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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.

 

Affordable Housing Redevelopment Wins $2M in Competitive Tax Credits and $8M in AHIF Loan Funds from Arlington County

Located on the eastern end of Columbia Pike, Arlington View Terrace is a garden-apartment style community with seven two- and three-story red brick buildings. AHC is working on a redevelopment that will demolish the largest building on the site, which includes 30 apartments, and replace it with a new EarthCraft Certified Gold structure with 77 apartments.

The $38 million project continues to move forward.  In June, Arlington View Terrace East won an allocation of $2.03 million in competitive tax credits from Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), which will generate $19 million in tax credit equity. The Arlington County Board allocated $8.23 million in funding to help redevelop AHC Inc.’s Arlington View Terrace apartment community at 1420 South Rolfe Street. The allocation includes a $7.25 million loan from the County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) and $984,000 of Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) grant funds.

Once completed, the expanded apartment community will provide affordable homes to 124 individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which ranges from $36,400 to $72,780 for a family of four, for 75 years.

“The Arlington View Terrace redevelopment enables AHC to add much-needed affordable living opportunities in a rapidly gentrifying area along Columbia Pike, said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale. “The new building will also help diversify housing options with 15 new three-bedroom apartments, eight fully accessible units and 10% of the new apartments designated for households earning no more than 30% AMI,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale.

AHC is also exploring solar panels and a possible partnership with Connect Arlington to provide free Wi-Fi for residents at the site.

“As Arlington faces an ongoing challenge to provide adequate affordable housing, the Arlington View Terrace project is an innovative approach to not only preserving affordability, but also addressing environmental and equity issues,” said Arlington Board Chair Libby Garvey.  

AHC Inc., a nonprofit developer based in Arlington, VA, builds and preserves affordable and mixed-income housing in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. Since 1975, AHC has developed more than 7,500 apartments in the mid-Atlantic region, including nearly 4,000 in Arlington. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities.

 

2019 – A Year of Building Homes and Community

2019 has been a busy year as AHC continues our mission of developing affordable homes and helping communities thrive. This year, AHC Inc. was recognized as one of the top 50 affordable housing developers in the country by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. As we approach our 45th anniversary, AHC provides more than 7,500 affordable apartments at 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and DC.

AHC’s Resident Services programs and community partnerships also continue to grow to better meet the needs of the children, families and seniors we serve. We currently reach more than 3,000 residents each year.

AHC’s 2019 accomplishments include:

Building and Preserving Homes

  • Topped off The Apex that will welcome 256 families in Arlington in 2020.
  • Broke ground on The Spire, 113 new homes in 2021, with our partner Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria.
  • Celebrated the renovation of two older garden-style apartment communities – Colonial Village West in Arlington and Lafayette Apartments in Fairfax.
  • Started the process to upgrade our oldest property in Baltimore, Greenspring Overlook, which provides homes for 189 families.
  • Continued to work with PN Hoffman, City Partners and Paramount on large-scale Waterfront Station in Southwest DC.
  • Partnered with Housing Authority of Baltimore City and The Michaels Organization to redevelop Poe Homes, a 1940s seven-acre project in Southwest Baltimore.
  • Expanded presence in Montgomery County with acquisition of 48-unit Brookside View. The approximately $6.1 million total development cost was financed completely with private funds.

Building Community

  • Hosted a Faith and Housing Round Table that included HUD Secretary Ben Carson, other nonprofit developers and the City of Alexandria.
  • Selected to participate in Amazon’s Employee Match Campaign, which allocates up to $5 million to 20 housing and homelessness nonprofits in DC and Seattle.
  • Created a safety initiative in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, which includes community partners and volunteers living in AHC’s affordable apartment communities.
  • Returned $4.9 million to Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). The AHIF loan fund is an invaluable tool for affordable housing development.
  • Offered our annual Women’s Empowerment Conference that inspired Baltimore residents to connect and overcome obstacles.

Housing + Education = Success

  • Initiated Career Fairs for middle and high school students with a wide range of professionals. Several students have already turned the opportunity into internships and job shadowing.
  • Celebrated 15 volunteers who have worked with our students for five years!
  • Honored three Community Builder volunteers who generously volunteered their time with AHC students and helped expand our programs’ reach.
  • Graduated 24 high school students who were all the first in their family to attend college. Together, the group earned more than $600,000 in scholarships and grants.
  • Persisted in college at above average rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 84% of AHC students stick with college and graduate. This compares to 56% of first-generation students and 74% of students with college-educated parents!
  • Helped stabilize 231 families through eviction prevention services.
  • Distributed 1,000 backpacks to youth living at AHC properties in Arlington.

Awards and Achievements

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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 7,500 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 programs and activities.

 

 

AHC Preserves 48-Unit Apartment Community in Montgomery County

(November, 2019 – Arlington, VA) AHC has acquired Brookside View, a 48-unit apartment community four miles east of downtown Gaithersburg in Montgomery County.

The approximately $6.1 million total development cost was financed completely with private funds, including AHC’s own acquisition funds. No public dollars were used to purchase the property. With Brookside View’s rents currently between 50% to 60% of the area median income (AMI), AHC’s purchase will preserve the existing housing affordability and ensure rents will remain stable.

AHC plans to moderately update the 1980s garden-style apartment community. Initial capital improvements will include installing water- and energy-saving appliances and fixtures, replacing aging heating and cooling systems and water heaters, and improving exterior areas of the property.

AHC owns seven properties in Montgomery County that provide nearly 1,300 affordable apartments.

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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.

AHC Inc., Episcopal Church of the Resurrection and City of Alexandria Break Ground on $48M Affordable Apartment Community in Alexandria, VA

(June 18, 2019 – Arlington, VA) Gathered together below the church’s towering steeple, leaders of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, the City of Alexandria and nonprofit developer AHC Inc. broke ground on The Spire, 113 new affordable apartments for low- and moderate-income families in Alexandria’s West Beauregard neighborhood.

“This is a really exciting project that will provide affordable homes for some of our most vulnerable population near a brand new transit system and jobs,” said City of Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “We wouldn’t be standing here today if not for the selfless act of a congregation that looked outside their walls and asked what they could do for the community at large.”

Seven years in the making, The Spire is becoming a reality thanks to ECR’s mission-driven generosity. By a nearly unanimous vote, the congregation voted to make a lasting difference to the community by transforming their two-acre plot of land into a combination of affordable housing and worship space.

“Ours is a church that works together,” said Reverend Jo Belser. “It has really taken the whole community to make this possible. And we are really proud of what we have accomplished together.”

The Spire will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including 12 fully accessible homes, that will serve households with incomes ranging from 30 to 60% AMI. It will also include Universal Design features and achieve EarthCraft Gold certification.

“Thanks to a wonderful partnership – the leadership and commitment of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, the ongoing support of Alexandria’s Mayor and City Council, and the steadfast efforts of the City’s Office of Housing – we are delighted to break ground on homes that will be affordable for hard-working families in need,” said John Welsh, AHC’s Vice President Multifamily Group.

The $48.3 million affordable apartment development successfully competed for a variety of local, state and national funds, including $23 million in tax credit equity from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), a $9.9 million loan from the City of Alexandria, a $1.3 million loan from Virginia/National Housing Trust Funds, and a $500,000 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

Other sources include a $11.5 first trust loan from Capital One and Freddie Mac and $500,000 from NeighborWorks America. The City of Alexandria also provided a rental assistance grant of $350,000 to make 12 apartments deeply affordable.

The Spire, designed by Cunningham-Quill and constructed by Harkins Builders, will welcome families in 2021.

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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.