APAH Breaks Ground on Gilliam Place

173 New Affordable Homes Advance a Faith-Filled Vision 

Arlington, VA  (July 28, 2017) – Yesterday, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) broke ground on its newest project, Gilliam Place, which will be located at 3507 Columbia Pike in Arlington. Gilliam Place emanated from Arlington Presbyterian Church’s (APC) vision  to put their faith into action and property into mission service. Gilliam Place will provide 173 new committed affordable homes for lower income individuals and families.  Nearly 9,000 square feet of civic/retail space will enliven the neighborhood and expand opportunity for the Columbia Pike community with a mix of non-profit tenants.

A Celebration of Partnership

          More than 80 people gathered for a community-based ceremony infused with the faith, spirit and vision that was inspired by the Arlington Presbyterian Church’s decision to dedicate their site for affordable housing and build a community crossroads to serve the people of Columbia Pike. John Milliken, chairman of APAH’s Board of Directors said, “I can’t emphasize enough how much importance to attach to the word ‘partnership’ in APAH’s name.  We could not have a successful project without you all. APAH is proud to be Arlington County’s partner in affordable housing development and proud to be a part of a community with a shared vision of diversity and inclusion that makes it a very special place to live.”

Partners of the Gilliam Place project take place in the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Partners of the Gilliam Place project take place in the ceremonial groundbreaking.

An Arlington County Priority

          “I, like my colleagues on the County Board, am proud of our adopted 2015 Affordable Housing Master Plan,” stated Katie Cristol, Vice Chair of the Arlington County Board. “The dramatic loss of affordable housing in this county and along Columbia Pike has been well documented. It’s a problem and a challenge we must solve together for the benefit of the entire community, for the benefit of working class families that live and work here to empower our economy, for the benefit of low income seniors who have shaped this community and want to continue to call it home, for the children in our school system. It is a challenge we must solve together. That is why it is so important to have partners like APAH, and why Arlington County is proud to be a partner in Gilliam Place, loaning $18 million from our Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF).”

Leveraging Financial Sources

Gilliam Place will be APAH’s most complex project to date, with a total project cost of $71 million and more than 9 funding sources.  The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) awarded APAH $31 million in tax credits through its annual competitive process and is providing both long-term and construction financing.  “VHDA remains focused on working with partners like APAH to increase the amount of affordable housing available to Virginians, especially here in Northern Virginia where the need is so great,” said Art Bowen, VHDA’s Managing Director of Rental Housing.  “Gilliam Place is an innovative, high-impact affordable housing development, and together with APAH, Arlington County and our other partners, VHDA is proud to see this project move from spreadsheets and legal documents to bulldozers and cranes.”

“Capital One is both a lender and equity investor in the Low Income Housing Tax Credits that are funding Gilliam Place,” said Ed Delany, Senior Vice President and Senior Capital Officer at Capital One. “We have been with this project for its earliest days through our Blueprints to Buildings program [and] are providing a Social Purposes grant, to help establish a strong resident services program at Gilliam Place.  Successful affordable communities do more than provide a roof—they also provide a platform for a more fulfilling life. APAH’s commitment to its communities makes the difference between creating a place to live and creating a place for its residents to thrive.”

A Faith-filled Call to Action

          David Bowers, Vice President of Enterprise Community Partners, recounted the origins of his organization’s faith-based initiative which has partnered with faith communities to create 515 affordable homes and support 1200 more in the development pipeline.  He expressed his gratitude for Arlington Presbyterian Church and APAH on the long-journey to Gilliam Place noting, “We want to thank the members of church for being prayerful partners, for being folks who were seeking out how to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to them.  We thank you for sticking with it through the tough times, and thank you for staying faithful throughout. And we want to thank our partner APAH because they are mission-oriented, and because they are top flight at what they do.  When we think of developers in this region, we can put APAH right at the top.”

“Five years ago, the APC team walked into our office and said ‘We feel called. We want to make something happen here,’” recalled Nina Janopaul, APAH’s President and CEO. “Their site was at the center of Columbia Pike, a neighborhood that was undergoing dramatic change.  Arlington has lost 86% of its market affordable housing since 2000, and much of that right here on Columbia Pike. When Arlington Presbyterian Church came to us, we understood that this was a group that really cared about its community and about the people being displaced, who are sometimes invisible in our lives and cannot afford to stay in this wonderful community anymore.”

Susan Etherton, chair of APC’s Moving Forward Team, joined in the celebration expressing “deep gratitude for our faithful partners, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, and more broadly to our Arlington community partners including Arlington County for journeying alongside us to bring this vision to life. As we ceremoniously break this ground, we will be honoring those who took risks, who not only broke new ground, but broke the rules, like Ronda Gilliam, our first African American member and founder of a clothing donation program in the early 1960s.  To honor our church’s legacy, this community will be named for Ronda Gilliam and all like him.”

Rev. Derrick Weston, the church’s Community Organizer, asked the audience, “so what does it look like to be a church without a building?”  In response, Rev. Weston announced that the church has purchased back from APAH two plots of land to develop a green space that will be “a sanctuary, an oasis, a place of meditation for people to calm their hearts and find their center once again. For us at APC, we see this as our new front porch where people will come to meet us and see who we are.”  APC’s new sacred green space will be located immediately behind Gilliam Place.

Gilliam Place will add 173 new affordable units in two adjacent buildings that will operate cooperatively.  Features will include nearly 9,000 square feet of ground floor civic/retail space and community rooms for resident and community programs.  All apartments are accessible and 11 are barrier free for greater accessibility. The property incorporates historic stone from Arlington Presbyterian Church into its design and will be built to Earthcraft Multifamily Platinum, a high standard for sustainable construction and resident living.  Gilliam Place was designed by KGD Architects and Donohoe Construction Company is the general contractor.  The property is expected to open to residents in late 2019.


Speaker at yesterday’s groundbreaking included:

Karen Chamis, Director of Congregational Development and Mission, National Capital Presbytery

John Milliken, Chairman, APAH Board of Directors

Katie Cristol, Arlington County Board Chair

Art Bowen, Director of Rental Housing, VA Housing Development Authority, VHDA

Ed Delany, Senior Director and Senior Capital Officer, Capital One

David Bowers, Vice President of Mid-Atlantic Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners

Susan Etherton, Moving Forward Team Chair, Arlington Presbyterian Church

Rev. Derrick Weston, Community Organizer, Arlington Presbyterian Church

Nina Janopaul, APAH President and CEO


Please find the property sheet here with more information on the project.


APAH’s mission is to develop, preserve, owns, and advocate for quality affordable housing, and provide opportunity for our residents through partnerships and programs. Founded in 1989, APAH now helps 1300 households live in stable, secure and affordable rental homes.


Download a PDF version of this press release here.