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The Vantage Hill townhouse redevelopment proposed in Reston (via Craftmark Homes)

A project to redevelop a portion of the Vantage Hill condominiums property in Reston with townhouses is barreling to final approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

At a Nov. 16 meeting, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a plan to replace an abandoned swimming pool on the property at 11600 Vantage Hill Road with 28 townhouses.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said the project is critical to help stabilize an existing affordable housing community in Reston.

“It’s a small project with a significant impact on an older neighborhood,” Carter said.

The plan by Craftmark Homes will help the 152-unit condominium building on the property shore up for critical upgrades and maintenance needs. The sale of the property will address a backlog of long-needed upgrades.

In response to concerns from area residents, the developer refined its proffers to preserve more native plans and incorporate electric vehicle charging stations.

Each townhouse unit will have the opportunity to build a charging station and install solar panels, while the condo units will have the potential for five additional charging stations, Carter said.

The developer also tweaked its proffers to provide details for the timing of construction and overall management of the site when construction begins.

The change was made in response to concerns from residents of Mediterranean Villa, a residential community adjacent to the project area.

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Residents at Engleside Mobile Home Park (courtesy Tenants and Workers United)

Residents of a mobile home community off Route 1 held a rally Tuesday (Nov. 15) to voice concerns that new ownership could push out current residents.

At a gathering with representatives of community organizers Tenants and Workers United, residents from Engleside Mobile Home Park and Ray’s Mobile Home Colony shared concerns that a recent purchase of the property could lead to rent hikes and evictions.

Marianela Reynado explained that the Engleside property was sold to $24.2 million to Pacific Current Partners despite efforts by residents and a nonprofit to raise funds to purchase the property and keep it affordable.

The sale was finalized Tuesday, according to TWU. Pacific Current Partners could not be reached for comment.

Residents organized in 2020 to oppose a plan that added density to the site. The building owners at the time said there were no plans to redevelop the lot in the near future. The recent sale, however, has raised doubts about those assurances.

According to TWU, residents were notified this September that the owners at the time, Ahora Company LC and Rapido Company LC, had gotten offer from Pacific Current Partners and intended to sell the mobile home parks just two months later.

“I’ve lived in this community for 14 years,” Saul Hernandez said. “It’s a good space, a place for our children. It’s a safe place, a calm place, and knowing that this is a place where there could be an increase in our rents… it’s a place we don’t want that to happen.”

Larisa Zehr, an attorney from Legal Aid Justice Center, told attendees at the rally that there are only eight mobile home parks in Fairfax County, meaning there are increasingly few places in the area available to mobile homeowners.

“Mobile home parks fill an important gap in available affordable housing,” Zehr said. “They’re relatively affordable without subsidy and an asset, as residents have said today, which is very different than an apartment complex where the rent goes to a landlord and the tenant has nothing.”

Another one of the county’s mobile housing communities, Harmony Place in Hybla Valley, was sold to a developer in December, even though residents offered $1.5 million more to take ownership, according to DCist.

A manufactured housing task force created by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last year delivered a report in September with recommendations for how to preserve the county’s 1,750 “mobile” housing units and ensure they remain affordable.

The county has adopted the term manufactured homes, rather than mobile homes, which it says is misleading.

“Unlike traditional homeownership in which the property and the home is owned by a single entity, manufactured homes are typically owned by the occupant who rents the land from a separate entity,” Fairfax County Housing and Community Development said. “In most cases, the homes are not mobile.”

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The community will be preserved for affordable housing (courtesy Haven Reston)

A 259-unit apartment community built in the late 1980s is getting a new owner and new name as part of multi-million-dollar effort to preserve the complex as an affordable housing project.

As anticipated, developers AHC Inc. and Insight Property Group have acquired the Colvin Woods apartments in an effort to preserve the complex. As part of the change in ownership, the community will be rebranded as Haven Reston.

“Haven is Insight Property Group’s workforce and affordable housing brand. It is normal for them to rebrand with it,” an Insight spokesperson told FFXnow.

The acquisition follows the approval of a $15 million Housing Blueprint loan in early August.

