93 New Affordable Apartments Open in Alexandria

Development Also Includes Preschool and Market-Rate Townhomes

(April 16, 2018 – Arlington, VA) Local lawmakers, partners, community supporters and residents joined AHC Inc. to cut the ribbon on St. James Plaza, which delivers 93 new affordable apartments to the City of Alexandria’s Beauregard neighborhood.

Working together, nonprofit developer AHC Inc. and the City of Alexandria successfully transformed three acres previously owned by St. James United Methodist Church into a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community with an onsite pre-school operated by The Campagna Center. Families began moving into St. James Plaza in mid-March.

With affordable housing increasingly difficult to find in Northern Virginia, the St. James Plaza waiting list topped 2,600 people by the beginning of March. According to information published by the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing, the number of market-affordable rental units in the City of Alexandria has declined 90% between 2000 and 2017.

To help subsidize the cost of the land for the affordable apartment building, AHC Inc. sold half of the site to Craftmark, a McLean-based homebuilding company. Craftmark is building 31 two- and three-bedroom market-rate townhomes adjacent to AHC’s apartment building.

“Finding developable land and putting together the financing to create quality affordable housing is a complex challenge,” said AHC Inc. Board Vice-Chair John V. Snyder. “This project is a living example of how local government, a nonprofit and a market-rate developer can work together to create a welcoming community with a variety of housing opportunities.”

The City of Alexandria approved a $5.7 million development loan to partially fund construction of the affordable building. AHC Inc. also received $19 million in competitive 9% Low-income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) equity through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) competitive process.

“As housing affordability is harder to find in our region, the City of Alexandria is glad to make investments that help residents secure quality, affordable apartments,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg. “Partnering with nonprofits, like AHC Inc., reflects the City’s commitment to remaining inclusive and diverse by successfully creating mixed-income communities.”

The new development also includes an Early Learning Center, operated by The Campagna Center, with capacity to serve 50 children ages three to five across three classrooms.  The Campagna Center has offered quality educational programming and services in Alexandria for over 50 years. The Early Learning Center will open in September.

“The Campagna Center is excited to launch a new preschool in the Beauregard neighborhood–the second we have placed in an AHC Inc. community — and is eager to build connections with neighbors, local employers, and the nearby community college,” said President and CEO Tammy L. Mann. “Our ability to co-locate a quality preschool within a vibrant, diverse residential community helps families access vital early learning opportunities and extends our impact throughout Alexandria.”

St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies and one- two- and three-bedroom apartments for households with incomes between 40% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A family of four, for instance, qualifies with a maximum household income between $46,880 (40% AMI) and $70,320 (60% AMI). The rent for a two-bedroom apartment will range from $920 (40% AMI) to $1,447 (60% AMI).

The property will also include underground parking, a fitness center, and a community room for residents. The building will meet the highest EarthCraft environmental certification.

In addition to the City of Alexandria, development partners include Capital One Bank, Hudson Housing Capital, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), NeighborWorks and NeighborWorks Capital. Designed by Cunningham-Quill Architects, the five-story building was constructed by Harkins Builders.

St. James Plaza is AHC’s second development in Alexandria. Jackson Crossing, with 78 affordable apartments, opened in 2016 on Route 1 near Potomac Yard.

A third project, in partnership with the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, is on the drawing board. The Alexandria City Council approved the 113-unit project and a loan of up to $9 million in January 2018.  The project is subject to AHC receiving low-income housing tax credits later this year through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

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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 7,000 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

Photo: Residents, partners, housing officials and local lawmakers, including City of Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg, helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening of St. James Plaza. Photo credit: Nick Crettier Photography

 

NeighborWorks America Helps Build Housing, Resident Services and Organizational Success

 NeighborWorks America (NW) was founded 40 years ago as a grassroots approach to creating better, more affordable homes in places that need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, the organization has expanded from working with 50 nonprofit organizations to nearly 250 nationwide.

AHC Inc. is proud to have been a NeighborWorks partner since 2001. Since then, we have received $13 million in assistance, which we have leveraged with public and private investment to develop more than 5,000 affordable and workforce housing units.

