Board Approves Affordability, Financing Plan for Barcroft Apartments

Published on December 16, 2023

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On Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, the Arlington County Board approved a sitewide affordability and financing plan for Barcroft Apartments, which ensures rent stabilization for current Barcroft residents, guarantees at least 134 units for the County’s lowest income residents, and identifies how the County’s 2021 loan will be refinanced as the Barcroft Apartments site is renovated and redeveloped.

This was the first major action taken by the Board since Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners acquired the Barcroft property in Dec. 2021, with assistance from the County and the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. The acquisition prevented the displacement of more than 1,100 households, and Jair Lynch committed to preserve 1,335 units as affordable up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for 99 years.

"This financing plan is a follow-through on the commitment made two years ago to ensure that no current Barcroft residents would be priced out of their homes—and it goes a step further by providing the largest commitment of units for those earning 30% or less of the Area Median Income," Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "I look forward to the continuing community conversations about how we can realize the larger vision for this site for the benefit of Barcroft residents and the Arlington community."

Focus on Affordability

As part of the affordability and financing plan, Jair Lynch will provide at least 134 units for households earning a maximum of 30% of AMI ($45,210 for a family of four), which is the largest single commitment to units at that affordability level in the County. The County and Jair Lynch will continue to explore opportunities to expand on that commitment as they review land-use tools with the community in 2024.

Jair Lynch also has committed to rent stabilization for current Barcroft residents, with rent increases capped at 3 percent annually and rents not to exceed 60% AMI rent levels, even after units are renovated or redeveloped.

As part of its action, the County Board also approved the financing terms for the first renovation project at Barcroft, located at the corner of South George Mason Drive and South Four Mile Run Drive and ratified an application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) Grant Fund.

In July 2023, the Board approved a use permit for the first phase renovation of 93 affordable units, including nine Permanent Supportive Housing units upon unit turnover and the conversion of 18 two-bedroom homes to 14 three-bedroom homes and 4 four-bedroom homes.

The ratified HUD grant application is for up to $10 million for future rehabilitation and renovation of 101 apartment homes (with an average of up to 60% AMI rents and a minimum of 10% of the units set aside for those earning up to 30% AMI), construction of a resident community and amenity center, and improvements to two primary streets. The selection announcement is anticipated in 2024.

Residents-First Approach

Since acquiring the property in 2021, Jair Lynch has taken a “residents-first” approach to planning the site, asking current Barcroft residents what they want in their renovated units and on the property. Plans for a future community center, in-unit laundry, and other services and amenities stem from those conversations.

In addition to renovation and redevelopment of the current units, Jair Lynch wants to build new market-rate residential units on the site to create a vibrant mixed-income community.

Beginning in 2024, the County will begin to review the land-use tools associated with Jair Lynch’s plans for the property, including visioning documents, such as the 2012 Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, the County’s form-based code, historic preservation, and more. The process will include broader public engagement with the Arlington community, as well as continued engagement with the Barcroft residents.

About Barcroft Apartments

Barcroft Apartments is a 60-acre site located on the Columbia Pike corridor in Arlington. It is comprised of 1,335 garden apartments across 59 buildings that were built in phases between 1939 and 1953.

Barcroft Apartments was placed on the market in fall 2021. At the time, it was the largest market-rate affordable housing community in Arlington and was at risk of being sold to developers that would demolish the existing units and build by-right luxury for-sale or market-rate rental units. Following a highly competitive selection process, the previous owner selected Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners to purchase the property and Jair Lynch expressed interest in preserving affordability at the site.

After working with Jair Lynch and Amazon, the County Board approved a $150 million County Acquisition Fund loan in Dec. 2021 to support the acquisition. In addition, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund provided an approximately $160 million loan. The acquisition was executed in Dec. 2021, and all 1,335 units were committed to 99 years of affordability, which exceeds all other affordability periods in the County affordable housing portfolio.

In Oct. 2022, JLREP submitted a Master Financing and Development Plan (MFDP) which describes how Barcroft Apartments will be renovated and/or developed in the long term and includes options to deepen existing affordability at the property and other community goals. The renovation and construction process for the entire Barcroft Apartments community is anticipated to be completed in 13 phases and take several years to complete. It is anticipated that no additional County funds will be requested for the renovations or redevelopment.

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