“Partnering with local jurisdictions to address the urgent need for workforce and affordable housing in the DC Metro area has proven to be something that Insight is particularly well suited for,” said Insight Group partner Mae Klinger.

While the community has historically been a market-affordable community, no rent restrictions are currently in place to preserve that affordability. The complex includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, a leasing office, clubhouse and swimming pool.

The new owners will institute a phased approach to ensure that 60% of the units are occupied by residents earning a maximum 60% of the area median income and 40% of the units are occupied by residents earning no more than 80% of the AMI.

“Preserving the affordable housing in this beautiful woodland area, full of nearby amenities, is central to our mission of helping residents thrive,” AHC President and CEO Paul Bernard said.

Through October 2025, current leases with residents who are in good standing will remain unaffected. But by October 2027, all units will be preserved as affordable. After 10 years, the property will be refinanced through low-income housing tax credits — supporting a rehabilitation of the overall property, according to the county.

The new team plans to upgrade the building’s facade, common areas, amenities and landscaped areas. Gates Hudson will continue to manage the property.

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Nearly 500 affordable apartments could come to Dulles Greene Drive (via Google Maps)

Developer Peterson Companies is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build hundreds of affordable apartments near the innovation center Metro station.

The Fairfax-based company would construct 500 units on its own land and a county-owned parcel at 13500 Dulles Greene Drive, according to county documents.

The proposal is through the Site-specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process, which is used to review proposed changes to land use designations for specific sites in the county’s comprehensive plan. The process for applications — known as nominations — is currently underway.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting last week, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust pushed a board matter that confirm the board’s consent for the application — which is a required part of the SSPA process since the proposal involves land owned by the county.

The board will formally vote on its consent of the application on Dec. 6.

Foust emphasized that the board’s vote was not an approval of the project, noting that the applicant “understands that this motion will not prejudice the consideration of the nomination in any way, and that the consent of the Board should not be construed as a favorable recommendation.”

Currently, the comprehensive plan calls for a commuter parking facility in the immediate area, but Foust noted that a 2,100-space commuter parking garage has already been developed on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road.

The project would be surrounded by the Dulles Green apartment community to the north, Reflection Lake to the east and the toll road to the south.

Some portions of the county-owned parcel are in resource protection areas.

Applications materials requested by FFXnow were not immediately available, according to the county.

A county spokesperson said that no zoning action has been filed for the project yet.

“We anticipate an SSPA proposal was submitted,” Crystal Santos said. “Staff is currently reviewing [the] submission.”

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The senior living and daycare facility targets low-income individuals (via Fairfax County)

A vacant 3.8-acre portion of land in Chantilly could soon be the home for a new affordable housing development for seniors.

Agape Property Management is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build Agape House Chantilly, a 232-unit development with an adult day care facility, on the southeast side of Thunderbolt Place and west of Centerview Drive.

Mike Van Atta, a land use planner with McGuire Woods, said Agape is excited to develop a fully affordable senior living complex in the Dulles Suburban Center.

“This important project includes high quality building and site design and will serve as a benchmark for the crucial goal of providing new senior and affordable housing options in the western Fairfax County,” Atta wrote.

Approval of the plan would require rezoning the property, which is currently planned for hotel uses that have not been constructed. The applicant is also seeking a special exception to allow for an independent living facility and adult day care facility on the site.

The independent living facility will house up to 300 residents, catering to those making 60% of the area median income or below. Roughly 200 participants are planned for the adult day care facility.

The five-story building will include a pharmacy, therapy room, fitness and recreational areas, and a common kitchen and dining room. The business will also include services like transportation and meal service. Up to 42 employees will likely be present.

The plan assumes that most residents and adult day care participants will “rely on shuttle services provided by Agape House Chantilly,” the application says.

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A development expected to significantly increase the availability of workforce housing in Tysons East won the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ approval on Tuesday (Oct. 11).

The board voted unanimously in support of SCG Development’s proposal to replace a six-story office building at 1750 Old Meadow Road with two connected, 8-story residential buildings with 453 workforce housing units.

At least 300 units affordable in the Somos project will be priced for households earning 60% or less of the area median income (AMI) in a unique agreement with Capital One that will transfer the affordable housing obligations for its nearby campus to SCG.

