By Beth Herman
Loosely translated from the Greek, Macedonian means "tall one." Though the eponymous 36-unit apartment building in Arlington, Va., 2229 Shirlington Road, may be only four stories high, it clearly stands tall among its residential peers as the first new construction multifamily affordable housing development in the city to achieve EarthCraft certification. EarthCraft is the standard by which the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) evaluates energy efficiency.
“The county had undertaken a big redevelopment process for this community, developing a new planning tool called the Nauck Village Center Action Plan (in 2004),” said John Welsh, AHC director of its multifamily division. Constructing the nearby 94-unit Shelton in 2007, winner of two AIA/DC awards and one Arlington County Design Award, Welsh and colleagues soon entered into a dialogue with the church about the church-owned parcel that would eventually become the Macedonian.Offering development expertise and acquiring funding in the form of $3.9 million in VHDA tax-exempt bonds, $2.7 million in tax credit equity, $550,000 in deferred development fees, a county cash flow note of nearly $3.5 million, and TCAP funding of about $2.4 million, AHC teamed with Bonstra Haresign Architects and Bozzuto Construction to create a multi-use structure that also designates 2,000 s.f. of commercial space for shops and the church-affiliated CDC, and acts as an incubator for several area start-up businesses.
According to Thomas Wallinga, AHC construction manager and former architect with Bonstra Haresign, while energy efficient lighting and appliances were standard on the path to EarthCraft certification, additional unit sealing to prevent energy leakage was high on the construction agenda, as were low-emissivity double-pane windows and low-flow fixtures.
A floor for more
“We wanted something that looks better and is more durable in terms of tenant changeovers,” Wallinga said, citing the use of Amtico flooring. A vinyl product that is “heavy duty” but aesthetically imitates fine wood, the 4x36-ft. strips resemble a warm cherry floor, the results achieved by photographing wood and transferring to the vinyl printing process for a plank look. While bedrooms are carpeted, kitchens, living rooms and hallways utilize Amtico, with any damage easily rectified and expense mitigated by replacing just a single strip, when necessary.
“The building is also smoke-free—you can’t even smoke on the balconies” which is what the church wanted in its pursuit of a healthier environment, Welsh explained. “And by cutting the use of carpeting by 50 or 70 percent, we’re cutting down on allergens for a better breathing environment, not to mention decreasing maintenance costs and landfill impact by having to rip it out when someone moves out.
Five designated ADA units have requisite roll-under kitchen and bathroom cabinets and roll-in showers, with audio-visual adaptation if a tenant is hearing or visually-impaired, but all other units are partially adaptable if necessary. Noting 529 people had made inquiry about the building, Welsh said 64 applications had been received to date and about a dozen residents have moved in.
photographs courtesy of Anice Hoachlander and Thomas Wallinga