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New affordable housing development on Richmond Highway opens today

(Updated 10:30 a.m.) A ribbon will be cut today (Wednesday) on a new, affordable housing development in Hybla Valley.

The Residences at North Hill will get a ceremonial grand opening at 10 a.m. at 7250 Nightingale Hill Lane, hosted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Expected speakers include Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay.

A family and senior housing development with mixed-income levels, the Residences at North Hill consist of 279 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across five four-story buildings, according to Pennrose, which developed the project with the nonprofit Community Housing Partners Corporation.

The development includes one building of 63 apartments reserved for people aged 55 and older.

The apartments are priced at 30% to 60% of the area median income, which is “roughly $29,900 to $59,820 for a one-person household,” a media release from the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs says.

Under construction since 2020, the project furthers the county’s goal set in 2022 to create 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034.

It demonstrates the county’s usage of “creative strategies” to ensure affordable housing “despite the current economic realities of high land prices, inflation, and other barriers to entry,” Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Direct Tom Fleetwood said by email.

“I believe housing for all is important to our vibrant, diverse and engaged community,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck told FFXnow by email. “Affordable, senior and market-rate homes are all important elements to ensure that everyone who wants to live in the Mount Vernon District can do so, one of my main goals with the redevelopment of the Richmond Highway Corridor.”

Spanning roughly 33 acres off of Richmond Highway (Route 1), the project is part of the Woodley-Nightingale Redevelopment area, now known as North Hill. The FCHRA first acquired 48 acres of the area in 1981, putting it at odds with residents of an existing mobile home park.

Part of the land was redeveloped as the Woodley Hills Estates mobile home community on Dart Drive, according to the county.

“The remaining 33 acres are now the vibrant, new mixed-income, mixed-tenure type intergenerational community the Richmond Highway needs and deserves,” Fleetwood wrote.

In addition to the 279 affordable apartments, the North Hill community includes 175 market-rate townhouses along Dart Drive, a 12-acre public park, playground and a recreational plaza.

The park, set to open later this summer, will offer parking, trails, an open lawn, basketball court, pickleball courts, picnic pavilion and fitness area. The public plaza, located at the corner of Richmond Highway and Dart Drive, features benches, a lawn, fitness equipment, ping pong and chess tables and a potential bus rapid transit station stop.

The proposed stop will be part of The One, the planned public bus system on Richmond Highway that aims to outpace traditional bus services with dedicated lanes and projects. The BRT is expected to be operational in 2030.

The county’s Embark Richmond Highway Comprehensive Plan “encourages future residential and commercial development around the proposed BRT stations so that residents and workers can walk to transit and other daily needs in a mixed use environment,” according to Fleetwood.

“The Bus Rapid Transit system is the catalyst for the revitalization of the Richmond Highway Corridor, from 70’s era development sprawl to a 21st century, modern, higher-density, transit focused, walkable, livable community,” Storck wrote.

On its project website, developer Pennrose notes that North Hill also provides residents easy access to public services, with banks, pharmacies, health care services and grocery stores located within half a mile of the site.

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