“Affordable and workforce housing need to happen everywhere in the county, and our economic engine needs to see that as well,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “From an equity and economic development perspective, it’s a major step forward in our ongoing development as an economically vibrant and inclusive community.”

Between Capital One Center and the Scotts Run North site it acquired in 2019, Capital One is on the hook for 1,727 housing units, including 178 affordable or workforce dwelling units (WDUs) — a reduction of the 356 units planned before the county revised its WDU policy for Tysons.

However, all of the WDUs would’ve been provided at 60% AMI, and no residential buildings have been constructed in either project yet, according to a county staff report.

The new arrangement with SCG will provide more WDUs, serve lower income levels, and accelerate their construction, Hunton Andrews Kurth partner John McGranahan Jr. told the board as the developer’s legal representative.

Somos will now consist entirely of workforce dwelling units (via Fairfax County)

“They would be delivered much sooner than if these other projects built out over the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

To ensure the Somos project’s long-term affordability, the 4-acre site will be conveyed to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), which will then lease the newly constructed property to SCG for a 99-year term.

The Board of Supervisors authorized the agreement between SCG, Capital One and FCRHA by a 9-1 vote, with Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity expressing opposition to the use of public funds for the project.

The county has increasingly turned to public-private partnerships as it aims to create 10,000 more units of affordable housing by 2035. The board awarded $33.6 million in public financing to Somos in August, a model also used for Tysons’ upcoming Dominion Square West project and the Ovation at Arrowbrook residences under construction near the Innovation Center Metro station. Read More

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Construction on affordable housing apartments in Herndon is underway (via Jeff McKay)

(Updated to correct number of affordabke units and clarify nature of funds) The Arrowbrook development near the Innovation Center Metro Station got a funding lift yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.

The 274-unit project, an affordable housing development under the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, received $3 million in funding after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the issuance of bonds.

The move fills a $3 million funding gap that the county says was created by “supply change shortages resulting from COVID,” according to county documents.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity voted against the proposal.

Located at the future Arrowbrook Centre Drive and Centreville Road in Herndon, Arrowbrook is being developed by SCG Development Partners.

The project is already under construction and is more than 70% complete.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay touted the county’s efforts to reach its affordable housing goals.

“The work to ensure every resident of Fairfax County can live and work here is a nonstop focus of the Board. Earlier this year we doubled the County’s goal to 10,000 net affordable units by 2034, and we have 4,000 units either completed or in the pipeline. We are proud of the work we have done and continue to do with our partners, both non- and for-profit, throughout the region,” McKay wrote in a newsletter following the meeting.

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Construction on The Rylan apartments in the Highland District (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County is moving forward with an update to its affordable housing policy that could ensure a one-for-one replacement of affordable housing units in areas under redevelopment — signaling a major push to bind development to affordable housing preservation.

Open for public feedback until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, the proposal would amend the county’s comprehensive plan to require developers to replace affordable housing on sites where it’s being eliminated in order to get their project approved.

The proposed policy leads with the first goal of ensuring “no net loss of affordable housing units within redevelopment to the extent practicable.”

There are a few policy changes listed beneath that, but one of the more practical and relevant ones for new development is Policy E:

For any proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment or zoning application review that proposes redevelopment of existing multifamily residential units, conduct an affordability analysis through the Department of Housing and Community Development to 1) identify existing affordable housing onsite and 2) understand the potential impacts of the proposed redevelopment on the existing affordable housing, such as a reduction in the number of affordable units or modification to the income tiers served.

This policy seemingly extends not just to committed affordable units — those contractually set to be available at certain levels of income — but to market-rate affordable housing units too — units that are at levels considered affordable without being set as such by a regulatory agency.

While some of Fairfax County’s neighbors like Alexandria have one-to-one replacement requirements for committed affordable units, requiring the replacement of market-rate units is a fairly bold new step.

“Absent any long-term affordability commitments, market-affordable developments can be lost to redevelopment or repositioning of the asset, leading to the displacement of existing residents and to community fragmentation,” the policy proposal said. “The County has committed to a goal of no net loss of these market affordable units, and should preserve the affordability of market-affordable multifamily rental housing units to the extent practicable.”

