July 25, 2018

Arlington Senior High-rise Gets New Lease on Life

What happens when an aging, deteriorating apartment building that houses low-income seniors reaches the twilight of its useful lifespan? Culpepper Gardens in Arlington, Virginia, was in just such a predicament, but its story will have a happy ending, thanks to VHDA and multiple partner organizations. 

VHDA has struck an agreement with Arlington Retirement Housing Corp., Wesley Housing Development Corp. and Virginia Community Development Corp. – among other entities – to give this eight-story apartment tower a top-to-bottom upgrade. VHDA is providing $27 million in bridge and permanent financing for the renovation, in addition to Housing Credits (also known as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or LIHTC).

VHDA is serving as primary lender for the deal, which proved to be even more complex in scope than most that the authority participates in. “Wesley Housing, VCDC, Arlington County and so many others really pulled together with us to make this a reality,” said Scott Charnock, senior development officer for VHDA’s Rental Housing division. “Their cooperation was outstanding, and it just goes to show what teamwork can accomplish.”

A ceremonial kickoff for the project was held on April 12, 2018. When renovations are complete in two years, the complex will have 129 efficiency, 74 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments – an increase of four over the current total. The average age and income of Culpepper Garden’s tenants is 77 years and $18,000. The renovations will cause minimal disruption to residents; they will be temporarily relocated within the complex itself while their apartments are being worked on.

Culpepper Garden was built in 1975, and its upgrades will be cosmetic as well as functional. Apartments will be repainted and receive new flooring, plumbing fixtures, appliances, cabinets and countertops. The building’s roof and windows will be replaced, as will its plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. Its elevators will be updated and new sprinklers will be installed, and common areas such as the kitchen and laundry will be reconfigured and improved.

The Culpepper Garden renovation will ensure that hundreds of low-income seniors enjoy improved living conditions in a safer, more comfortable environment – all without changing their address. 

Learn more about Culpepper Garden.

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