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 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.

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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 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

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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 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.

 

Walter D. Webdale Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

December 19, 2017 – Canisius College has named Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO, a Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor bestowed upon those who differentiate themselves as leaders in their chosen professions.

“It’s one of the special privileges as president to know of the amazing personal and professional accomplishments of our alumni,” said Canisius President, John J. Hurley. “Known as a pioneer in the field of urban renewal, Walter D. Webdale has been in the affordable housing industry for more than 50 years. Under Webdale’s tutelage, AHC more than tripled its multifamily housing portfolio, and its award-winning resident services program expanded to reach 3,000 children, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs.”

Canisius College, founded in 1870 by German Jesuits, is located in Buffalo, NY and promotes the Jesuit principles of excellence, service and leadership.

“For more than 50 years, my life’s work has been to provide a roof overhead to those who need it most,” said Webdale upon accepting the award. “Developing quality affordable housing along with services to help families build successful futures for themselves and their children is my passion and my vocation. I credit Canisius College with inspiring my compassion for others who need a helping hand; for building my leadership skills; and for instilling my love for learning, which has helped me keep pace with our evolving world.”

Link to full College Citation

Photo: Canisius College President, John J. Hurley (left), congratulates Walter D. Webdale, AHC Inc. President and CEO, on receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Montante Cultural Center, a completely renovated and refurbished concert hall that was one of the college’s original churches.

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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 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.

Three Ways You Can Help Advocate for Affordable Housing

Justin-Oliver

By Justin Oliver, Chair, AHC Board of Directors

The process of developing and preserving affordable housing is increasingly challenging. Here are a couple of ways you can help and stay involved.

First, on a national level, urge Congress to continue to support legislation that encourages affordable housing development. Two critical tools are Low-income Housing Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits. Both are proven strategies that help bridge the funding gap and make many of our developments possible.

Second, support local initiatives. For instance, two years ago Arlington passed a much-praised Affordable Housing Master Plan. Its goals include 600 new affordable apartments each year. To date, despite the County’s support, our community has only managed to preserve or build about half that number. Working with the County – and you – we hope to develop more strategies to create more affordable homes for our neighbors.

Third, engage your friends, family, and colleagues in conversation about affordable housing and how it benefits the entire community.   Like most, I support affordable housing through the lens of philanthropy and volunteerism, but you can also support affordable housing for broader economic reasons.

This is what I think of as the business case for affordable housing.  As a business owner, I long ago recognized the need and importance of affordable housing to maintain a diverse and competitive workforce.   Affordable housing provides critical entry points (and re-entry points) for new workers, families, retirees, and others to obtain housing in the communities in which they work at various points in their lives.

Companies large and small depend on this workforce to grow and maintain their business.   The businesses provide the jobs that fuel the economy and support our schools and other services.  In order to retain and attract great companies you need a high quality of life for their workforce.  This includes housing affordability, quality of the schools, access to healthcare and public transportation.

Affordable housing is a critical building block not only for the stability and success of the families we serve, but also for the long-term economic health and prosperity of the community in which we live. I hope you will join me me in making the case for affordable housing to our national representatives, local leaders, and friends and neighbors.