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93 New Affordable Apartments Open in Alexandria

Development Also Includes Preschool and Market-Rate Townhomes

(April 16, 2018 – Arlington, VA) Local lawmakers, partners, community supporters and residents joined AHC Inc. to cut the ribbon on St. James Plaza, which delivers 93 new affordable apartments to the City of Alexandria’s Beauregard neighborhood.

Working together, nonprofit developer AHC Inc. and the City of Alexandria successfully transformed three acres previously owned by St. James United Methodist Church into a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income community with an onsite pre-school operated by The Campagna Center. Families began moving into St. James Plaza in mid-March.

With affordable housing increasingly difficult to find in Northern Virginia, the St. James Plaza waiting list topped 2,600 people by the beginning of March. According to information published by the City of Alexandria’s Office of Housing, the number of market-affordable rental units in the City of Alexandria has declined 90% between 2000 and 2017.

To help subsidize the cost of the land for the affordable apartment building, AHC Inc. sold half of the site to Craftmark, a McLean-based homebuilding company. Craftmark is building 31 two- and three-bedroom market-rate townhomes adjacent to AHC’s apartment building.

“Finding developable land and putting together the financing to create quality affordable housing is a complex challenge,” said AHC Inc. Board Vice-Chair John V. Snyder. “This project is a living example of how local government, a nonprofit and a market-rate developer can work together to create a welcoming community with a variety of housing opportunities.”

The City of Alexandria approved a $5.7 million development loan to partially fund construction of the affordable building. AHC Inc. also received $19 million in competitive 9% Low-income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) equity through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) competitive process.

“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 the City’s commitment to remaining inclusive and diverse by successfully creating mixed-income communities.”

The new development also includes an Early Learning Center, operated by The Campagna Center, with capacity to serve 50 children ages three to five across three classrooms.  The Campagna Center has offered quality educational programming and services in Alexandria for over 50 years. The Early Learning Center will open in September.

“The Campagna Center is excited to launch a new preschool in the Beauregard neighborhood–the second we have placed in an AHC Inc. community — and is eager to build connections with neighbors, local employers, and the nearby community college,” said President and CEO Tammy L. Mann. “Our ability to co-locate a quality preschool within a vibrant, diverse residential community helps families access vital early learning opportunities and extends our impact throughout Alexandria.”

St. James Plaza will include a mix of efficiencies and one- two- and three-bedroom apartments for households with incomes between 40% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A family of four, for instance, qualifies with a maximum household income between $46,880 (40% AMI) and $70,320 (60% AMI). The rent for a two-bedroom apartment will range from $920 (40% AMI) to $1,447 (60% AMI).

The property will also include underground parking, a fitness center, and a community room for residents. The building will meet the highest EarthCraft environmental certification.

In addition to the City of Alexandria, development partners include Capital One Bank, Hudson Housing Capital, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), NeighborWorks and NeighborWorks Capital. Designed by Cunningham-Quill Architects, the five-story building was constructed by Harkins Builders.

St. James Plaza is AHC’s second development in Alexandria. Jackson Crossing, with 78 affordable apartments, opened in 2016 on Route 1 near Potomac Yard.

A third project, in partnership with the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, is on the drawing board. The Alexandria City Council approved the 113-unit project and a loan of up to $9 million in January 2018.  The project is subject to AHC receiving low-income housing tax credits later this year through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).

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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, Maryland and Washington, DC. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.

Photo: Residents, partners, housing officials and local lawmakers, including City of Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg, helped cut the ribbon at the grand opening of St. James Plaza. Photo credit: Nick Crettier Photography

 

NeighborWorks America Helps Build Housing, Resident Services and Organizational Success

 NeighborWorks America (NW) was founded 40 years ago as a grassroots approach to creating better, more affordable homes in places that need them most. Since its Congressional chartering in 1978, the organization has expanded from working with 50 nonprofit organizations to nearly 250 nationwide.

AHC Inc. is proud to have been a NeighborWorks partner since 2001. Since then, we have received $13 million in assistance, which we have leveraged with public and private investment to develop more than 5,000 affordable and workforce housing units.

“Neighborworks America’s steadfast support to AHC Inc. over the last 18 years has significantly impacted AHC’s ability to expand our efforts in creating affordable housing and positively impacting the lives of our residents,” said Stephen Smith, AHC Inc. Executive Vice President. “NW assists AHC to strengthen communities, promote innovation, raise low cost capital and enhance our organization’s sustainability.”

Over the years, NeighborWorks has also significantly helped its nonprofit partners develop programs for residents, including financial coaching, job readiness and placement, healthy housing and access to educational opportunities.

NeighborWorks has supported a variety of AHC’s initiatives to help residents build stronger lives. Currently, NeighborWorks is working with AHC to develop an expanded Financial Capability program to help our residents build assets and start saving so they have more financial stability and are not living paycheck to paycheck. AHC started building a Financial Capability program in Baltimore eight years ago, and the initiative has already significantly improved hundreds of lives. Based on that success and, thanks to NeighborWorks support, AHC is working to replicate those efforts in Arlington.

Along with housing and services for residents, NW also helps its partners build strong and sustainable organizations.  “NW programs promote the professional growth and development of AHC staff and provide critical ongoing technical assistance to AHC – key ingredients to AHC’s organizational success,” said Smith.

Recently, AHC participated in a Peer Exchange with Common Bond Communities (St. Paul, MN) and Eden Housing (Hayward, CA) thanks to NeighborWorks support. Bringing organizations together from different parts of the country provides a valuable opportunity to share strategies and develop constructive ideas.

Photo: Leaders from Common Bond Communities and Eden Housing joined AHC Inc. to exchange ideas during a recent NeighborWorks Peer Exchange.

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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.

 

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.