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Housing Alexandria breaking ground on new Arlandria affordable housing development this summer

Concept rendering of Sansé and Naja development in Arlandria (image courtesy Housing Alexandria)

Local nonprofit Housing Alexandria said it will break ground on a new 474-unit affordable housing project in Arlandria this summer at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Glebe Road.

The project — a pair of buildings the nonprofit announced will be called Sansé and Naja — will create 474 units of affordable housing, 36,000 square feet of commercial space and a two-level underground parking garage. All of the units will be affordable for households making up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) with 105 units set aside as deeply affordable — available to those making 40% AMI.

According to the release:

The names Sansé and Naja come from Nahuatl (na-watl), a language indigenous to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with millions of speakers today. Sansé (san-say), the name for the larger building, means “unique” or “only one” and invokes a sense of a unified group. Naja (na-jah or na-ha), the name for the smaller building, means “me” or “myself”… The brand identity was developed by Moya Design Partners in consultation with residents of Arlandria-Chirilagua to create a brand identity that was by and for the residents of the neighborhood. Housing Alexandria expresses our gratitude to the participants in these focus groups, as well as Casa Chirilagua and Tenants and Workers United for giving us the space for these meetings.

Work at the site is scheduled to take around 3-4 years.

“The construction will be done in phases and barring any major interruptions (like the pandemic was at The Bloom) move-ins would begin starting in 2026,” said Kayla Hornbrook, vice president of community relations for Housing Alexandria.

The development made headlines last year when a Catholic diocese sued the City of Alexandria, alleging that it did not properly vacate an alley that divides the new development from the Saint Rita Catholic Church. The site underwent a redesign that did not use the alley, the City of Alexandria withdrew its vacation of the alley, and the lawsuit was eventually dismissed.