Huntington affordable housing development gets final approval

Color drawing of new building from street
A view of The Arden from Huntington Avenue.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the final plan for a 126-unit affordable housing development on Huntington Avenue at their meeting Tuesday.

The Arden will be a seven-story, 126-unit multifamily project located a block from the Huntington Metro station at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive (see map). The redevelopment was initially approved in 2015, but since then the property has been sold and the new owner, Wesley Housing, needed to get some changes to the original plan approved by the county.

Color drawing of new building from side
A view of The Arden from Biscayne Drive.

Wesley Housing, a non-profit focused on housing issues, made no major design changes to the original plan for the development. However a plan for ground-floor retail was shelved in favor of making the first two floors into office space, and 13 living units were subtracted from the layout. Wesley Housing said they will be moving their headquarters there.

Families who earn 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) will be eligible to live in The Arden. The building will have a total of 179 parking spaces, including 15 for the offices.

A 12-unit brick apartment building constructed in 1950, as well as two duplex units and a parking lot for the apartments, currently occupy the site.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck praised Wesley for their outreach with the local community to discuss the project, which gained the support of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations, the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation and the Huntington Community Association. No members of the public spoke for or against the project at the Board hearing Tuesday.

“I’m pleased that Wesley Housing has been very involved since the beginning,” Storck said.

Storck also noted that while many multifamily housing developments have been constructed around the Huntington Metro in recent years, the Arden is specifically designed for residents with lower incomes.

“What we know really will make the biggest difference for our community is places where people can afford [who earn] in the 60-70 AMI percentile,” Storck said.

The Board was originally supposed to review the Arden application at its March 19 meeting, but Storck asked that it be deferred until yesterday. The deferral was due in part to a discussion between the developer and the county over a contribution for future bike lanes in front of the building on Huntington Avenue. Storck and county officials said the two sides had agreed to a $74,023 contribution, which would include the relocation of utilities in front of the building.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the Arden in an 11-0 vote at its March 14 meeting.

The Arden will be financed in part through two loans from the Fairfax County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Those loans, worth $7.4 million, were approved by the Board of Supervisors last year.

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