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. 

AHC Inc., City Officials and Partners Celebrate 78 New Affordable Apartments in Alexandria

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April 18, 2016 – City of Alexandria officials, project partners and residents joined AHC Inc. to celebrate the official grand opening of Jackson Crossing, a new affordable apartment building in Alexandria, VA on Saturday, April 16.

Developed by AHC Inc., a regional affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, the rental community is home to 78 families with incomes at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (approximately $65,000 annually for a four-person household).

“Jackson Crossing is AHC’s first affordable apartment community in Alexandria,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO. “With 40 years of experience developing affordable housing in the region, AHC is delighted to partner with Alexandria and is looking forward to opening at least two more projects in the City in the next few years.”

Jackson Crossing has 14 one-bedrooms, 51 two-bedrooms, and 13 three-bedroom apartments.  Five of the apartments are ADA accessible. The apartment community includes a 750-square-foot community room where programs and services are offered for residents, underground parking and a 700-square-foot roof terrace. The building includes many green features, is EarthCraft certified, and provides 25% higher energy efficiency than typical standards.

The property’s location, across the street from Potomac Yard and steps away from DASH, Metroway/bus rapid transit and Metro options, adds to the desirability of the apartments. Market-rate condominiums and town homes are across the street and the Capitol dome is visible in the distance.

“The City values its partnership with AHC and is very pleased to be celebrating the addition of 78 new affordable homes at Jackson Crossing in such an amenity-rich area,” said City of Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg.

More than 500 people were on a waiting list when the apartments opened. Today’s residents are a diverse group of people from all walks of life, including senior citizens, veterans, a former teacher’s aide, a bus driver, flight attendants and families with children of all ages.

The Alexandria City Council approved the affordable housing project in 2013. The city loaned $2.5 million to AHC and also transferred a city-owned parcel of land to AHC for the project. Six adjacent parcels assembled by AHC make up the rest of the site.

Jackson Crossing was designed by Bonstra|Haresign Architects and built by Harkins Builders Inc.  It was financed by loans from Capital One Bank, the City of Alexandria, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), NeighborWorks America, AHC Inc., and 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity from Hudson Housing Capital issued by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

Photo caption:  City of Alexandria officials, including Mayor Allison Silberberg and City Council members, AHC staff, project partners, and residents cut the ribbon at Jackson Crossing, 78 new affordable apartments in Alexandria, VA, on Saturday, April 16. (Photo by John Dawson, Harkins Builders)

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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 52 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. and PN Hoffman Win Right to Develop Southwest DC Parcel

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March 30, 2016 –  The DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has selected AHC Inc., PN Hoffman and several other partners to develop Waterfront Station II, a 59,000-square-foot lot adjacent to the Southwest Waterfront Metro station in Washington, DC. This is the last of the Waterfront Station parcels in the Southwest community.

PN Hoffman is the senior partner and AHC is developing the affordable housing component. Other partners include ER Bacon Development, LLC; CityPartners; and Paramount Development LLC.

Designed by Torti Gallas, the 400,000 square-foot, mixed-income, mixed-use building will include 133 affordable apartments (30% of the total), 310 market-rate apartments, a 10,000-square-foot black box theater and cultural artist space, and approximately 20,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail. The project is being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

“AHC is delighted to provide the affordable housing piece of this vibrant project, which will bring much-needed quality affordable living opportunities to the Southwest community and help residents live closer to where they work, the Metro and retail opportunities,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO.”

The community-minded proposal won the neighborhood’s support earlier in the application process – thanks to its diverse housing for a mix of incomes, neighborhood-serving retail, and unique cultural offering that aims to continue building DC’s Southwest neighborhood as a premier arts and cultural destination.

“The Southwest Waterfront is experiencing a renaissance unlike anything else in the District,” said PN Hoffman founder and CEO Monty Hoffman. “We are confident that our plan to revitalize a key portion of 4th Street SW will enhance the livability and allure of the neighborhood.”

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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 52 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.

 

Carlton Miller and Steve Smith

AHC Faces

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35 Years in the Affordable Housing Industry

Carlton Miller and Steve Smith are AHC’s longest-serving staff members. The organization would not be the same without their talents, expertise and warmth. Both have contributed immeasurably to AHC’s growth over the years.

Steve was drawn to AHC’s mission of social justice. Fresh out of graduate school, he was AHC’s second employee. The office didn’t have a copier, computer or even a fax machine. His primary tools were a manual typewriter and a calculator. Now Senior Vice President, Steve is involved in almost all aspects of the organization. He is tremendously proud of how AHC has grown over the years. “I enjoy feeling like we are making a difference,” he says.

Carlton’s original role was to help rehab homes for low-income families. He was sold on the organization after helping an elderly woman on a fixed income repair her roof. “I realized I could come to work every day and help people,” he explains. “What more can you ask for?” Now Vice President of Construction, Carlton manages the many aspects of AHC’s construction projects. “My goal is to help the company build and renovate at a reasonable cost with the highest quality we can possibly get.”

Photo: Carlton Miller (left) and Steve Miller have both worked at AHC for more than 35 years. 

Land Swap and Affordable Housing Bring Development to Life

AHC Milestones

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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.