AHC Inc. Brings More Affordable Housing to Fairfax County

AHC Surpasses Milestone of 1,100+ affordable homes in Fairfax County

AHC Inc., along with partner Insight Property Group, purchased the property formerly known as Colvin Woods Apartments located in Fairfax County, Virginia, for $72 million. Rebranded as Haven Reston, the 259-unit community will be preserved as affordable apartments for 30 years.

The property was a naturally occurring affordable community with no existing rent restrictions to safeguard affordability. In partnership with Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, AHC and Insight plan to preserve and increase long-term, dedicated residential affordability.

The affordability goals will be implemented in a phased approach over three to five years, to achieve an apartment mix serving households between 60% area median income (AMI) and 80% AMI. AHC’s award-winning Resident Services will collaborate with the new ownership team to assess and plan for community needs.

“Through our joint venture with Insight and with significant support from Fairfax County, we’re ensuring housing security for hundreds of individuals and families for decades into the future,” says Paul Bernard, AHC Inc. President & CEO. “Preserving the affordable housing in this beautiful woodland area, full of nearby amenities, is central to our mission of helping residents thrive.”

Haven Reston is located at 11012 Becontree Lake Dr. in Reston and was built in 1979. The 47-acre property is less than 10 minutes from Reston Town Center, the Wiehle and Reston Town Center Metrorail stations, and the Dulles Toll Road. The property includes one- and two-bedroom apartments along with a community clubhouse, playground, fitness center and swimming pool.

Over the next four years, AHC and Insight will invest in improvements to update the exteriors, site, and common areas.

“Insight is proud to have partnered with Fairfax County and AHC in order to preserve this much-needed affordable housing,” said Tim White, Principal at Insight Property Group.

“Preservation is about making key investments in existing residential infrastructure to advance our continuing goal of ensuring that everyone who works in Fairfax County can also afford to live here,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “Our $15 million investment in Colvin Woods Apartments will provide significant affordable rental options in a community of high opportunity with access to transit, employment, medical services, recreation, and all the very best of what Fairfax County has to offer.”


About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes plus education programs and social services for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed nearly 8,000 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults, and seniors each year. For more information, visit www.ahcinc.org.

Media Contact: Jennifer Smith, Director of Communications, jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

About Insight Property Group

About Insight Property Group: Insight Property Group acquires and develops mixed-use and residential communities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Since its inception in 2009, it has built a broad portfolio of housing including affordable, workforce, mixed-use and luxury rental communities as well as infill for-sale townhomes. With more than $1.5 billion in investments, Insight has purchased, re-positioned and constructed more than 4,800 residential units and 200,000 square feet of commercial space with another 1,250 units and 120,000 sf of retail in the immediate pipeline. The company is recognized for delivering memorable, neighborhood-centric projects. For more information, visit www.insightpropertygroupllc.com.

Media Contact: Karen Widmayer, karenwidmayerpr@gmail.comkarenwidmayerpr@gmail.com

About the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) serves nearly 20,000 residents through a variety of rental housing assistance and homeownership programs and owns and operates nearly 4,000 units of housing – including multifamily housing, senior housing, licensed assisted living and specialized housing for tenants with a variety of needs. The FCRHA also oversees and administers Fairfax County’s land use housing programs and the investment of public land and local funds (including state and federal grants) to increase and/or preserve the county’s stock of affordable homes.

Media Contact: Ben Boxer, Marketing and Outreach Manager, benjamin.boxer@fairfaxcounty.gov

Photo of Paul Bernard

AHC Board Names Paul Bernard New Chief Executive Officer

Photo of Paul Bernard

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Arlington, VA — AHC Inc.’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Paul Bernard has been unanimously selected as the organization’s new President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He will join AHC in his new role on April 4.

Mr. Bernard brings nearly 30 years of experience in urban planning and real estate development, public finance and investing, community development and affordable housing. He has worked in both the public sector as well as the private sector and has extensive external leadership skills working with communities and government officials.  Throughout his career, Mr. Bernard has demonstrated a commitment to addressing economic and social issues, including housing as the foundation for economic success. He has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a cornerstone of his leadership.

Most recently, Mr. Bernard was executive vice president of advisory and educational services at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit research and education organization focused on issues affecting urban communities, including housing. In that role, he managed four international and global-oriented programs and provided development services to municipalities, corporations, students, and real estate professionals. He also led a program that provided dozens of clients with solutions in affordable housing, sustainability/disaster recovery, economic development, mixed-use master planning, urban regeneration, parks and open space and other land-use issues.

