(November 5, 2015 – Arlington, VA) - AHC Inc., a leading developer of affordable and mixed-income housing in the mid-Atlantic region, closed yesterday on the $8.5 million purchase of a three-acre site in the City of Alexandria’s Beauregard neighborhood.
The new development, St. James Plaza, will transform property owned by the St. James United Methodist Church and the Bi-District Office of the Northern Virginia Methodist Church into 93 affordable apartments adjacent to market-rate homes.
AHC will construct a 93-unit affordable rental building on a portion of the land and sell the balance of the site to a third party developer that will construct market-rate housing. The affordable rental apartments will be a mix of efficiencies, one-, two- and three-bedroom units at rents ranging from 40% to 60% of the Area Median Income. The church has moved its place of worship to an adjacent property, and the office building is moving to a new location in the area as well.
“AHC has a track record of creating land for housing in innovative ways,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale. “Combining forces with an established community organization like St. James to carve out a viable parcel of land – particularly in a neighborhood like Beauregard that is losing so many affordable places to live – is a great opportunity.”
The new affordable units will be a welcome addition to Alexandria’s Beauregard neighborhood, which has lost a large number of low- and moderate-income apartments to new development over the last few years.
“The City is glad to be collaborating with nonprofit partners, like AHC, to develop 93 new units of affordable housing,” said Helen McIlvaine, acting director of the City’s Office of Housing. “The St. James Plaza project will provide an important housing resource, including deeply subsidized units, for residents of the adjacent Beauregard area who may be impacted by future redevelopment. This project successfully implements strategies proposed in the 2012 Beauregard Plan and the 2013 Housing Master Plan.”
The property, 5000 and 5001 Echols Avenue, is located in Alexandria’s west end adjacent to the neighborhoods included in the Beauregard Small Area Plan. The site sits across the street from the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Center and is within a quarter mile of the bustling Mark Center. Local schools, retail amenities and Inova Hospital are all within a two-mile radius.
The affordable building will include underground parking, a fitness center, and a community room for residents. AHC is also hoping to include space to provide early childhood services to children living in both the affordable building and the surrounding community.
The high-quality building will include Energy Star-certified kitchen appliances, high-efficiency, individually controlled HVAC systems, carpeted floors, and ceramic tile.
The land purchase is financed with a senior loan from NeighborWorks Capital and a subordinate loan from the City of Alexandria. The affordable housing development received an award of 9% competitive Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) in June 2015.
Construction is expected to begin in fall 2016.
Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 6,500 apartment units in 50 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.