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Rendering for Mount Vernon and Glebe, via AHDC

A few months after its initial approval, a new 474-unit affordable housing development in Arlandria is headed back for city review with a few amendments spurred on in part by Saint Rita Catholic Church holding onto an alleyway central to the housing developer’s plans.

The  Alexandria Housing Development Corporation‘s (AHDC) Mount Vernon and Glebe project — which presumably will get another name before the development is finalized — is headed to review at the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 23 and to the City Council on Tuesday, July 5.

The project at 221 West Glebe and a half-dozen nearby addresses will be comprised of 474 units that will all be classified as affordable or workforce housing. The project will also include 38,312 square feet of commercial retail and two levels of underground parking.

The project received development special use permit approval in January, and a staff report noted that there are a series of changes to the site plan that requires new city approval.

The original permit included plans for a north-south street. The staff report says that plan was contingent on St. Rita’s Church being willing to participate in a land-swap with AHDC, which the report says turns out to have been a bit premature.

“The roadway and sanitary and stormwater utilities in their approved configuration were contingent upon a land swap with St. Rita’s Church as a small portion of their property was needed to construct the road,” the report said. “St. Rita’s has expressed that they will not participate in a land-swap, therefore the Applicant must make the changes to the approved site plan related to design and access.”

Not having access to that land has had a ripple effect, requiring a handful of other changes to the layout of the site like shifting parking entrances and realigning infrastructure.

The staff permit also says this spring, AHDC purchased an adjacent parcel at 3608 Mount Vernon Avenue. The parcel was not included in the original DSUP and must be incorporated into the site to accommodate design changes.

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The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation is planning to head to city review by the end of the year for a new project that will add 31 affordable housing units to the Seminary Hill neighborhood at 4547, 4555, and 4575 Seminary Road.

“The Applicant, the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) is seeking to consolidate three lots into one and build a condominium project that includes 31 affordable for-sale townhouse-condo units that target average median incomes (AMI) at or below 80% and 8 rental and for-sale multi-family units,” AHDC said in an application.

Three of the multi-family units will be 4-bedroom housing units operated by Sheltered Homes of Alexandria, which will help expand the number of intellectually disabled adults currently served at the group home at 4547 Seminary Road. The remaining five multi-family units will be for sale at 80% AMI or below.

Each of the townhouse units will have 2 parking spaces in an attached garage, the application said. The multi-family units will have access to 19 surface parking spaces, with 12 spaces for residents and seven for visitors.

“The applicant firmly believes that this project serves many goals of the city, but most importantly, by increasing affordable homeownership opportunities for residents with low and moderate incomes, it serves the goals of the city’s Housing Master Plan,” the AHDC application said. “Particularly, the project furthers the city’s goal of creating economic diversity among city residents resulting in strong, resilient neighborhoods…”

The project is scheduled to be reviewed at the Planning Commission on Dec. 7.

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The residents of Del Ray’s Bellefonte Apartment Community (11 East Bellefonte Avenue) are back after a pair of local non-profits announced they’ve finished extensive renovations to the affordable housing community aimed at caring for adults with special needs.

Sheltered Homes of Alexandria (SHA), Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) spearheaded the renovation of 12 apartment units. According to a press release, the renovations included a complete interior gutting and redesign of the building; changing some units to be fully wheelchair accessible, improving the stormwater systems, and updating security at the building.

“By working together, AHDC, Sheltered Homes of Alexandria, and the city were able to create these beautiful, accessible new homes for our residents,” said Julie Jakopic, Sheltered Homes of Alexandria’s Board chair, in a press release. “This community in Del Ray will enjoy the results of these partnerships for many decades to come.”

Modern finishes and greater access to natural light were also emphasized in the redesign of the building.

“The Bellefonte Apartment community is one of many properties that SHA owns where City staff provide direct support to enable Alexandrians of all abilities to live independently in the community,” AHDC said in the press release. “City staff assist Bellefonte residents with basic activities of daily living and support the residents being active participants in the Alexandria community.”

Residents started moving back in April, but AHDC and SHA marked the site as open on June 29.

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As the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC) moves forward with its plans to build a 482-unit affordable housing complex in Chirilagua-Arlandria, the local non-profit unveiled the first renderings for the site and stats that raised some eyebrows online.

The City Council approved a loan for the AHDC project in May as part of an ongoing effort combat gentrification likely incoming with Amazon’s arrival in nearby Crystal City. The new development will come at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Glebe Road.

Of the units proposed, a quarter of them will be deeply affordable — meaning available for those earning up to 40% of area median income (AMI) and the rest will be a mix of available at 50, 60 and 60%. Units will range from one-to-three bedrooms in size.

The primary concern, raised on the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook group, is that the site will only have 382 parking spaces for cars — 100 fewer than there are units in the building. The building will also have 150 spaces of bicycle parking.

AHDC is scheduled to hold two virtual meetings on the project — one in English and one in Spanish — on Wednesday, July 21. The Spanish session will run from 6-7 p.m. and the English session will run from 7-8 p.m. An in-person open house is scheduled for Aug. 10.

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