Prior to ULI, Mr. Bernard was vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, a Washington, D.C nonprofit improving the lives of low-income residents through housing preservation, community development and by bridging the racial equity gap. While there, he grew a $45M national public sector advisory platform. The consulting practice included 288 diverse clients, including 48 municipalities, 187 public housing authorities, and 53 foundations/nonprofits and private organizations.

Mr. Bernard also worked for Walker & Dunlop, the largest provider of capital to the multifamily industry in the US, as senior vice president of principal investments and prior to that for MMA Realty Capital as a public pension fund advisor. He also was the planning director for the City of Detroit from 1988 to 2002, overseeing $8 billion in new construction projects. And early in his career, Mr. Bernard worked for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, identifying sites for acquisition and development. He currently sits on the Board of Lotus, which houses and includes wrap-around services for formerly homeless residents.

“I am honored to join the AHC team and have long admired the organization’s mission of providing quality affordable housing and outstanding resident services. I am excited about the opportunity to work with local leaders, advocates, and partners to provide much-needed homes and services throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and DC region,” said Bernard.

“Paul has a history of tackling a variety of housing challenges and a track record of leading real change,” says David Barsky, AHC Board Chair. “With his perspective in economics, finance and urban planning — coupled with his passion for affordable housing and its potential to transform lives– we’re thrilled to have him lead AHC forward in its next chapter.”

Mr. Bernard will replace Susan Cunningham who served as Interim CEO since July 2021 and will support AHC as a senior adviser.

Mr. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in International Finance from Georgetown University’s Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) in Urban Economics & Public Finance from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, he has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Strategy & Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartments in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, and adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities. Visit the AHC website for more information.

 Contact

Jennifer  Smith
AHC Inc. Communications Director
703-486‑0626 x1118
jennifer.smith@ahcinc.org

Saving the Gates of Ballston

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AHC Milestones

Community Preserves 465 At-Risk Garden Apartments

In 2001, one of Arlington’s largest historic apartment communities, Gates of Ballston, went on the market. Real estate was booming and several commercial developers quickly bid on the property. With 465 garden apartments, the imminent loss of affordable housing would be a blow to the local community. Arlington’s older apartment communities were already under attack. During the previous two years, the County had lost 5,000 units of affordable housing.

Arlington County, AHC and a working group of concerned citizens quickly banded together to try to save the 17-acre property. Their efforts paid off. AHC, with the help of Arlington County, acquired the property in 2002.

Built between 1938 and 1941 as workforce housing for single men and small families, the Gates’ 43 buildings had never been renovated. AHC began a comprehensive revitalization of the property in 2005, carefully preserving the buildings’ historic attributes, including using authentic slate to replace the original roofs and adding new historically accurate windows. The renovation also included new kitchens, bathrooms, and heating/cooling systems. Seventy-two units were also converted into three-bedroom apartments to accommodate larger families. The historic renovation has been recognized by numerous organizations, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Today the property is full of families and lively community activities. In 2008, AHC celebrated the opening of a new, two-level, 10,000-square-foot community center. The center is a vibrant gathering space with numerous classrooms, meeting areas, and space for community partners, including Arlington County’s Community Outreach programs.

In 2015, the community center was renamed the Rinker Community Center at the Gates of Ballston to honor Charlie and Lora Rinker, long-time community activists who fought to preserve Arlington’s affordable housing, including Gates of Ballston years earlier.

Photo: AHC’s purchase of the Gates of Ballston preserved one of Arlington’s largest garden-style apartment communities. 

Land Swap and Affordable Housing Bring Development to Life

AHC Milestones

Jordan

The Jordan Is Catalyst for Successful Mixed-Income, Mixed-Use Site

AHC’s first and only (so far) land swap was the catalyst for a successful five-acre mixed-income, mixed-use site in Arlington, VA. Thanks to an innovative land exchange between AHC Inc. and The JBG Companies, an aging apartment building and adjacent car dealership have been transformed into a vibrant corridor with 90 affordable apartments, 28 luxury town homes and two commercial buildings with 450,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The collaborative project began when AHC was redeveloping a timeworn apartment building next to a site The JBG Companies proposed to turn into large commercial buildings and townhouses. When density concerns and lack of community benefits stalled the project, Arlington County suggested JBG and AHC swap land parcels to ease the transition between the commercial buildings and the nearby residential neighborhood. Not only did the neighborhood appreciate and support the resulting step-down density, but they also embraced the affordable housing component as a desirable community benefit. Arlington County also enthusiastically supported the plan because it nearly quadrupled the amount of affordable housing on the site – from 24 to 90 units. Today, the four-story Jordan apartment building sits across the street from million dollar townhomes and next door to two stately glass and chrome Class A office buildings.

