AHC Inc. “Flips the Switch” on Largest Multifamily Solar Installation in Northern Virginia

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Celia Slater, AHC Inc., 571-228-5948, celia.slater@ahcinc.org
Adam Segel-Moss, Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, Asegel-moss@Arlingtonva.us
Tom Weaver, Prospect Solar, 703-675-9024, Weavert@prospectsolar.com

AHC Inc. “Flips the Switch” on  Largest Rooftop Solar Array on a Multifamily Residence in Northern Virginia

(Arlington, VA – Oct. 22, 2020) AHC Inc., in partnership with Arlington County, “Flipped the Switch” on 342 solar panels at The Apex, a new 256-unit affordable apartment community on the banks of Four Mile Run in South Arlington, VA. The 130 KW installation is the largest solar panel array on a multifamily apartment building in Northern Virginia. The event took place during AHC Inc.’s Annual Meeting on October 20, 2020.

“AHC is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and to Arlington’s Community Energy Plan, while at the same time improving our residents’ quality of life,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to reduce our operating expenses while also cutting back on carbon emissions. Converting a portion of our energy source to renewables is a win for everyone – the community, our residents, and for us.”

Along with providing technical assistance to support the solar installation at the property, Arlington County allocated up to $20.6 million in loan funds from the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund to help construct the apartment community.

“The Apex project shows that affordable housing and sustainability can be woven together beautifully to create a climate of change,” said Claude Williamson, Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development for Arlington County. “Energy efficient construction and solar power are important for containing the costs of affordable living and to reach Arlington’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. We look forward to working hand in hand with our entire community to create and maintain more sustainable, affordable housing for the future.”

The solar panels work by converting energy from the sun into electricity. The Apex solar array will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 11 single-family homes over the course of the year. The electricity generated is used to offset common area energy usage, cutting down on greenhouse emissions. This means the lights, elevators, fitness equipment, and electricity to the apartment community’s leasing office will all be powered by solar energy. 

“It’s no secret that housing in the DC metro area is expensive, so there is certainly a need for more affordable housing communities like The APEX!” says Andrew Skinner, Prospect Solar Vice President. Utility bills are usually one of the largest and most volatile portions of an affordable housing development’s budget. Stabilizing utility bills through solar and other measures makes it easier to maintain operating budgets, retain resident services and avoid raising rents. We applaud AHC for being an industry leader and jumping out ahead of the curve and showing the industry that low and middle-income (LMI) projects work in Virginia.  As the solar industry grows in the state of Virginia, it is critical that those that benefit the most from renewables (LMI communities) have access to the benefits.” 

The Apex also includes a variety of other energy efficient features, earning the property an EarthCraft Gold designation. The EarthCraft program certifies homes that are sourced, constructed and designed to reduce environmental impacts.

Building Highlights

  • High efficiency Water Sense toilets, showerheads, and faucets
  • Energy-Efficient LED lighting
  • ENERGY STAR appliances, HVAC, and water heating systems
  • Enhanced insulation and air sealing to eliminate transfer of air between units and the outside environment
  • Reduced impervious (paved) area, which reduces runoff 80% and helps protect the adjacent Four Mile Run
  • Reflective roofing that creates a cooler environment around the building
  • Native and drought tolerant plantings in the landscaping
  • Protected bike storage

AHC began welcoming residents to the new property in Spring 2020. The 4.6 acre project is significant because it complements Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan by providing affordable apartments in a neighborhood that has a lower share of affordable housing.

The redevelopment includes a broader mix of housing options and apartment sizes than most affordable projects. Along with much-needed affordable housing, The Apex includes housing for households that earn 40% to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The apartment community also provides a large number of apartments for families – 81% of the new homes will have two or three bedrooms.

Other positive community benefits include space for resident services, fitness room, playground and outdoor sport court.

