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.

###

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.

##

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.

 

 

AHC Inc. Students and Seniors Spread Holiday Cheer

This holiday season, AHC Inc. staff teamed up with residents of all ages to share the holiday spirit.

AHC’s After-School students created dozens of colorful holiday cards for senior citizens. The new activity allowed students to share the warmth of the season with their older neighbors at this special time of year.

“During the holidays, our students receive gifts from generous local organizations,” explained Senior Resident Services Manager Becky Koons. “This holiday card project was a perfect way to include our senior citizens, so they can also receive something special for the holidays.”

Resident Services Manager Jasmine Rose said the project helped her students think about those who are less fortunate or may not be with family during the holidays.

“They filled the cards with a lot of positive language and holiday cheer,” said Rose. Some of the fifth graders were really proud they were going to make someone’s day with the words and poems they put in the card.”

Koons believes the card-making project meant a lot to both the recipients and the students. “It’s something so simple, but the students put a lot of care into making them. Each student added their own creative touches to the cards and included a thoughtful message inside.”

While students made holiday cards, residents at AHC’s affordable apartment community for active senior citizens, Hunter’s Park, were busy working on their own special project – “Operation Christmas.”

For the second year in a row, senior residents organized a drive for children in need, filling shoe boxes with toys, personal hygiene kits, and other items. Resident Services Manager Ana Ochoa said the idea for Operation Christmas came up in an informal conversation last year, as residents wanted to band together to help children.

“They were very enthusiastic, said Ochoa.  “Our group of knitting ladies made hats and scarfs. Some of them collected a few little toys and before I knew it we packed 40 boxes!”

Hunter’s Park residents were excited to repeat the shoe-box drive this year and got more volunteers involved. Their effort paid off – this year the group produced 60 packed gift boxes for children in need.

“What amazes me is the circle of kindness around. It was just a beautiful moment for all of us,” said Ochoa.

– Andrew Karpinski

##

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 53 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,500 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

 

AHC Creates Strategies for 1,800 Affordable Apartments in 2017

In 2017, AHC worked on 13 different development projects to produce nearly 1,800 new, preserved or renovated quality affordable apartments for low-income families, senior citizens, young professionals and other hardworking individuals in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Some projects are already welcoming new residents, while others are still in the planning stages. No two projects are alike – reflecting the ongoing challenges in developing affordable housing. The obstacles may get even tougher as uncertainty in federal funding, tax reform, and the constant rise in land, labor and material costs adds to the complexity of developing affordable housing.

“At AHC, we are continually looking for creative ways to add much-needed affordable living opportunities in our region,” says President and CEO Walter Webdale. “We are investigating additional sources of funding, initiating new partnerships, and building on our relationships with local jurisdictions.”

New construction is the most visible way AHC adds affordable homes to communities. AHC has two construction projects taking shape – St. James Plaza in Alexandria, 93 new apartments on land previously owned by a local church, and Key’s Pointe in Baltimore, 68 new townhomes on a 62-acre site that will ultimately provide homes for 900 families.

Redevelopment of The Berkeley, an aging property in Arlington, breaks ground in early 2018. The project will include 256 affordable apartments in two new buildings and expanded activity space, including a community lounge, fitness center, playground and sport court. The development has won a $2.5 million allocation of competitive 9% tax credits. Arlington County has allocated a combined $20.9 million in loan funds for both buildings from the local Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF).

Construction projects on the drawing board include an exciting development on the S.W. Waterfront in Washington, DC, and a creative partnership with the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria, which will result in affordable apartments and a new sanctuary on their existing site. AHC Greater Baltimore recently received a grant to jump start plans for a project that addresses a key need – housing for veterans.

Updating and preserving existing affordable apartment communities is an integral part of AHC’s mission. This year, AHC celebrated the grand re-opening of a comprehensive, two-year $110 million historic redevelopment at Woodbury Park. With 364 units, it is one of Arlington’s largest historic garden-style apartment communities.

Upcoming renovation projects include refinancing and updating several aging AHC properties in Arlington and preserving acquired properties in Fairfax County and Montgomery County.

###

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 53 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.

 

Housing Coalition Urges Arlington County Board to “Fulfill the Promise” of Affordable Housing Master Plan

New report recommends strategies to reach annual goal of 600 units

Arlington, VA  (December 16, 2017) – A coalition of housing experts and advocates urged the County Board to pursue strategies to meet the production goals set out in Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, which was unanimously adopted in 2015. “Despite heroic efforts by the staff and the Board, we are falling way short of our annual goal of nearly 600 units”, said John Milliken, chair of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) and former member of the County Board. The County’s own assessment report documents that an average of just 224 committed affordable homes were added between 2011 and 2016, a pace far below the goal.

The report, Fulfilling the Promise: Meeting the Production Goal of Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan, identifies strategies to reduce costs or increase funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), the County’s loan program to support affordable housing development and preservation. Each strategy includes a case study highlighting how the recommendation could make a difference in Arlington. The report was developed by a coalition of housing and land-use experts and advocates.

County Board members embraced the report, which Chairman Fisette described as “Vintage Arlington”, and directed staff to identify the most promising recommendations to incorporate into the work plan for 2018. Board members endorsed deeper exploration of several report strategies including cost-saving and stream-lining measures, changes in tax policy, and modification of the County’s bonus density policy. Christian Dorsey, thanked the report authors for “kick-starting us in the right direction,” an appreciation echoed by John Vihstadt and Katie Cristol.

“Arlington needs to remain a place where all can live: where our kids can start out and our grandparents remain. It should remain a place where any who work here should, if they choose, be able to live here,” said John Milliken.

Report signers and coalition members:

Susan Ingraham Bell, Independent Planning Consultant

Matt Birenbaum, CIO, AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

Paul Browne, Vice President, Real Estate Development, Wesley Housing.

Kelly Eichhorn, CFO, APAH

Pat Findikoglu, Housing Advocate

Jay Harris, Principal, Harris Crystal Advisors

Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church

Nina Janopaul, President and CEO, APAH

Richard Jordan, Managing Director, Potomac Investment Properties

Jonathan C. Kinney, Shareholder, Bean, Kinney & Korman

John Milliken, Board Chair, APAH, retired elected official

Shelley Murphy, President and CEO, Wesley Housing

Justin C. Oliver, Board Chair, AHC Inc.

Cheryl Ramp, Director of Community Resources and Relations, APAH

Carmen Romero, Vice President, Real Estate Development, APAH

John Shooshan, Chairman, The Shooshan Company

Stephen E. Smith, Executive Vice President, AHC Inc.

Michael Spotts, President, Neighborhood Fundamentals, LLC

Walter Webdale, President and CEO, AHC Inc.

John Welsh, Vice President, Multifamily Group, AHC Inc.

Mary Margaret Whipple, President, Alliance for Housing Solutions, retired elected official

Michelle Winters, Executive Director, Alliance for Housing Solutions

Kevin Yam, Managing Director, Iron Point Partners

###

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 53 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.