Board approves loans for affordable housing development on Huntington Avenue

Current building on Huntington Avenue

The Arden will be built at this location at the corner of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last week to authorize two loans for a public-private affordable housing development near the Huntington Metro station.

The development, known as The Arden, will be constructed at 2317 Huntington Avenue (see map), which is currently the site of a 12-unit apartment complex built in 1950. Two vacant duplexes in the 2300 block of Glendale Terrace will also be torn down for the project. 

The two county loans, totaling $7,400,000, will be made from the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority to the Wesley Housing Development Corporation (WHDC). A nonprofit charitable organization, WHDC has helped develop 28 communities for low- and moderate-income residents since its founding in 1974, according to its website. The organization offers residents of its properties money management assistance and access to an employment specialist. 

WHDC will secure additional funding for the development through tax credits and a first mortgage from the Virginia Housing and Development Authority.

“This is a really a wonderful addition to the community,” Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck said after the vote, and noted that WHDC may relocate its headquarters to the development’s office space.

Drawing of The Arden

The Arden (Courtesy of Wesley Housing Development Corporation)

The Arden will consist of two buildings totaling 126 units, as well as additional space for retail or possible office use. One building will have 79 units, while the other will have 47 units and the retail/office space. The apartments will consist of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

One building will have 39 units reserved for residents at 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), 32 units for residents at 50 percent AMI, and eight units at 40 percent AMI. The second building will have 46 units for residents at 60 percent AMI, and one unit at market value.

A shared underground garage will be constructed for the two buildings. 

The property previously went through the rezoning process to allow mixed-use development in 2015 for a planned development that never came to fruition. Proffers from that rezoning approval will be applied to this new development, including offsite recreational amenities totaling $107,074; a contribution of $24,622 for construction of a bicycle lane; construction of a median along Huntington Avenue; installation of pedestrian crosswalk; contribution of $18,810 for other pedestrian improvements; and a contribution of $72,334 for schools.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said The Arden was a good example of affordable housing done right, noting the development’s location near mass transit and potential employers.

We really need to be a lot smarter with where we put affordable housing,” McKay said. “To make sure it’s near job centers, to make sure it’s near transit centers and to make sure it’s in communities where people who are at these levels of [income] have a shot at success.”

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