Alexandria, VA

The Fairlington Presbyterian Church is another step closer to building an affordable housing complex in its parking lot.

City officials announced Thursday they will submit a request early next month for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnerships funds for The Waypoint at Fairlington — a four-story, 51,000-square-foot development at 3846 King Street.

The church has been considering development proposals on the property since 2016. The City Council approved the project in 2018.

City officials said the project would not have a “significant impact on the human environment.”

The affordable multi-family building will accommodate residents making between 40%-60% of the area median income. The building is planned for 81 rental units, including three efficiencies, 12 one-bedroom apartments, 49 two-bedroom apartments and 17 three-bedroom apartments.

Council previously approved a $7.65 million subordinate loan for the project, in addition to funding nine project-based rental assistance vouchers. Developer Wesley Housing, which is partnering with the church on the project, also received low-income housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority last year.

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.

Construction is planned to begin in late summer.

The Notice of Intent Request for Release of Funds and the Notice of Finding of No Significant Impact for the Waypoint at…

Posted by Office of Housing, City of Alexandria, VA on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Images via Wesley Housing

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Alexandria is a little ahead of schedule increasing the number of affordable housing units in the city, and two new deals are getting it closer to meeting its regional housing goals.

On Saturday, Council unanimously adopted proposals to increase the number of affordable housing units in Eisenhower East by the hundreds, and to add nine affordable units in a new mixed-use Aspire Alexandria development in Braddock.

Mayor Justin Wilson called an amendment to the Eisenhower East Small Area Plan “the most aggressive inclusionary zoning, affordable housing policy we have ever adopted in the city.”

Under the proposal, 10% of additional residential rental development in Eisenhower East will be devoted to affordable rental units. At full buildout, up to 400-450 affordable units are anticipated for the area, which currently only has 66 affordable units.

“We will have to see how this all works out and comes to reality, but I think an important step about our values as a community,” Wilson said.

The mixed-use Aspire Alexandria project is the latest project taking advantage of the city’s 2019 affordable housing guidelines by increasing density in exchange for affordable housing. Its nine affordable units are but a fraction of the 133 units that will be used for senior citizens, however.

Alexandria’s low cost, market-affordable (non-subsidized) rental housing fell 88 percent between 2000-2018, and the city needs to produce 2,000 affordable housing units by 2025 and an additional 1,950 units by 2030 to meet the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ regional goal of 320,000 new affordable housing units.

At just over 15 square miles, Alexandria is looking everywhere for land, and the city manager’s office has even tapped the public school system to include co-locating affordable housing options in plans for all schools slated for development.

Helen McIlvane, the city’s housing director, said that the city is on track to meet its 2025 goal, and a little behind with the total number that it needs to raise by 2030.

“It’s a puzzle, its expensive. We have to be focused all the time at looking at opportunities and making most of them,” McIlvane said, adding that the city is trying to incentivize building owners to keep properties affordable. “There are places on the west end, where buildings are market affordable and we’d like them to remain that way. We want to secure what’s on the ground today, we want to preserve it.”

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Alexandria City Council (file photo)

North Potomac Yard, the Virginia Tech Innovation Campusaffordable housing and more! It’s budget season, and you know what that means — the Alexandria Planning Commission will soon begin looking into prioritizing city-related plans and studies with the updated Interdepartmental Long-range Planning Work Program.

So… what plans and studies will Alexandria focus on in the near future? Don’t worry, those interested will have plenty of meetings to attend.

The Planning Commission, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, will discuss a draft work program — which will “help inform development of the City Manager’s Proposed Operating Budget,” notes the city staff report, which also states that there are only “minor updates and additions” to the the work program that the city council approved in last year’s budget.

At the top of the list is streamlining plan and zoning updates for North Potomac Yard and Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. Council will vote on developmental special use permits and the Potomac Yard Master Plan this fall, the latter of which will be a blueprint into Alexandria’s future with the development of a Metro station, Virginia Tech’s $1 billion campus, a new elementary school, and residential and retail. It’s going to be an economic juggernaut for the city, and Development Special Use Permits.

Alexandria’s neighborhoods are evolving, and this fall city staff launched community meetings on updating the two Mount Vernon Avenue plans for Del Ray and Arlandria, which the commission and council will discuss early this year. Additionally, public meetings on the Duke Street Area Plan update will be held in the spring.

Equity/affordable housing made the list of development priorities, as the city’s Housing for All policy dictates that Alexandria “develop or preserve 2,000 affordable housing units through 2025,” notes the staff report. The city’s low cost, market-affordable (non-subsidized) rental housing fell 88 percent between 2000 and 2018, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently set a goal for the region to produce 320,000 affordable housing units by 2030.

Other plans to be prioritized are the Alexandria Mobility Plan and a number of park and natural resource plans, including the Pocket Park PlanUrban Forestry Master Plan Update, Stream Valley and Trail Plan, Public Open Space Policy Plan and the Dog Park Master Plan update.

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