income in Nashville would qualify. For 2021, that's up to $68,000 for a family of four.

Amazon is targeting a move-in date of 2025.