Reit Magazine - March/April 2021 - 15

What does JBG SMITH's acquisition of Citizens Broadband Radio
Service (CBRS) spectrum at National
Landing mean for the project?
The spectrum acquisition was very much
in line with our concept of placemaking,
just in digital form. We wanted to make
sure that high-speed connectivity and next
generation infrastructure would be put in
place as quickly as humanly possible. We
thought that by controlling the digital real

Q

Credit: Ira Wexler

Credit: Amazon

people come back to the workplace. They're
investing very heavily in testing to make
sure that can be done as soon as possible.
Our plans with the neighborhood remain
very much on track. We've delivered the first
phase of new street retail on Crystal Drive
and we expect that will open this summer.
It's over 80% leased and we're focused on
the restaurants, bars, and operators there
to make sure they're healthy and stay in
business through all of this pandemic pain.
That's the challenge in retail these days, but
so far, we're optimistic.
Entitlement plans for the balance of
our development opportunities in the
neighborhood have continued through the
pandemic. We expect to start construction
on our 1900 Crystal Drive apartment building sometime soon, and we've been out in
the market getting pricing on that project.
We expect construction costs will come
down, so that will help us. We believe the
pipeline of new apartments has gotten
thinner so we expect the demand picture
will really look no different than anticipated
when we deliver the new buildings, which
will be good for the repositioning of the
neighborhood.

How does affordable housing fit
within JBG SMITH's overall strategy,
and what might we expect in the
coming years?
We recently announced another deal through the Washington
Housing Initiative, which we launched in partnership with the
Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. We raised a mezzanine
financing fund to support the financing of the Crystal House
apartments by an affordable housing nonprofit, the Washington
Housing Conservancy. Amazon is putting up most of the financing. Crystal House is over 800 units of middle-income market
rate housing, right in the shadow of the Amazon headquarters.
With Amazon's financing comes a 99-year covenant to maintain
the affordability of those units. That's a huge step towards preserving housing equity in the neighborhood.
I think you'll see more deals like that, possibly with Amazon,
because they have made a $2 billion commitment. That initiative
will be very effective in preserving housing affordability and we
intend to continue with the deployment of that strategy. When
we developed the housing initiative, we initially targeted the
preservation of 3,000 units in 10 years. We've already hit over a
third of that goal in just the first two years. I think we'll blow past
our initial objective, probably in less than half the time, and that's
exactly what this market needs right now.
We have over 5,000 units in National Landing in our pipeline,
which will go part of the way towards addressing the issue, but we
also need to make sure that we retain housing equity within these
neighborhoods. It's one thing to build new apartments for higher
end renters. It's another thing entirely to preserve the equity of
housing and housing availability in a neighborhood by maintaining the existing affordable housing stock. We know that people
have a harder time keeping jobs when they have to move further
away, and you can stop some of those negative cycles through
preservation.
Nareit: Real estate working for you |

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Reit Magazine - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Reit Magazine - March/April 2021

Contents
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Reit Magazine - March/April 2021 - Contents
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