The Shell

The Shell is an affordable apartment complex located in Arlington’s Columbia Heights West neighborhood. This six-story building contains 83 apartments and 6,600 square feet of ground floor retail space. The building has a spacious lobby, fitness center, 800-square-foot community center, 3,700-square-foot landscaped courtyard, and two levels of underground parking. The project is also EarthCraft certified and features a green roof.

exterior of multi level building coloured red with large strip of white and windows in center

The financing for the property was approved by the County Board on March 10, 2012, and May 18, 2013; this included $7.99 million in loans from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). The Shell was developed by AHC Inc., a non-profit housing developer founded in Arlington which now operates in Virginia and Maryland. The Shell is the first project to receive administrative approval under Arlington’s Form Based Code, which encourages a walkable community along Columbia Pike that includes housing, businesses and attractive public spaces.

AHC, Inc. combined undeveloped land and a portion of the parking lot at its Harvey Hall apartment complex and acquired the adjacent Shell gas station property to create this 1.08-acre site. Construction was fully completed in spring 2015. Project partners included Arlington County, Cunningham l Quill Architects, Harkins Builders, Virginia Housing Development Authority, Capital One Bank and Hudson Housing Capital.

Affordable Units

interior view looking out of window, scene outside shows a carpark in front of a large building

Nineteen of the units are affordable to households earning up to 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI), currently $43,700 a two-person household and $54,600 for a four-person household. The remainder affordable to households earning up to 60% of AMI, roughly $65,000 for a family of four. The complex includes a range of apartment units to accommodate different needs, including: five efficiency units, 10 one-bedrooms, 63 two-bedrooms and five three-bedrooms.


870 S. Greenbrier St.

Google map for The Shell location

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