The project’s financing includes up to $20.6 million in funds from Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). The redevelopment also won $2.5 million in 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which will provide approximately $24 million in equity financing. The highly competitive federal program, designed to encourage the development of affordable rental housing, is administered through Virginia Housing (previously the Virginia Housing Development Authority). The project also received approximately $1 million in 4% LIHTC tax credits, which will generate roughly $10 million in equity. NeighborWorksAmerica helped fund pre-development costs.

Project partners include Arlington County; Capital One; Harkins Builders; Hudson Housing; Klein Hornig, LLP; Michael T. Foster Architects; NeighborWorks America; Walter L. Phillips, Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, P.A.; Virginia Housing Development Authority; and Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, P.C.

Images and Videos

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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 7,500 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 through on-site education and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit https://www.ahcinc.org/  

About Arlington County
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation’s Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business. https://www.arlingtonva.us/

About Prospect Solar
Prospect Solar is committed to safely delivering the Sun’s energy to power homes, businesses, and communities. Since 2010, Prospect Solar has engineered, installed, and maintained solar energy systems in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. https://www.prospectsolar.com/


Photo credit: Jeffrey Sauers, CPI Productions

AHC Annual Meeting on October 20

 

Register now for AHC’s virtual Annual Meeting on October 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. We’ve got lots of new information and updates to share with you, including: 

A discussion of the latest housing trends from NPR’s Ally Schweitzer with AHC Board member Wanda Pierce.

Exciting opportunity to “Flip the Switch” on new solar panels at The Apex, the largest solar installation on a multifamily building in Northern Virginia.

Updates on AHC’s recent and upcoming affordable apartment developments.

An overview of how our Resident Services team is working nonstop to help our residents stay housed and stable.

A look at some amazing volunteers, including our residents, who are generously donating their time and energy to help others through the pandemic. 

And, an opportunity to test your knowledge about some of AHC’s programs and volunteers.

Register Here!

Fort Henry Redevelopment Responds to Neighborhood Needs

 

AHC Inc. has started the process of redeveloping Fort Henry Gardens, an aging garden-style apartment community with 82 two- and three-bedroom apartments in Arlington, VA. The current Fort Henry Gardens was built in the 1960s and is in need of an update. 

The proposed plan includes 26 three-bedroom apartments and 149 two-bedroom units for families and 120 one-bedroom apartments and 5 studios to serve individuals and couples. Altogether, the new Fort Henry Gardens could add an additional 200 new affordable apartments in response to the pressing need for more affordable living options in the County.

“We’re excited about redeveloping Fort Henry Gardens because it’s an aging property and this is an opportunity to provide new, energy efficient homes to hardworking families and individuals who need affordable, quality places to live in Arlington,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO.  “The redevelopment is also giving us the opportunity to provide homes to a wider variety of individuals, including more one bedroom apartments for seniors, which the community mentioned as a real need.”

After input from the community, AHC has added a number of features designed to benefit to neighborhood and our residents. Some of the ways AHC responded to community requests include:

  • Designating the proposed 48-unit building on Lincoln St. to be a senior building after we learned from community members of this need and long-time desire.
  • Almost doubling the size of our on-site community center in response to the need expressed from our AHC Green Valley residents. We currently have a robust Resident Services program at Fort Henry in a fairly small community center. The new space will give our students more room for indoor learning activities and also provide an opportunity to explore additional ways to build community.
  • Committing a healthy portion of our site to outdoor gathering and recreational uses in response to this request from the Civic Association.
  • Designing for solar panels in response to the County’s desire for renewable energy.

Other project highlights include:

  • Improved accessibility – apartments will be fully accessible with elevators, ADA bathrooms, and designed to meet universal design standards.
  • New fitness center.
  • Two playgrounds
  • Energy efficient appliances.

Another goal for the property is to create an inviting mix of outdoor spaces that will encourage a cohesive sense of community. Some areas will be small and intimate, while others will allow for larger gatherings. Additionally, there will be three areas on the site that are open lawns bordered by tall shade trees. Two will include play equipment for children of pre-school to elementary school age. These play areas are meant to complement the existing recreational field at Drew Elementary School.

