Innovative Partnership Creates Developable Land for New Committed Affordable Housing in Alexandria’s Beauregard Neighborhood

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An innovative approach to creating affordable housing is bringing 93 new affordable apartments to Alexandria. Now under construction, St. James Plaza expects to welcome residents in late 2018. Working together, the City of Alexandria and nonprofit developer AHC Inc., are successfully transforming three acres previously owned by St. James Methodist Church into a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community with adjoining public green space. The project fulfills the church’s aim to further its social justice mission and helps the City offset the loss of market affordable apartments that will occur when the nearby Beauregard neighborhood redevelops.

AHC got an option to acquire the land in 2013, rezoned it to residential use in 2014, acquired the property and subdivided it and is currently under contract to sell approximately 1.5 acres to Craftmark, a market-rate developer, to create 31 new townhomes that will be adjacent to AHC’s planned multifamily development. AHC will use the townhome land sale to subsidize the cost of the land for the affordable apartment building. The City of Alexandria approved funding for the project in 2014, along with a $5.7 million development loan to partially fund construction of the affordable building.

Leveraging the land assets of faith communities, as occurred with the St. James Plaza development, is a creative response to the challenge of finding developable land in the Washington, D.C. region. “The limited supply of undeveloped land in the Washington DC region, coupled with the high cost of available land, is among the most significant obstacles to developing affordable housing,” explains Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO. “Working as a team with community groups, local governments and/or market-rate developers to create land for housing is a successful strategy that benefits the whole community.” In recent years, AHC has created developable land in a number of ways, from combining single-family lots to acquiring a gas station adjacent to AHC-owned land.

“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 our commitment to remaining inclusive and diverse, while creating successfully mixed-income communities as outlined in both the 2012 Beauregard Plan and the 2013 Housing Master Plan.”

St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment homes for households with incomes ranging from $43,680 to $65,520 for a family of four.  Amenities will include underground parking and a community space. Plans are underway to partner with the Campagna Center to operate a daycare and pre- kindergarten program on site that will serve residents’ children as well as children from the neighborhood.

In addition to the City of Alexandria, St. James project partners include Capital One Bank, Hudson Housing Capital, and NeighborWorks Capital. Designed by Cunningham-Quill Architects, the five-story building is being constructed by Harkins Builders.

 

Photo caption:  St. James Plaza will provide 93 new affordable apartments in Alexandria, VA.

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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.

 

Next Phase of Key’s Pointe Under Construction

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The second phase of Key’s Pointe, the redevelopment of a massive 1940s public housing community, is now underway. The project, one of the first new developments in  Southeast Baltimore in many years, is bringing a neglected 62-acre site back to life. The multi-phase project will eventually include more than 900 new affordable and market-rate apartments and over six acres of new parks and green space.

The development, a partnership among AHC Greater Baltimore, The Michaels Development Company and the Housing Authority of Baltimore (HABC),  is a suburban/urban hybrid that combines a traditional street grid with close-together homes, sidewalks, alleys and patios. The Green Communities-certified project also provides long-term environmental features, including landscaped micro bio-retention facilities to effectively manage storm water runoffs.

The second phase of the project will include 68 affordable and market-rate residential units, a multi-purpose meeting room and office, as well as green space for residents. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2018.

The funding for the $23.26 million  second phase includes $11 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD); $8.78 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity from syndicator Riverside Capital, LLC; a $5.99 million FHA 221(d) 4 loan from Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital; a $7.65 million Rental Housing Factor Funds (RHFF) loan from HABC; and a $493,000 loan from DHCD’s Rental Housing Works (RHW) loan program. Additional sources include deferred developer fee. The combined finance sources equal $34.26 million – $11 million more than the total development cost – due to DHCD’s requirement to collateralize the State-issued tax-exempt bonds.

The first phase of the redevelopment, which included 76 residential units (including 16 units reserved for persons with disabilities), was completed in 2014. Half of the finished homes are deeply affordable using a Project-Based Section 8 contract with 27 reserved for current and former public housing families. The remaining units are available to families earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income.

Photo: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) Executive Director Paul T. Graziano, The Michaels Development Company, AHC Greater Baltimore, Inc., elected officials, state and federal partners, and members of the community for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the second phase of Key’s Pointe.

 

 

AHC Inc. Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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More than 300 supporters joined AHC Inc. to celebrate its 40th Anniversary this fall. The event highlighted the organization’s growth and achievements, honored five new Housing Hall of Fame members, celebrated student winners who submitted winning essays and art work, and elected AHC Board members. “Our 40th Anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate all those who have helped AHC over the years – our supporters, donors, volunteers, community partners and advocates – preserve and build affordable, stable homes for those in most need, ” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to direct the event proceeds to our Resident Services program, which serves more than 2,000 youth, senior citizens and families each year.”

Since its founding in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,000 quality affordable apartments; touched thousands of children, families and senior citizens through its Resident Services programs; and expanded beyond its Arlington roots to also serve communities in Alexandria, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Baltimore and Washington, DC. AHC Milestones.

To commemorate the event, AHC named four individuals and an organization to its Housing Hall of Fame. Founded in 2001, AHC’s Housing Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations for their vision, dedication and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing.

The 2016 honorees include Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Arlington; Patricia McGrady, decades-long affordable housing activist and volunteer; Rick Nelson, former Director of Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs; J. Walter Tejada, former Arlington County Board member; and Harkins Builders, long-time AHC Inc. business partner and supporter.

