June 11, 2021

Partnerships Lead to New, Affordable Housing in NoVa

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Courtesy of KGD Architecture

In an area known for high housing costs, hundreds of affordable, new residential units are now ready — thanks to a collaboration between Virginia Housing and Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). The Queens Court community is a welcome addition to this densely-populated section of Northern Virginia. The 12-story development in the Roslyn-Ballston area is scheduled to open in June 2021. 


“We took a site that had only 39 units and today it has 249,” said David White, Lending Group Manager at Virginia Housing. “Plus, this community is in a high-income area, so to add this type of affordable housing here makes this project extraordinary.”


Nina Janopaul, APAH President and CEO, agrees. “The fact that we are extending affordable housing provides a huge impact — for residents of Arlington in particular,” said Janopaul. “The need is here, and with Queens Court as home to 249 families, this community will make a huge difference in the lives of many.”


Virginia Housing served as administrator of various loans helping to make Queens Court possible; we also allocated 4% and 9% federal Housing Credits, which generated $43 million in equity, plus we were able to bring another $28.5 million to the project through other Virginia Housing programs, including our REACH Virginiaprogram. Total financing for the project totaled over $107 million.


Other partners with Virginia Housing and APAH include Arlington County, Bank of America, Donohoe Construction Company and KGD Architecture.


“It’s amazing to see all the sources work in concert,” said White. “This type of coordination and collaboration is what it takes to do a large project in Northern Virginia. 


APAH acquired the original 39-unit property in 1995, and the new Queens Court was years in the making. In 2015, an integrated planning study was formally adopted for the area, which included a new public school, a fire station and market-rate housing; it also unlocked density so Queens Court could be redeveloped into 249 units, and the project broke ground in 2019.


Queens Court now offers two- and three-bedroom units, plus 150 underground parking spaces, a rooftop community center and an on-site 9,000 sq. ft. public park with playground. The community is also certified EarthCraft Gold, barrier-free and conveniently located less than a half mile from the Rosslyn Metro. 


"Providing residents with access to affordable housing in vibrant areas that are hubs for everything from jobs and schools to amenities — makes a huge difference in their quality of life,” said Janopual.

June 4, 2021

Improvements Coming for Richmond Housing Communities

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Above: one of five Richmond housing communities slated for major renovations

Teamwork is essential to making sure Virginia residents have access to safe, affordable, housing. To that end, Virginia Housing is working with a team of housing partners to renovate 304 units in five different properties — and we’re providing $26.3 million in loans plus an allocation of federal Housing Credits to help make it happen.

The five properties, which are all multifamily, are grouped into two developments known as Richmond Family Housing 1 and Richmond Family Housing 2. The goal is to take these properties, which are currently public housing, and convert them to private housing with extensive upgrades to benefit the residents. 

The groups working with Virginia Housing on this project include the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (who currently owns the properties), Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Michaels Development Company (who will be the new owner) and Red Stone Equity Partners (who are investing in the project via the federal Housing Credit program, and will be partners in ownership with the Michaels organization).

Extensive Exterior and Interior Improvements

The five properties involved are scattered in multiple locations throughout Richmond, and are older and in need of renovations. Each will receive an extensive interior rehab in addition to new roofs, updated exterior paint and new landscaping. 


Public to Private Transfer 

The developments are Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) transactions, part of a HUD program in which public housing properties are transferred to a private entity — in this case, Michaels Development Company — and provided project-based housing vouchers. The current tenants will not be displaced; after the transfer of ownership and upgrades are complete, they will enjoy an improved quality of life in their newly renovated homes.    


With the assistance of federal Housing Credits and attractive tax-exempt bond financing, a significant renovation of these properties is planned,” said Brad Beaman, Senior Development Officer at Virginia Housing. “In addition, each of the properties will benefit from a project-based voucher contract from HUD on all units.” 


The coming improvements are examples of Virginia Housing’s commitment and initiative to working with other affordable housing parties. Our goal is to work with our partners to find creative ways to finance the transformation of public housing — and to provide renovated, quality affordable homes for the people who live there.

Grant Helps Plan Next Chapter for Historic Chincoteague Firehouse

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Courtesy of Hill Studio

One of the hottest projects Virginia Housing is working on is the Community Impact Grant for the former Chincoteague Firehouse, located on Main Street in Chincoteague, Virginia. The $20,000 grant is being used to pay for a feasibility study and architectural report, which will help determine how to best use the building for residents of the island. The grant is made possible through Virginia Housing’s REACH Virginia program. Each year, Virginia Housing contributes a large portion of their net revenues into this program, providing funds to help meet critical housing needs across the state. 


Providing Spaces for Residents to Live and Work


Proposals to be considered for the firehouse building include workforce housing and parking as well as commercial spaces. The historic building dates back to 1930 and is now owned by the town. In 2019, a new firehouse was slated for construction and town leaders began considering how best to use the older building going forward. According to Chris Thompson, Virginia Housing’s Director of Strategic Housing, the town of Chincoteague realized that they had a lack of quality housing for residents, so they acquired the old firehouse, hoping to use it to benefit the town as well as preserve its history. 


“Virginia Housing is excited that the town of Chincoteague took the initiative to buy this building so that residents could have a great place to live and work downtown,” said Thompson. “A project like this can increase the vitality of the area, while assisting the local workforce.” 


Addressing the Need for Affordable Housing


While Chincoteague is a destination for many tourists and vacation homeowners, increased housing costs have led to a loss of year-round residents. Adding new possibilities with the firehouse project, along with preserving the historic character of the building, could bring new affordable housing opportunities to the area.


In addition to recommendations for housing, the feasibility study will help generate a cost estimate and prepare development scenarios. The preliminary architecture and engineering report is needed to investigate the major infrastructure and building components to determine what issues exist, general solutions to the identified problems and costs involved. The firehouse is also in a flood zone, so it will require a design to mitigate issues. The town is currently reviewing designs submitted by Hill Studio.


The Community Impact Grant is the starting point for creating a much-needed addition to downtown Chincoteague’s housing and commercial district. 


“The grant and studies demonstrate Virginia Housing’s commitment to working with local governments,” said Thompson. “We’re all excited to see what happens next!”