Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Argent Opens Subsidized Apartments in Silver Spring

The Argent, downtown Silver Spring's only all-affordable apartment building, opens its doors tomorrow. Built in 2009 by Washington DC-based Perseus Realty LLC as "luxury" condos (outward appearances notwithstanding) the condo project languished with few sales (actually none) and financing gone south, sitting vacant for more than a year until sold earlier this year to Utah based Pallas Properties and Paradigm Financial Consulting for $24.8m.

Pallas snapped up the 96-unit property earlier this summer for $258,000 per unit, with the assistance of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits in a plan that keeps 90% of the units set aside for tenants with less than 60% of the Average Median Income (up to $43,000) and 10% of the apartments at less than 50% AMI. The Argent offers underground parking and, in a rare twist for a multi-family building, stainless steel appliances, ceramic floor tiles, and granite countertops. The deal keeps the units income restricted for 30 years. Montgomery County contributed $5m through the Housing Initiative Fund.

But the addition of an entirely low-income building took neighbors by surprise, reports SouthSilverSpring blog, and not in a good way. Subsidized apartments are rife throughout Silver Spring - the Portico has 23 of 151 units bankrolled by taxpayers, Falkland Chase Townhouses (58 of 70), Alexander House (123 of 310), Silver Spring House (32 of 77), 1200 East West (32 of 245), Gramax Towers (153 of 180), the Veridian (58 of 457), and as DCMud reported just yesterday, the Galaxy is now under construction next door with 82 of 195 units dedicated to low-income tenants. Occupancy of the Argent, located at 1200 Blair Mill Rd., will begin in October. The ceremony will take place tomorrow at 9:30am.

Update Sept 16: At the ceremony, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett released a statement that said “One of my top priorities is increasing the amount of affordable housing in Montgomery County...These units will provide much-needed safe and affordable housing to 96 individuals and families and give yet another boost to South Silver Spring.”

Silver Spring real estate development news


SMART Growth said...

Where is the plan to address the increased crime, influx of underperforming children into the local school system, and job creation/improvement services that are needed to support the abbundance of low inclome developments in the area? Addressing the need for low income housing is a full circle approach and by just providing shelter - the whole system will fail.

Eric said...

The MoCo school system is adept at handling children in households that do not have as much income as average. This does not mean that these households are poor by any means. Remember that even 40% of the median household income in the County is about $40,000, which is actually a lot of money. Crime is not bred by lower income housing. Crime is bred when lower income housing is centralized into one space, such as was the case during the urban renewal era of the 60s and 70s. A mixed income neighborhood will not be a hotbed of crime, unemployment (you need to be employed to even take advantage of MPDUs--moderately priced dwelling units), or welfare needs. SO RELAX AND STOP SPREADING FEAR AND PASSIVE HATE!

Terry in Silver Spring on Sep 16, 2010, 8:23:00 AM said...

I wonder if a comparison to some of the Bethesda apartment complexes is available.

Theoretically, there's this concept in the county to spread low income apartments across many complexes so that nasty old 70's style "projects" aren't created and the quality of life for everyone (including the people in the subsidized apartments) is maintained. It seems, though, that some management companies are happy to pay any annual fines for not having a certain number of subsidized units while other management companies are happy to fill up buildings with mostly subsidized units. Sort of defeats the original idea.

K Burditt said...

Affordable Housing is just that, housing that can be afforded by blue and white collar workers, civil servants, service industry workers and even, gasp!, young architects. The greatest part of Silver Spring is it has always been and still is an affordable community. Don't forget that the Argent started as a luxury condo but there weren't enough people who could "afford" to live there. So really, what does 'affordable' mean in MoCo, not a millionaire? I'll take an 'affordable' neighbor over a millionaire neighbor any time.

Anonymous said...

How can you categorize these students as "underperforming" and blame them for an increase of crime based solely on their families income! Perhaps you should speak to the "Whitman 5", the group of five male "well-to-do" high school students who robbed a Smoothie King in Bethesda at gunpoint a few years ago. Montgomery County decided to expel those students from Whitman (the rich area of Bethesda) and ship them off to high schools like Richard Montgomery and Wheaton. You may also refer to the Churchill HS (in Potomac) students who routinely get in trouble (computer hacking/ changing grades, earning points in their "club" for how many girls they can sleep with, parents renting party buses to schlep the kids around on weekends to underage parties) and have racial tensions towards the minority students who are well-behaved and attend school with their focus on learning.

Clearly you are a recent transplant to SS. Anyone who lived there before the Discovery Bldg would not make such a statement. Perhaps you should have bought property in the Whitman or Chuchhill neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Mayhood sold not one single unit there??? During the time they were open quite a few other units sold in nearby buildings that were worn and dated. Nice job, Mayhood.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% By the way, most of the housing referenced is moderately priced dwelling units, not "low-income" I am a college graduate that was fortunate enough to get a decent job after school, and yet I qualify for the program. It's a shame to see that so many of my Silver Spring neighbors are quick to reference stereotypes when talking about people like me, who've never committed a crime in their lives, other than not making enough money. Responses like yours gives me hope that not all of the DMV is elitist.

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