“AHC is proud to celebrate such an exemplary group of visionaries and supporters,” said Justin Oliver, AHC Board Chair. “It truly takes a village to provide affordable housing. Our honorees represent the community partners, volunteers, local government, elected officials, and business partners that are all critical to bringing affordable housing to life. Your commitment is what enables AHC to successfully continue building homes and futures. We are truly grateful for your support and honored to include you in our Housing Hall of Fame.”

The event also highlighted six students who submitted winning essays and artwork based on the themes of “How AHC’s Community Centers Affected My Life” and “The Place I Call Home.”

“The youngsters who live in AHC’s communities are the heart and soul of our programs,” explained Ginger Briggs Brown, former AHC Inc. Board member, who presented the children’s awards. “It is their futures we are working so hard to strengthen. Tonight we applaud their creative achievements.”

The Essay Contest winners include Jennifer Arevalo (First Place), Sara Berhe (Second Place) and Jennifer Rivera (Third Place). Art Contest winners are: Michelle Orellana (First Place), Angel Barrera (Second Place) and Loren Bonilla (Third Place). Read more. 

During the event, attendees also re-elected four AHC Board members, David Barsky, Jason Dalley, Justin Oliver and John Snyder. C.C. Jenkins, a long-time AHC supporter and prior Board member, was elected to return to the Board. Gladis Bourdouane, who joined the AHC Board in 2011, retired from the Board and was celebrated for her service and commitment. Read more. 

Read more stories, stats and history from AHC’s 40th Anniversary.

Photo: AHC Inc. celebrates 2016 Housing Hall of Fame honorees at 40th Anniversary Celebration. Front row, left to right:  Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr.; Patricia McGrady; J. Walter Tejada; and Rick Nelson. Back row, left to right: Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO; Mike Ebrahimi, Harkins Builders; Dick Lombardo, Harkins Builders; Mike Mallow, Harkins Builders; Gary Garofalo, Harkins Builders; and Justin Oliver, AHC Inc. Board Chair. 

 

AHC Inc., City Officials and Partners Break Ground on 93 New Affordable Apartments in Alexandria

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(July 13, 2016 – Arlington, VA) – AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer, partners and City of Alexandria officials celebrated the groundbreaking for St. James Plaza, 93 new affordable apartments adjacent to Alexandria’s Beauregard neighborhood.

The project, located on a portion of a three-acre site previously owned by the St. James United Methodist Church and the Bi-District Office of the Northern Virginia Methodist Church, expects to welcome residents in late 2018. The remainder of the site will have a public landscaped mews and 31 new market-rate townhomes.

“AHC Inc. is delighted to partner with the City of Alexandria again to create housing that is affordable for a variety of individuals and incomes, including working families, senior citizens, and young adults just starting out,” explained AHC President and CEO, Walter D. Webdale.

St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. Amenities will include underground parking and a community space where a full day pre-kindergarten program will be offered by the Campagna Center for residents’ children as well as children from the neighborhood. Rents will be affordable to households with incomes ranging from 40% to 60% of the Area Median.

“The St. James Plaza project will provide a valuable affordable housing resource – including deeply subsidized apartments – for Alexandria residents,” said Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg. “We are particularly pleased to be working with AHC to create long-term committed affordable units for households in the Beauregard Plan area who may be displaced by future redevelopment.  These units will be affordable for at least 60 years.”

In addition to the City of Alexandria, which is providing a loan of $5.7 million to AHC for the project, St. James Plaza partners include Capital One Bank, Hudson Housing Capital, and NeighborWorks of America.

Demolition of the existing buildings is scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks, with construction of St. James Plaza to start later this year. Designed by Cunningham-Quill Architects, St. James is being built by Harkins Builders.


Photo caption:  City of Alexandria officials, including Mayor Allison Silberberg and City Council members; along with project partners Capital One Bank, Hudson Housing Capital, and NeighborWorks America helped nonprofit developer AHC Inc. break ground at St. James Plaza, 93 new affordable apartments in Alexandria, VA.

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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 and Montgomery County Work Together to Provide Homes for the Formerly Homeless

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Along with developing affordable rental communities, AHC Inc. also works with local communities on initiatives that help provide housing for people struggling with severely challenging issues – homelessness, abuse, or disabilities.  These activities include providing permanent supportive housing units at many of our communities in Arlington and including ADA-accessible apartments when constructing or redeveloping a community.

Recently, AHC worked with Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) and its affiliate affordable housing developer Coalition Homes (CH) to respond to the growing need for homes for individuals transitioning out of homelessness.

The partnership had its roots in a 2009 transaction that enabled AHC, in conjunction with Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs, to purchase six, two-bedroom condominium units in Gateway Commons in Clarksburg, MD. The acquisition preserved the town house units as moderately priced rentals for households earning up to 55% of the area median income.

Earlier this year, MCCH obtained a significant number of housing subsidy vouchers and needed to expand its rental housing portfolio to accommodate the additional households. The organization reached out to AHC to see if they could work out an agreement to purchase the six town house apartments, and with strong support from Montgomery County, an agreement was reached that enabled CH to acquire the homes at a modest price, while also allowing AHC to recoup its investment. A win-win partnership for all.


Photo caption:  AHC Inc. partnered with Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs, to preserve six, two-bedroom condominium units as affordable homes in Gateway Commons in Clarksburg, MD. 

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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.