- New Affordable Housing mid-Columbia Pike
- 173 units will be affordable for 60 years
- County to provide about $18 million in financing loans
- Nearly 50% of County loan funds for land acquisition
- Name honors Arlington African-American Presbyterian Church elder
- Successful daycare center has identified new home in Nauck community
The Arlington County Board today approved both a plan to redevelop the Arlington Presbyterian Church site on Columbia Pike into an affordable housing apartment complex, and about $18 million in loans to help the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) buy the site and build the housing, locking in the apartments’ affordability for 60 years. The redevelopment also will have groundfloor retail/civic uses and a three-floor parking garage.
“It’s great to see our new Affordable Housing Master Plan being put into action. Our innovative Form Based Code combined with a streamlined review process and our revolving housing loan funds are encouraging developers to build much-needed affordable housing,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “This is another case where our development tools, coupled with major transportation investments, are helping us transform the Pike into the “main street” that the community has long envisioned, while preserving the rich resident diversity that makes this part of Arlington so special.”
The Board voted unanimously to approve rezoning the site from “R-5” One-Family Dwelling Districts, Restricted Two-Family Dwelling Districts to “CP-FBC” Columbia Pike Form Based Code District, to approve a Use Permit for development of the apartment building, and the allocation of the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) and Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) funds to help fund the land acquisition and construction.
To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #31 on the Agenda for the Sat., Dec. 12 Regular County Board Meeting.
The County’s investment equates to $105,000 per unit, 47% of which is attributable to land acquisition costs. to read the staff report on this project, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #31 on the Agenda for the Saturday, Dec. 12 Regular County Board Meeting.
“We at Arlington Presbyterian Church are grateful for both the County’s approval and APAH’s commitment to develop affordable housing on our church site at Gilliam Place,” said Susan Etherton, Church Elder and Affordable Housing Team Lead. “We have worked on this redevelopment project for many years and we are thrilled to be one step closer to realizing our vision of using our assets as a resource for the community.”
Gilliam Place has been named by the Arlington Presbyterian Church congregation in honor of Ronda Gilliam (1906-1970), the church’s first African American member, a gentleman who was a church elder, a steward and visionary in the community.
County, church, affordable housing developer collaboration
The proposed Form Based Code redevelopment site is the Arlington Presbyterian Church, located at 3507 Columbia Pike, at the intersection of the Pike and S. Lincoln Street in the Alcova Heights Civic Association. The church has seen a decline in its membership and congregation in recent years, as the cost of maintaining the 100-year old church building has risen. In 2013, the congregation decided that the site could better serve the community in long lasting ways by redeveloping it into much-needed affordable housing.
The Church agreed in January 2015 to sell the site to Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), a non-profit affordable housing developer. After completing the purchase, APAH plans to transform the church site into a six-story apartment building with 100 percent committed affordable housing units. The units will be contractually bound to remain affordable for 60 years.
“Today’s action helps Arlington County move forward on realizing the goals of the Affordable Housing Master Plan and keeping Arlington a diverse and inclusive community,” said Nina Janopaul, President and CEO of Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. “We are honored to work with Arlington Presbyterian Church to create new, much-needed, affordable homes and we deeply appreciate the support of the Arlington County Board and the Pike community for this innovative, intergenerational project.”
The mixed-use apartment complex, named Gilliam Place, will be developed in one phase as two separate and distinct low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects.
Gilliam Place East, with 83 units, and Gilliam Place West, with 90 units, will have a combined total of 173 committed affordable units (CAFs). On the ground floor, approximately 8,900 square feet of retail/civic uses is planned, along with a three-level below-grade parking garage with 205 parking spaces.
The Arlington Presbyterian Church is considering relocating into one of the ground floor spaces of the new apartment building.
Both buildings will achieve EarthCraft Platinum certification, which addresses a wide range of sustainability issues, including environmental performance, indoor air quality, water conservation, and building durability.
Arlington County a major investor
The County will allocate a total of $18.1 million in loan funds from the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) to APAH for the acquisition of land and the construction of the 173 new committed affordable housing units (CAFs) and $745,298 in funds from the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH).
A breakdown of the AHIF loans:
- $8.5 million for the acquisition of the church site for redevelopment
(APAH will acquire the APC site by August 1, 2016)
- $2.8 million for the construction of 90 units in Gilliam Place East
- $6.8 million for the construction of 83 units in Gilliam Place West
- $745,298 in TOAH fund to assist APAH with County fees and infrastructure for building permit fees, water and sewer tap fees, and utility undergrounding costs related to the development of Gilliam Place East
The Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), a revolving loan fund, is the County’s main financing program for affordable housing development. The funding comes from local and federal sources, as well as loan repayments and developer contributions. Since its creation in 1988, AHIF has helped to create the majority of Arlington’s affordable rental units that benefit low-and-moderate-income households.
The County Board approved the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) fund in December 2013 to help low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District and the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Special Revitalization District be more competitive in the tax credit selection process.
The funds may be used to pay for County fees and infrastructure-related costs so that developments stay below the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Total Development Cost (TDC) limits. The TOAH is funded by the Columbia Pike Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district through the dedication of 25 percent of the incremental increase in property tax revenue on Columbia Pike.
Daycare center to relocate
Funshine Preschool currently operates a daycare center at the church site and will not be part of the redevelopment proposal. Instead, APAH has assisted Funshine in finding its new home, the Macedonia Baptist Church, 3412 22nd Street South, a space formerly occupied by YMCA. The County Board approved Funshine’s use permit on November 15, 2015 for the new location and the preschool estimates it will complete its move in spring 2016.
No historic designation
The Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (“HALRB”) was in favor of the Arlington Presbyterian Church’s desire to not pursue historic designation in order to advance its redevelopment vision. In 2014, the HALRB voted to not recommend designation of the property.
Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) met two times with the Alcova Heights and Douglas Park Civic Associations.
The Columbia Pike FBC Advisory Working Group reviewed the proposal at several of its meetings.
The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed use permit for the planned redevelopment at its meeting on December 2, 2015. The Commission voted to recommend approval of the project.
The Housing Commission reviewed the AHIF request at its meeting on December 3, 2015 and voted to recommend the loan to APAH.
Form Based Code is transforming Columbia Pike
The proposed development sits within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District and is eligible for redevelopment under the Columbia Pike Form Based Code (FBC). The FBC provides a framework for redevelopment that is consistent with the Columbia Pike Initiative – A Revitalization Plan, the community’s vision to transform the Pike into a walkable main street. The plan was adopted by the County Board in 2005.
Since the creation of the Commercial Centers and Neighborhoods Form Based Code, 381 new market-rate units have been constructed and an additional 350 market-rate units are under review in Central Pike, the area of the Pike between South Four Mile Run Drive and South Glebe Road.
For the Columbia Pike area, the County’s goal continues to be to preserve housing affordability for current and future residents, which includes preserving the existing 6,200 units of market rate affordable housing, to be committed to affordability for at least 30 years.
Project at a Glance
- 3507 Columbia Pike
- 173 residential units
- 8,900 square feet of retail/civic uses
- 6-story apartment complex (two buildings)
- 205 total parking spaces, 3-level parking garage
- Site is 53,701 square feet
Developer: Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)
Architect: KGD Architects
Sustainable Design Commitments
- EarthCraft Platinum certification
Visit the Columbia Pike Form Based Code – Neighborhood webpage and What is Affordable Housing? for more information.