APAH Celebrates Grand Opening of Gilliam Place

Arlington Presbyterian Church site transformed into new, $71M affordable housing complex that will provide 173 affordable apartments and a new home for the Church

Arlington, VA (November 14, 2019) – Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) today celebrated the grand opening of the 173-unit Gilliam Place. The $71 million project, located in the heart of Columbia Pike Town Center, emanated from Arlington Presbyterian Church’s (APC) vision to put their faith into action and property into mission.

The grand opening of Gilliam Place is celebrated by cutting a ribbon. APAH President and CEO, Nina Janopaul, and APAH Vice President, Carmen Romero (front center) are joined by community and financing partners and elected officials who made the project possible.

The six-story complex includes 15 accessible units to meet the needs of persons with disabilities and is rated Earthcraft Multifamily Platinum for its environmental and energy efficiencies. All of the 1-, 2-, 3-bedroom and studio apartments are affordable to households earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) or below.

“Gilliam Place is APAH’s most ambitious property yet, and we are thrilled with the result. In addition to providing 173 new homes for our neighbors who need it most, the commercial and civic space on the ground floors means that people from throughout the community can benefit. Whether they come here to worship at the church, to learn new skills at La Cocina or enjoy lunch at La Cocina’s new café – Gilliam Place will be a gathering place for the entire neighborhood,” said APAH President and CEO Nina Janopaul.

The congregation of Arlington Presbyterian Church made Gilliam Place possible. In 2012, APC approached APAH to create a space that would both provide affordable housing and serve as a place of crossroads and connection for the community.

“We are so grateful to have such faithful partners throughout the community who came together to bring this vision to life,” said Susan Etherton, chair of APC’s Moving Forward Team.  “Our desire to bring affordable homes to the neighborhood and create a place where our community’s diverse residents can gather and build a true, lasting relationship would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of the entire community.”

It is APAH’s most complex project yet. Designed to be an anchor in the Columbia Pike community, the multi-use development includes nearly 9,000 square feet of commercial and civic space to be used as the new home for the Church and La Cocina VA, which will open a café and relocate its bilingual culinary training center to the site next year.

On Sunday, Arlington Presbyterian will return to the place where its congregation began almost 100 years ago with its first weekly service in its new home on the ground floor of the property. The congregation selected the name Gilliam Place for the new affordable housing development to honor Ronda Gilliam (1906-1970), a church elder who was a steward and visionary in the community.

Today’s celebration brought together leaders from APAH and Arlington Presbyterian Church as well APAH’s finance, design, and building partners, elected officials, and neighbors—all of whom helped make the property possible.

“Virginia’s affordable housing challenge is simply too important and too complex, to tackle it with the same old solutions,” said Susan Dewey, Executive Director of Virginia Housing Development Authority. “Fresh approaches, like those that turned a bold vision for Gilliam Place into a true home for Arlington’s working families, are crucial to improving quality of life and making opportunity and prosperity accessible to all.”

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) awarded APAH $31 million in tax credits and is providing both long-term and construction financing.

Arlington County provided another $18.1 million in loan funds from the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) to APAH to cover the purchase of the land from the Church and construction of the 173 committed affordable housing units and $745,000 from the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) fund.

Christian Dorsey makes remarks at Gilliam Place grand opening

“In Arlington, we are committed to a shared community vision to be a diverse and inclusive world-class urban community,” said Christian Dorsey, Arlington County Board Chair. “Gilliam Place is a critical part of achieving equity—providing beautiful, high-quality housing for low-income residents as well as the services and support to help each resident thrive.”

Enterprise Community Partners also provided funding to as part of its faith-based initiative, which has partnered with faith communities to create 515 affordable homes and support 1,200 more in the development pipeline.

Enterprise Vice President David Bowers talked about the Power and potential of faith partnerships across the nation to address our country’s affordable housing crisis, explaining that construction is just the start. “The history of Enterprise Community Partners is built on faith. When men and woman said no, God said yes,” he said.

“Now, the story of Gilliam Place—of their commitment and vision—is being told around the region and around the country,” Bowers said. “And others are following your lead. Just last week, Enterprise announced its goal of working with houses of worship to create at least 10 percent of the 56,250 units needed to serve low- and moderate-income households in the region. These 173 units are the first units in that larger effort to build 5,625 new homes. When men and women said no, APAH said yes.”

Capital One provided loans and is an equity investor in the project’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund construction. The lender is also providing a grant of $250,000 to help fund resident service programs for the next ten years, and additional funds to help La Cocina build its new training facilities. “We look forward to coming back in 2020 to mark another opening once La Cocina’s facility is completed,” said Capital One Senior Director and Senior Capital Officer Ed Delany.

Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who represents the Columbia Pike neighborhood, added that Gilliam Place is a model for whom the community can work together to address the challenges of increased housing costs in Arlington County, “We must all work together to ensure that the benefits of new jobs and growing prosperity are shared by all of our residents. Our housing stock must support the diversity that is the strength of this community. Gilliam Place proves that it can be done.”


Download a PDF of this press release.
See pictures from the grand opening.

See other media coverage of the event:
WJLA reporter Heather Graf on November 14, 2019
NBC 4 reporter Drew Wilder on November 14, 2019.