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AHC Inc. Partners with Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to Preserve 292 Affordable Homes

Summary: Landings I and Landings II cover approximately 16 acres of land and feature 292 apartments for residents to choose from, with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options. Capital repairs will take place at the two properties in the next year, while a more extensive renovation will occur over the course of the next decade.

 Arlington, Va. —March 2, 2021 — More affordable homes are coming to the Alexandria and Fort Belvoir area, thanks to affordable housing developer AHC Inc., which today announced the acquisition of two prime properties. The acquisition was made in partnership with Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to fulfill their goal of providing safe, affordable homes for the residents of Fairfax County.

This acquisition ensures the preservation of 292 apartments as affordable homes. The properties will provide homes for residents earning between 50% and 80% of the Area Median Income or between $63,000 and $79,600 for a family of four. Affordability will be implemented in a phased approach upon turnover.

“Fairfax County is committed to ensuring no net loss of affordability. To accomplish this preservation goal, partnerships with the development community and financial institutions are essential,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Director Tom Fleetwood. “We are very excited that AHC and Virginia Housing have taken the first steps toward helping us meet that goal by preserving existing market affordable units along the opportunity-rich Richmond Highway Corridor.”

One of the properties, currently known as Haven Mount Vernon, is located at 5401 Claymont Drive in Alexandria, while the other, known as Haven Fort Belvoir, is located at 9190 Richmond Highway in Fort Belvoir. Both properties will be renamed as Landings I and Landings II, respectively.

The two communities will undergo moderate improvements, including repairs to the siding and sidewalks, in addition to partial replacements of the HVAC systems and hot water heaters. Easier access to the leasing center, as well as new roofing will be implemented at Landings I, while window repairs will be made at Landings II. Additional renovations will take place at both buildings over the span of the next 10 years.

“Preservation is an important aspect of Virginia Housing’s mission, and AHC is to be commended for preserving some of Fairfax County’s much-needed affordable housing stock along the Route 1 corridor,” said Virginia Housing CEO Susan Dewey. “Virginia Housing remains focused on working with our partners to increase the amount of quality affordable housing available to our citizens, especially in Northern Virginia. Together with AHC, Fairfax County and our other partners, we are making great progress toward our goal.”

Occupying nearly 12 acres of land, Landings I will offer 216 apartments with 168 two-bedrooms and 48 one-bedrooms. Landings II is situated on approximately four acres and will feature 76 residences with 12 studios, 42 one-bedroom apartments, and 22 with two-bedrooms.

Both communities will offer a number of amenities to their residents. Landings I will include a business center, fitness room, clubhouse, pool, children’s playground and picnic area, while Landings II will have an on-site dog park, playground and fitness center.

“I am committed to preserving and adding affordable and work force housing in the Richmond Highway corridor along with our many other new developments,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel Storck. This new acquisition is a major step to not just preserving, but improving and enhancing the affordable housing stock we already have in the District for our residents.”

AHC Inc. financed the properties with loans from both Virginia Housing and Fairfax County, as well as an AHC Loan. Project financing also included Virginia Housing (VHDA) REACH, including funding specifically for affordable housing near Amazon’s new headquarters.

“We are excited to partner with both Virginia Housing and Fairfax County to help address the ongoing affordable housing crisis in our state,” said AHC Inc. VP of Multifamily Development, John Welsh. “Currently, there are many hard-working families who work in Alexandria and Fort Belvoir but do not live here because of the lack of housing affordable to them. Landings I and II will offer much-needed affordable and moderately priced homes, located near employment centers and convenient transportation options.  Landings I & II will connect nicely with Fairfax County’s Embark Richmond Highway.”

With the new acquisition, AHC Inc. has preserved or produced more than 1,100 quality homes for low- and moderate-income Fairfax County residents.

AHC Inc. is also welcoming 113 families later this month to a brand new affordable housing community in Fairfax County called The Spire, which is already accepting applications.

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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 8,000 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 the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA)
The FCRHA serves more than 18,000 residents through a variety of rental housing assistance and First-Time Homebuyer programs; and owns and operates nearly 4,000 units of housing – including multifamily housing, senior housing, licensed assisted living and specialized housing for tenants with a variety of needs. The FCRHA also oversees and administers Fairfax County’s land use housing programs and the investment of local funds as well as state and federal grants to increase and/or preserve the county’s stock of affordable homes. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing

About Virginia Housing
When homes are affordable and accessible to jobs, good schools and transportation, everyone benefits. Individual lives are improved and communities as a whole grow stronger. Virginia Housing was created in 1972 by the General Assembly to help Virginians attain quality, affordable housing. We carry out this mission by working in public-private partnerships with local governments, community service organizations, lenders, Realtors, developers and many others. We provide mortgages for first-time homebuyers, as well as financing for apartment communities and neighborhood revitalization efforts. We offer free homebuyer classes, support housing counseling, and help people with disabilities and the elderly make their homes more livable. We also administer the federal Housing Choice Voucher and Housing Credit programs in Virginia. Virginia Housing is self-supporting and receives no state taxpayer dollars to fund our programs. Instead, we raise money in the capital markets, and we contribute a significant portion of our net revenues each year to help meet Virginia’s most difficult housing needs. www.virginiahousing.com

AHC Greater Baltimore 2020 Development Highlights

Established in 2014, AHC Greater Baltimore has developed eight properties with more than 1,600 affordable apartments in the Baltimore region. The organization, a subsidiary of Arlington, VA-based AHC Inc., continues to expand its portfolio. Following are our 2020 development highlights. 

Greenspring Overlook Renovation

We’re giving our first property, Greenspring Overlook, a refresh! Purchased in 2001, the garden-style complex features 189 units and accepts Housing Choice Vouchers. The extensive renovations feature upgrades to all units and common spaces, including: replacing the plumbing and HVAC, updating lighting and fixtures to save energy, installing new kitchen cabinets and countertops, enhancing the security system, altering the sidewalk to improve accessibility, and building a new tot lot/additional recreation space.

We’re phasing construction so we can relocate residents for all in-unit work, with the goal of keeping most residents on site. COVID-19 has presented additional challenges to the construction process, but we have put new precautions and protocols in place to protect the safety of the residents and the construction workers.

MonteVerde Rowe

In 2008, AHC-GB purchased and renovated MonteVerde – a complex with 301 affordable apartments for seniors and people with disabilities. After investing in MonteVerde, we realized the nearby 2600 block of Violet Avenue, which used to include mostly vacant and abandoned homes, was also in need of renovation. We purchased 2/3 of the homes on this block and redeveloped them with first-time homebuyers in mind. Dubbed MonteVerde Rowe, the project has transformed the 2600 block of Violet Avenue. Renovations provided updated kitchens and baths, new windows, Energy Star appliances, and features that celebrated the history of the rowhomes like hardwood floors and exposed brick.

In December 2020, the final renovated home on MonteVerde Rowe went under contract, bringing years of hard work and effort to fruition!

Poe Homes CHOICE Neighborhoods Transformation Plan

AHC-GB is excited to be working with our partner, Michaels Development, to create a plan for the transformation of Poe Homes, one of the oldest public housing developments in Baltimore. AHC-GB submitted the final transformation plan for the development to HUD in September. The final plan proposes approximately 600 new units at Poe Homes and in the surrounding neighborhood to replace the existing public housing as well as add new housing to create a mixed-income redevelopment. 

O’Donnell Heights Community Revitalization

Since September 2019, AHC-GB has participated in the community process led by Baltimore City Department of Planning and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to develop a neighborhood revitalization plan for various communities, including O’Donnell Heights. The community revitalization plan was approved in June 2020 following a process that included AHC-GB, Michaels Development, local neighborhood associations, O’Donnell Heights Tenant Council, local schools, and businesses.  

Photo: AHC Greater Baltimore Development Manager Darron Cooper works with residents to revitalize Poe Homes public housing into a mixed-income development with approximately 600 new affordable homes. 

 

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

 

Thank you to all who joined us for AHC’s Annual Meeting. Although we would have preferred to be with you in person, we were delighted to connect with so many colleagues, supporters, partners and volunteers – both familiar and new.

With stable and affordable housing even more important in today’s challenging times, we are truly grateful for your support.

Together we can continue to provide more housing and hope to needy families and individuals throughout our region.

In case you missed the meeting or would like to revisit some of the information, here are links to the individual sections:

  • COVID-19 and housing. A lively discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on local housing trends with NPR’s Ally Schweitzer and AHC Board member Wanda Pierce (19:43 mins)

  • Inside peak at The Apex. Get a look at The Apex, AHC’s newest affordable apartment community, along with updates on AHC’s recent and upcoming developments (5:07 mins)

  • Resident Services during COVID-19. A look at how our Resident Services team is working nonstop to help our residents stay housed and stable (3:41 mins)

  • Volunteers are our “Secret Sauce.” A look at some amazing volunteers (including our residents) who are generously donating their time and energy to help others through the pandemic (3:37 mins)

  • “Flip the Switch.” Watch us “Flip the Switch” on our first solar installation. The partnership with Arlington County is the largest solar array on a multifamily residence in Northern Virginia. (1:47 mins)

  • Complete meeting. Watch the whole meeting – complete with trivia questions and more information on AHC and affordable housing in our community. (46:01 mins)

 

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.