The changes within the proposal could also ripple out beyond just affordable housing preservation. Like in Alexandria, the county could allow greater density in exchange for affordable housing units.

“Additional residential densities or intensities above the Plan recommendation may be considered in development proposals that commit to long-term preservation (30 or more years), as an incentive to preserve or replace existing affordable multifamily rental housing units,” the proposal said.

The policy proposal noted that levels of density granted could involve other factors, like transit accessibility or financial feasibility around affordable units. Read More

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Lake Anne House ribbon cutting (photo courtesy of Harry Connolly/Fellowship Square)

After a nearly decade-long effort to redevelop a 1970s-era housing community, the Lake Anne House is finally open.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to open the $86 million redevelopment project at 11444 North Shore Drive in Reston. The Lake Anne House is a 240-apartment complex for low-income seniors that is replacing the five-decade-old Lake Anne Fellowship House.

Conceived by the nonprofits Fellowship Square Foundation and Enterprise Community Development, the new building will house those 65 years or older who are living on incomes 60% and below the area median income.

“This new state-of-the-art building in terms of energy efficiency and accessibility sets a new standard for what affordable housing can be,” Fellowship Square CEO Christy Zeitz said in a press release. “Most importantly, it will enable financially fragile older adults to be able to age in place here in Northern Virginia for many years to come.”

While the official opening was just last Thursday (Sept. 29), residents already relocated from the Lake Anne Fellowship House to the new building over the summer.

Built in 1970, the Lake Anne Fellowship House was the first high-rise and first dedicated affordable apartment complex for seniors in Reston. It was also part of Robert Simon’s original vision for the community.

But after more than 50 years of use, the building is now considered aging, and since its construction predated the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessibility for many residents became an issue.

With the opening of the Lake Anne House, the hope is that those challenges are now solved.

In attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week were local officials, including Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn, as well as the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Adrianne Todman.

“Lake Anne House is an example of the high-quality affordable housing we can build with ingenuity, tenacity, and partnership,” Todman said. “It is what fixing our housing supply looks like — a demonstration of how we can work collaboratively at all levels to build and rehabilitate housing — project by project, block by block, community by community — across the country.”

The idea of building a whole new complex on an underused portion of the site next to the Lake Anne Fellowship House was proposed in 2013. It took five years of design and development before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2018.

Two years after breaking ground in October 2020, the Lake Anne House is now officially open to residents. It has 56 studios, 178 one-bedroom, and six two-bedroom apartments, including 54 fully handicap-accessible units, per a press release.

The building also has a fitness center, arts and crafts room, a social hall, a sunroom, a game room, an outdoor terrace, a wellness clinic, and on-site residents’ services offices.

Lake Anne House was mostly financed by a combination of state and local funds, including $47 million from a tax-exempt bond financing from state-created Virginia Housing.

The old building next door is now vacant and currently being used as a training location for fire departments. It’s set to be demolished early next year and the land sold to a private developer for new townhomes.

Fellowship Square also completed a renovation of its affordable housing at Hunters Woods this summer.

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The $2 million grant from Amazon will preserve Alexandria area units.

A local project will receive $2 million in funding from Amazon to secure 18 affordable housing units in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.

Amazon has awarded Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, an Alexandria-based nonprofit organization that offers assistive housing services, with the grant to acquire 18 homes in the Colchester Towne Condominiums community of the county.

The homes will be preserved as affordable housing units for individuals earning 50 percent of the area median income, according to a report by the Washington Business Journal.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay lauded the nonprofit organization for receiving the grant, which is the second largest single donation the organization has received.

“Their vital mission is to provide high quality, affordable, stable housing to those who otherwise would have difficulty accessing it,” McKay wrote in a statement on social media.

The funding was allocated through Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund, a $2 billion commitment to preserve and build 20,000 affordable homes in three main hub regions. The initiative launched in January 2021 and has since preserved more than 6,200 affordable homes in the DC area.

The company awarded more than $163 million in loans and grants to 12 developers in the DMV region, according to WBJ.

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