JBG SMITH Starts Residential Construction at Amazon HQ2

The mixed-unit development at National Landing in Arlington will have 808 units and 40,000 square feet of retail.
1900 Crystal Drive. Image courtesy of JBG SMITH

Almost one year after receiving approvals from Arlington County, Va., JBG SMITH has begun construction of two residential towers with a total of 808 rental units at 1900 Crystal Drive in National Landing, where Amazon has located its second U.S. headquarters. The mixed-use development will also have 40,000 square feet of street-level retail in the buildings.

The development at 1900 Crystal Drive will have a 27-story southern tower with 471 apartments and a 26-story northern tower with 337 apartments. The buildings, approximately 300 feet tall, were designed by COOKFOX in collaboration with Torti Gallas + Partners. In addition to private rooftop and green spaces for the residents, JBG SMITH will create a new retail-served, pedestrian-friendly street to serve as an activated connection between 18th and 20th streets. The developer will also include a number of neighborhood-oriented improvements including enhanced streetscapes, a grand staircase connecting to public open space and public bike facilities.

Anthony Greenberg, executive vice president of development at JBG SMITH, said in a prepared statement the start of construction marks another important milestone in the ongoing transformation of National Landing, which was selected by Amazon in November 2018 for its HQ2. JBG SMITH, an owner and developer of mixed-use properties in the Washington, D.C., market, was named the developer, leasing agent and property manager for the National Landing HQ2 project. Amazon is expected to hire at least 25,000 employees and is already occupying space at several JBG SMITH-owned commercial properties in National Landing.

Greenberg said the new residences, shops and restaurants at 1900 Crystal Drive combined with the recently completed retail and entertainment district about a block away will more than double the concentration of street-facing retail amenities on Crystal Drive. The mixed-use environment will help National Landing be an active destination during the day and night, he said. The interconnected, walkable neighborhood encompasses parts of the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods of Arlington County and Potomac Yard in the city of Alexandria. Amazon’s growing presence in National Landing is expected to increase the daytime population from about 50,000 people today to nearly 90,000 in the future.

JBG SMITH said it successfully bid and secured a guaranteed maximum price contract for the project that is more than 7.5 percent below pre-pandemic pricing. The firm did not disclose more details.

Affordable Housing Fund

In January, Amazon launched a more than $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to invest in affordable apartment units across the three regions where the e-commerce firm operates, including Arlington. One of the first investments included $381.9 million in loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC) to preserve and create as many as 1,300 units at Crystal House, an 825-unit community recently purchased from an affiliate of Mack-Cali Realty. WHC’s finance partner in the acquisition was the Washington Housing Initiative and Impact Pool formed by JBG SMITH, which will manage the property. Rents at Crystal House are expected to be affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of the area median income.