Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Affordable Housing Championed in Northern Virginia

The Arlington County Board approved a new measure last month that aims to increase the amount of affordable housing available within the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, while protecting those already in existence. On September 13, the Board summarily approved the Fort Myer Heights North Plan, which complains that "as the core areas of Rosslyn and Courthouse continue to build out, redevelopment pressure in this area has increased dramatically. The fabric of this neighborhood is being eroded by luxury, by-right development that meets neither the goals of the community nor the County." Since 2004, the area has lost nearly 200 affordable units - nearly a quarter of those available - to redevelopment. As a remedy, the plan lists construction of affordable units and the preservation of existing units as its primary goals.

While the tear down and rebuild process usually results in the loss of affordable housing, the County is looking to make that an unattractive prospect for developers. According to the report, developers seeking to start new projects in historically protected segments of Fort Myer Heights will no longer be offered financial incentives. Instead, the plan encourages developers “to work closely with [County] staff to determine a suitable total affordable housing package” in non-historic areas.

The new declaration of policy means development proposals to wipe out affordable housing will be met with resistance by the county and, in the event that deal is made, that all residents of affordable housing be relocated to new units with the same price tag. Any new designs for non-historically protected buildings must offer at least 10% of its units as affordable.

The implementation of the Fort Meyer Heights North Plan marks the third such maneuver underway in the greater Arlington area. Last month, the Board approved the JBG Companies’ revised site plan for their Jordan Manor project in Ballston. The crux of the revisions is an almost four-fold expansion of the number of affordable housing units –from 24 to 90. And in neighboring Alexandria, the IDI Group Companies' (best known for their Leisure World developments in Maryland and Virginia) are still pursuing their bid to convert the 530-unit Hunting Towers apartment complex (pictured above) into 100% affordable housing, while constructing 4 buildings worth of "luxury" condominiums next door.

Arlington, VA real estate development news


Anonymous said...

Hopefully they'll at least get rid of those seedy, unsightly motels along Rt 50. They're a true eyesore.

Anonymous said...

Wanted to let you know that AHC Inc., an Arlington-based developer of affordable housing, is actually the developer of the Jordan Manor affordable housing project. This 90-unit affordable apartment complex, to be called The Jordan, is one part of a larger redevelopment of the old Bob Peck/Staples site being carried out by JBG.

Ken on Oct 12, 2008, 7:03:00 AM said...

Our apologies for not mentioning AHC. We wrote a story on that project recently:

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