Arlington County Board Moves to Preserve 68 Affordable Westover Units
Published on September 24, 2016
- Allocates $10.9 million for Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
- Retaining long term affordable housing opportunities in Westover
- Units to remain affordable for 60 years
- APAH plans purchase and renovations
The Arlington County Board today moved to preserve 68 affordable apartments in the Westover neighborhood, approving a $10.9 million Affordable Housing Investment Fund allocation to the non-profit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). The loan and associated documents will be considered by the Board in December.
APAH will use the proposed loan to help it buy market-rate units within eight apartment buildings. The affordable housing developer intends to renovate the units and guarantee their affordability to families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income for 60 years.
"The Board's action will help preserve both these affordable apartments and a beloved neighborhood, where we want to keep a range of housing affordability," said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "This allocation of funds implements goals of the County's Affordable Housing Master Plan
, which calls for preserving our existing stock of affordable homes."
The Westover neighborhood has nearly 700 garden apartments, built in the 1940s, that are listed as contributing resources to the Westover National Register District. Of those units, 223 are currently committed affordable units. The nearly 470 others are market rate affordable units. In the past few years, 62 market rate affordable units in Westover have been demolished for the development of by-right luxury townhomes.
In recent months, a number of community members have expressed a desire to preserve both these historic buildings and their affordability. The County is conducting a neighborhood study
for its consideration as a local historic district.
The County Board voted 5 to 0 to approve the allocation.
The units currently are market rate affordable, meaning they are affordable to low-income households as a result of market pricing rather than local, state or federal affordability or income requirements. The Board's action today is the first step in guaranteeing the affordability of the units, adding them to Arlington's long-term committed affordable unit inventory.
The units, which APAH will purchase between late September 2016 and January 2017, would eventually — upon tenant turnover -- be income-restricted to households earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and below. There will be no tenant relocation at this time. Before the renovations, APAH will develop a relocation plan and present it to the tenants and the County's Tenant-Landlord Commission.
Upgrading every unit
APAH plans to substantially renovate all 68 apartments, beginning no earlier than fall 2017, and may enlarge existing units and/or add a few new ones.
Affordable Housing Investment Fund
The Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a revolving loan fund, is the County's main financing program for affordable housing development. Since its creation in 1988, the fund has helped create the majority of Arlington's 7,500 affordable rental units that benefit low-income households. It provides incentives for developers through low-interest loans for new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing.
The fund is comprised of local and federal dollars and is also supported by loan repayments and developer contributions. For many projects, $1 of public funds can leverage $3 in private funds invested in the community. Learn more about funding affordable housing
For more information, view item No. 57
on the September 24 County Board Meeting Regular Agenda.