“Neighborworks America’s steadfast support to AHC Inc. over the last 18 years has significantly impacted AHC’s ability to expand our efforts in creating affordable housing and positively impacting the lives of our residents,” said Stephen Smith, AHC Inc. Executive Vice President. “NW assists AHC to strengthen communities, promote innovation, raise low cost capital and enhance our organization’s sustainability.”

Over the years, NeighborWorks has also significantly helped its nonprofit partners develop programs for residents, including financial coaching, job readiness and placement, healthy housing and access to educational opportunities.

NeighborWorks has supported a variety of AHC’s initiatives to help residents build stronger lives. Currently, NeighborWorks is working with AHC to develop an expanded Financial Capability program to help our residents build assets and start saving so they have more financial stability and are not living paycheck to paycheck. AHC started building a Financial Capability program in Baltimore eight years ago, and the initiative has already significantly improved hundreds of lives. Based on that success and, thanks to NeighborWorks support, AHC is working to replicate those efforts in Arlington.

Along with housing and services for residents, NW also helps its partners build strong and sustainable organizations.  “NW programs promote the professional growth and development of AHC staff and provide critical ongoing technical assistance to AHC – key ingredients to AHC’s organizational success,” said Smith.

Recently, AHC participated in a Peer Exchange with Common Bond Communities (St. Paul, MN) and Eden Housing (Hayward, CA) thanks to NeighborWorks support. Bringing organizations together from different parts of the country provides a valuable opportunity to share strategies and develop constructive ideas.

Photo: Leaders from Common Bond Communities and Eden Housing joined AHC Inc. to exchange ideas during a recent NeighborWorks Peer Exchange.

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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 7,000 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.

 

Wanda L. Pierce Joins AHC Inc. Board

 Arlington, VA (February 21, 2018) – AHC Inc., a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region, is delighted to announce that Wanda L. Pierce has joined its Board of Directors.

Ms. Pierce, President of Pierce Consulting Works, LLC, has more than 25 years of successful management experience in the nonprofit and corporate sectors.  Most recently, as Executive Director of the Arlington Community Foundation for nine years, she advanced numerous community initiatives and partnerships throughout Arlington.

“AHC is fortunate to have such a committed community leader serve on our Board,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO. “Ms. Pierce has extensive experience building local partnerships and programs that echo AHC’s mission to provide affordable housing and educational opportunities for our residents.”

For a portion of her childhood, Ms. Pierce lived in affordable housing and has seen first-hand what a difference affordable housing can make. “I have a long-held passion for the importance of affordable housing. Having a stable place to live gives families a chance to succeed in other parts of their lives,” said Pierce.  “I’m thrilled to volunteer with AHC and have a chance to see their mission put to use right in my back yard and also in other areas in our region.”

Ms. Pierce has also served as the Executive Director of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation and the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the United Way of America. She received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University.  A 30-year resident of Arlington, she and her family reside in the Nauck community.

Photo: AHC Inc. President and CEO Walter D. Webdale and Wanda L. Pierce 

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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 7,000 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

 

 

Alexandria City Council Approves Development of 113 New Affordable Apartments and Church Building

Partnership between nonprofit housing developer and church will transform two-acre site into 113 affordable apartments and a new church building.

On January 20, 2018, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a proposed 113-unit affordable housing development located at 2280 N. Beauregard Street. The project is a partnership between nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection.

In addition to the development approvals, the City Council also unanimously endorsed a loan of up to $9 million to help facilitate the project, as well as a grant of $350,000 to provide rental assistance to make 12 units deeply affordable.

The development, which has recently been named “The Spire” in honor of AHC’s successful collaboration with the Church, will utilize a two-acre site that currently includes Resurrection’s church building and associated administrative space, as well as other ministry-related uses, including a food pantry that serves many households on Alexandria’s West End.

The plan approved by City Council will redevelop the site to include an affordable housing building and a new, smaller church.  The parties have agreed that the Church will retain ownership of the land, but will offer AHC a long-term ground lease.  AHC has committed to 65-year affordability term.