The Jordan adds significantly to the diversity of income levels in the Bluemont neighborhood, which includes mostly single-family homes with few traditional apartment buildings. Seven out of 10 Bluemont residents earn more than $100,000 annually. About a quarter have incomes above $200,000. In comparison, families living at The Jordan earn between $35,000 and $65,000 a year.

The Jordan also contributes to the long-term vitality of the community through an onsite pre-school program. Twenty-four children participate in the Montessori program held in The Jordan’s 1,200-square-foot community room and enjoy the property’s outdoor play area, courtyard and library. The program adds a unique twist to the mixed-income nature of the neighborhood – one-third of the students are residents of The Jordan and attend on scholarships; the rest of the youngsters live in the surrounding area.

The Jordan also adds to the community’s vibrancy through an inviting walkway that winds between the apartment building and one of the adjacent office buildings.  The ribbon-like greenway highlights the many contributions of one of Arlington’s most-loved leaders, Ellen Bozman. Ellen’s Trace could have been a narrow, nondescript and underutilized walkway sandwiched between an office building and an apartment building. Instead, the 25-foot wide by 230-foot-long space is a welcoming greenway with comfortable benches, splashes of colorful tilework and restful plantings. The spot adds a sense of cohesiveness to the block and brings together pedestrians, families, dog walkers and office workers who all enjoy the space.

A land swap that featured affordable housing was the glue that brought this mixed-income redevelopment to life. Today, hourly service workers live across the street from highly paid lawyers, send their children to school together, and sit side by side in the nearby park.

Photo: The Jordan, adjacent to office buildings and across the street from million dollar town homes, is the glue that helped bring the mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment to life.  

Investing in a Baltimore Neighborhood

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AHC Milestones

AHC Focuses $60 Million Investment in Baltimore’s Park Heights Neighborhood

In the last 15 years, AHC Inc. has invested nearly $60 million in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood through four properties that provide more than 500 affordable homes for a variety of residents, including senior citizens, homebuyers, families and the disabled.

“AHC believes we can make a bigger impact in the community by focusing our investment in a specific area,” explains Andrew Vincent, AHC Greater Baltimore Director.  “Providing more opportunities for quality affordable housing in a concentrated area can help tip the balance in a neighborhood and bring it to life.”

Located in the northwest corner of Baltimore City, Park Heights has been home for generations of West Baltimore families, local parks and churches. Over the years, the neighborhood has seen major disinvestment alongside small pockets of growth. The City of Baltimore has recently designated 49 acres of Park Heights as a Master Redevelopment Area, with the goal of redeveloping the area into a vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood.

AHC’s properties are concentrated on the southern part of Park Heights with Madeira, the most recent investment, on the edge of the Master Redevelopment Area. AHC purchased Madera in 2014 and recently completed extensive renovations, including new appliances, windows, central air conditioning and a new roof. The complex includes 47 apartments in four buildings. New landscaping is underway and families are moving into the bright, updated apartments.

AHC’s commitment to the neighborhood began with the purchase of Greenspring Overlook apartments in 2001. An extensive renovation of the 189-unit, aging garden apartment community was completed in 2002. Two thirds of the apartments serve families with two or three-bedroom apartments. Today a thriving program for residents provides education opportunities for children, financial and job training education for adults, and a variety of programs for senior citizens.

In 2008, AHC Greater Baltimore purchased and renovated MonteVerde – two 13-story buildings with 301 affordable apartments for seniors and non-elderly disabled residents. The $30 million development project transformed the run-down property and provided more community space, updated kitchens and baths, new windows and heating and cooling systems. A thriving program for residents helps build residents’ physical and mental health and improves individuals’ ability to age in place.

When AHC purchased MonteVerde, the road leading up to the apartment community, Violet Avenue, was full of abandoned, crumbling row houses. AHC decided to build on its commitment to the area and tackle the blighted block with a homeownership project called MonteVerde Rowe. The  investment focuses on a one-block area to maximize the impact. To date, AHC has purchased 2/3 of the block. Most of the houses have been completely renovated, with more in the works. The project has been slow going, but AHC is committed to investing the time and effort to make a difference. The dedication is beginning to pay off. So far, four first-time home buyers, including a nurse and a postal worker, have purchased homes and are putting down roots in the community.

Photo: MonteVerde Rowe is coming back to life with 2/3 of the block renovated. (Photo by Anice Hoachlander)