AHC submitted the initial site plan application to the planning and zoning department in May 2020. In August, we received comments and made adjustments. The next step is the Site Plan Review Process, which we anticipate will last through this Fall. The County Board could provide zoning approval by January 2021. If all goes forward, we could begin construction in Spring 2022. Full occupancy could occur in Spring 2024.

We will continue to meet with the Green Valley Civic Association and other neighbors throughout the process. Our last meeting with our residents was virtual, unfortunately, but we offered two sessions – one in English and one in Spanish. We also provided Amharic translation for anyone who requested it.

 

Safety Net Nonprofits Provide School Supplies to Students In Need

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Safety Net Nonprofits Provide School Supplies to Students In Need

(Arlington, VA – August 2, 2020) – AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, is proud to announce our participation in the “Buy a Neighbor School Supplies” program, a new community partnership to provide school supplies and resources to students in need in Arlington, VA.

“AHC is delighted to partner with our fellow Arlington safety net nonprofits to help our residents start school with the supplies they need to succeed,” said Susan Davidson, AHC’s Resident Services Director. “Our Resident Services program has a long history of  providing our students with back-to-school supplies. This year, as families struggle even more due to financial strains and complications of virtual learning caused by the pandemic, we are grateful to work with the community to address this immense challenge together.”

The collaborative initiative includes Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN); Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH); AHC Inc.; Bonder & Amanda Johnson Community Development Corp; Bridges to Independence; Edu-Futuro; OAR of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church; and Volunteer Arlington.

Neighbors can support children and families for as little as $10. All donations will be combined to provide gift cards, allowing families to purchase their own school supplies, health and safety supplies, and any additional resources they need for at-home or distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year.

Community members can donate on the Volunteer Arlington website until August 23.

For more information and to donate, visit the Volunteer Arlington website at https://bit.ly/buyaneighborschoolsupplies

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About AHC

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides qualtiy homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,500 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 and social service programs and activities. For more information, visit www.ahcinc.org 

Media Contact

Celia Slater, AHC Inc.
571-228-5948
celia.slater@ahcinc.org

 

AHC Waives Evictions and Late Fees Through 2020

Rental Relief Program Update for AHC Residents

Dear AHC Residents,

I hope you and your loved ones are well.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we at AHC Management understand that many residents are experiencing difficult financial situations. To help, we are extending our current rental relief programs in order to provide you with more flexibility on rental payments for the rest of 2020.

For all residents who are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, AHC Management has suspended all late fees and evictions until December 31, 2020. In addition, AHC Management will make sure that there will be NO RENT INCREASES for all residents through January 1, 2021.

 Our top priority is to help you and your family stay in your home during this challenging time. This is why we have been working with many local agencies to provide additional resources for all AHC residents to help reduce the risk of eviction for anyone living in our communities.

Here’s how we can help:

  • Contact us: Our Resident Services team has been working hard to provide our residents with emergency assistance. Please contact our director, Susan Davidson, at susan.davidson@ahcinc.org  or 703-486-0626 x 1112 for more information on how we can help you.
  • Payment Plan: We have created special payment plans to help spread out payments on rent balances for up to a year. If you have an outstanding balance on your rent and would like to use an extended payment plan, please contact the management office for more information.

We hope these measures and resources will help you and your family during this difficult time. However, it is important to note that we cannot waive or forgive your rent balance, so we encourage you to continue paying your rent on time as much as possible.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 703-271-8400 or email ahcm@ahcmgmt.com.

As we navigate this unprecedented situation, we remain committed to YOU – our residents. AHC Management is more than a company – we are a family, and we care about the wellbeing of our community.

Stay safe and healthy,

Michael Werner
Senior Vice President, AHC Management, LLC