“As a faith community, affordable housing is a natural part of our mission. Our congregation has a long history of helping people find shelter,” said Betsy Faga, Chair of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection’s Redevelopment Committee. “Working together with the community to address this critical need has been rewarding and also re-energizing for our church.”

AHC has worked with its development team, the Church, the City and with the community, including its adjacent neighbor Goodwin Housing of Alexandria, to refine the project concept for nearly three years.

“This project would not be possible without the generosity of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection and the City of Alexandria’s steadfast commitment to improving housing affordability,” says Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO.  “Thanks to their determination and leadership, we hope to create 113 high-quality, affordable homes for hardworking low- and moderate-income families.

The development will include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, including 12 fully-accessible units, that will serve households with incomes ranging from 40-60% Area Median Income (AMI).

The total development cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $46 million. AHC will apply for low income housing tax credits in an upcoming March competitive application process administered by Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), the state housing financing agency.

The Spire is one of three City-sponsored “leveraged” projects envisioned by its 2012 Beauregard Small Area Plan and will help Alexandria fulfill its pledge to work with nonprofits and private developers to deliver 800 long-term committed affordable units in the Beauregard Corridor over the next few decades to address the potential loss of market affordable units in that area of the City.

Mayor Allison Silberberg and members of City Council heartily thanked and congratulated AHC and the Church for their work on the project, to date, recognizing the Church’s extraordinary commitment to housing affordability and meeting the needs of its neighbors in the Beauregard area.

The Spire is AHC’s third affordable housing development in Alexandria.  Jackson Crossing, a 78-unit project, located near Potomac Yard, completed construction in late 2014 and was fully leased shortly thereafter.

St. James Plaza, on Fillmore Avenue, is under construction. The development will provide 93 affordable apartments for families in early April. Leasing is now underway. Leasing information. A grand opening is planned for Saturday, April 14, 2018, at 8 AM.

Rendering courtesy of Cunningham-Quill Architects.

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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 7,000 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.

 

AHC Inc. Resident Services Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, AHC’s Resident Services program began with a small seed of an idea – children at loose ends needed something to do. In 1993, a part-time staff member started providing some basic activities at Woodbury Park Apartments. Today, the program has blossomed to full-time staff at six community centers in Arlington and three in Baltimore.

Over the years, AHC’s Resident Services has grown into much more than just a haven for youngsters; it has become a supportive education program that nurtures children from elementary through high school, and also provides opportunities for parents and senior citizens.

We will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of AHC’s Resident Services programs throughout 2018 with stories about students who have grown up in the program and long-time volunteers who have helped so many succeed.

Key milestones include:

1993-1998

During Resident Services’ first five years, the program expanded to two apartment communities. The fledgling initiative established partnerships with local community organizations, including the Community Outreach Program and REEP, Arlington’s primary English as a Second Language program for adults. Staff members started a back-to-school drive to help students start the school year well prepared.

1999 – 2004

New grants helped the program expand its reach, including the start of a new Summer Camp program. Three more community centers began offering programs. The first on-site preschool opened and we initiated our partnership with local food assistance programs.

2005 – 2010

New multi-year grants helped establish more comprehensive youth programs. Literacy became the primary focus of the After-School Program. The Teen Tutoring Program expanded to help youth more successfully access and apply to college. We started programs for active seniors and launched Resident Services in several Baltimore communities.

2011 – 2015

Thanks to expanded programming, Resident Services reached 3,000 residents each year in Virginia and Maryland. We partnered successfully with more than 50 community organizations annually. We expanded our reach and established our first onsite partnership in Alexandria, VA, and initiated programs at a senior property in Silver Spring.

2016 – present

Our College and Career Readiness Program launched to serve high school juniors and seniors. AHC high school seniors earned more than $500,000 in scholarships. A social services component was added to our service, including money management education opportunities and programs to help families avoid eviction and keep their homes. Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) presented the Community Partner Award to AHC. Our partnerships with on-site schools continued to grow: A new YMCA After-School program started at The Shelton and our fourth Full Circle Montessori preschool program opened at The Shell. We are proud – and grateful – to work with approximately 300 volunteers each year.

Photo: Harvey Hall was one of the first AHC apartment communities to provide Resident Services programs 25 years ago.

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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 7,000 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.