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.