APAH Celebrates the Grand Opening of its Newest Affordable, Sustainable, Transit Oriented Development, Further Advancing the County’s Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study
Arlington, VA, June 29, 2021 – Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) celebrates the grand opening of its newest affordable housing community—Queens Court Apartments. Located at 1615 18th Street N., Arlington, VA, this 12-story, 249-unit apartment complex replaced 39 garden apartments built back in 1940. Given the severe shortage of committed affordable units in Arlington, this community will not only replace the existing 39 apartments but add an additional 210 units of critically needed housing that is guaranteed to remain affordable for the next 75 years.
“We are excited to be cutting the ribbon, signifying a new chapter in the lives of 249 individuals and families who will call this community home,” said Nina Janopaul, APAH President and CEO. “Our largest and most ambitious project to date, Queens Court makes a significant dent in meeting the area’s affordable housing goals and provides beautiful, affordable homes to essential workers, seniors, and so many others earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income.”
“I’m proud to join the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and the Arlington community to celebrate the Grand Opening of this new apartment complex,” said Senator Mark Warner. “With affordable housing continuing to be a challenge all across the country, these new apartments will help attract more folks to live, work, and raise a family in the Commonwealth.”
“Quality affordable housing units are in high demand in Arlington. This project adds to our supply of units and does so in a needed area of Rosslyn,” said County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti. “We are proud to support this project to help fulfill a critical goal we share with APAH: housing affordability for years to come in a location that is accessible and will help the neighborhood, residents, and our community thrive.”
The County Board, via its Affordable Housing Investment Fund, approved a $16.7 million loan to support the project.
Virginia Housing awarded APAH both 4% and 9% tax credits to generate $43 million in equity investment. In addition, APAH drew on a range of Virginia Housing programs, including long term taxable and tax exempt loans totaling $28.565M, including $19.05M in low-interest loans through the REACH and REACH Plus programs, and short term tax exempt construction financing of $16.4M to provide additional $44.9 million in support for the $107 million project.
“Virginia Housing is so proud to be a financial partner in this exciting project, and we’re even prouder of the benefits that it will bring to the Arlington community,” said Susan Dewey, CEO of Virginia Housing. “Safe, quality affordable housing reduces homelessness, provides ADA-compliant living spaces for people who need it, enables student success in the classroom, and supports the local workforce by cutting the time spent on the commute. By offering 249 affordable, conveniently-located apartment homes, Queens Court will pay dividends in this community for years to come.”
In its sixth project with APAH, Bank of America is the project’s equity investor, purchasing $43 million of equity in the Queens Court project, and is providing a $26 million construction loan.
“APAH is a terrific partner for Bank of America in our shared priority of developing more affordable housing options to families in Arlington County,” said Larry Di Rita, Bank of America President of Greater Washington, DC.
Additional support for the project included a Virginia Housing Trust Fund Loan ($700,000); and award ($500,000) from the Federal Home Loan Bank – Atlanta, Affordable Housing Program; and, an APAH Sponsor Loan of $15.94 million.
The Queens Court redevelopment project is part of the broader Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS) adopted by the County Board in 2015. Carmen Romero, APAH’s Executive Vice President and soon to be CEO, served as a member of the WRAPS Working Group, a group responsible for creating an Area Plan and concrete implementation recommendations that would make possible the County’s vision for the area.
“WRAPS originally included goals for the addition of new market rate housing, a fire station, a new public secondary school, as well as recreation and open space,” said Romero. “APAH worked relentlessly to ensure affordable housing was a strategic addition to the plan, and fought to secure rezoning approval that would allow us to take a creative approach in maximizing density on the site.”
The new site boasts a range of features including a mix of studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units; spacious community rooms and amenity spaces, including terrace access with views of the Arlington skyline; energy efficiency and sustainable design principles; and art commissioned by local artists. The site also offers a fresh architectural approach that allows the property to blend with existing design aesthetics while creating a great urban place to live and play.
As the Queens Court general contractor, Donohoe Construction Company delivered the project under budget, ahead of schedule, and most importantly, safely during an ongoing pandemic. “Donohoe is thrilled to build this property for APAH and for the Arlington community,” said Neal Frumkin, Donohoe Project Executive. “This property is a barrier free, green, and certified EarthCraft Gold development project that we are extremely proud to have constructed.”
“The building’s design responded to the variety of conditions surrounding the site, and is conscious of the past, present, and future community in which it is located,” said Chris Gordon, Principal and co-President, KGD Architecture. “Building material and details were selected to reference the original context in color and scale and also to create a dynamic fenestration that reflects the movement around the newly created public open space.”
That open space represents a significant value-add to the redevelopment. APAH’s contribution is a 9,000 square-foot park and playground located within the Queens Court property and dedicated by the organization to the broader Arlington community. This park is one piece of a network of parks created in the Rosslyn Highlands Park Coordinated Open Spaces Plan, an intentionally designed use of 60,000 square feet of passive and active recreation and open space.
Recently recognized by Niche.com as one of the “2021 Best Cities to Live in America,” Arlington offers a unique blend of culture, community, and commerce. With a growing and increasingly diverse population of about 236,842, Arlington serves as a major employment and entertainment hub with access to restaurants, shopping, jobs and more.
Queens Court—situated near Lee Highway, I-66, and Wilson Boulevard—is a Transit Oriented Development conveniently located within a quarter mile of the Rosslyn and Courthouse metro stations and over 16 bus routes at the Rosslyn station alone. This level of access to on-site and community amenities, as well as proximity to major transit corridors, creates a new affordable housing living experience for many future residents.
About APAH: APAH’s mission is to develop, preserve, and own quality, affordable places to live; to promote stability and opportunity for our residents; and to advocate with the people and communities we serve. Founded in 1989, APAH now helps more than 2,000 households live in stable, secure, and affordable rental homes. APAH has 500 affordable apartments under construction and an additional 1,000 in its development pipeline. APAH’s Columbia Hills Apartments, received the 2019 ULI Washington Trends Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. And both Columbia Hills and Gilliam Place, APAH’s two most recent projects, were recognized as Virginia’s Best Affordable Housing project by Virginia Housing. In 2020, APAH was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. The organization was named 2021 Developer of the Year by HAND, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers.