Four years of development came to a close Tuesday as the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority cut the ribbon on Lineage, a 52-unit affordable apartment complex at the former Ramsey Homes site in Old Town.
“It’s about helping people that need affordable housing, and that’s the passion of mine, given that I’m a product of public housing,” ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew said, adding that he thought the project would be easy when he started his job four years ago. “I was led to believe that Ramsey was easy, but it was anything but easy, and being in this industry for as long as I have I should have known better, but I didn’t.”
ARHA was awarded tax credit financing for the project at 625 N Patrick Street in 2017, and also received a $2 million loan from the city.
The four-story apartment building includes 15 homes for city residents earning up to 30% of the area median income ($25,500 for a household of one to $36,400 for a household of four) and 37 new units to households earning up to 50% and 60% AMI. It is located across the street from the Charles Houston Recreation Center and the Alexandria Black History Museum.
Mayor Justin Wilson said approval of the project was not easy, running the gamut from community concerns over historic preservation and open space to density and housing.
“This was not easy at all,” Wilson said. “The struggle is worth it for 52 families who now have a place to live.”
Lineage resident Maria Ledbetter says she’s sleeping better.
“I really, really love my apartment,” Ledbetter said. We have really nice appliances, a very nice view from the window, and I’m sleeping very well at night. I think you really came through with this development.”
The property was first developed as permanent housing for 15 Black defense workers and their families during World War II. The 15 units were redeveloped into the new Lineage project, which added 37 new units to the city’s affordable housing inventory. The new apartments range from 323 to 1,301 square feet. Each apartment includes a washer and drier, heating and air conditioning and “hardwood-style” flooring.
“This was a hard-fought victory for housing advocates and those who care about affordability in the city,” said City Councilman John Taylor Chapman.
Alexandria is currently experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and the city has pledged to produce or develop 2,000 affordable housing units by 2025. The city has also agreed to produce an additional 1,950 units by 2030 in order to meet its regional housing goal set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which aims for the region to produce 320,000 affordable housing units.
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