December 21, 2018
Fairfax County Preserves Over 400 Units of Affordable Housing
Murraygate, Parkwood to bring much-needed private investment, long-term affordability to redeveloping areas
Fairfax County has taken another step forward in preserving the community’s essential affordable housing stock. The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), the county’s affordable housing financing agency, has closed on financing totaling over $50 million in private equity generated FCRHA tax-exempt bonds, and nearly $6 million in Fairfax County funds, for the preservation and rehabilitation of two affordable housing communities; Murraygate Village Apartments (Lee District) and Parkwood Apartments (Mason District).
The renovation of FCRHA-owned Murraygate Village Apartments is already underway with upgrades to electrical services in each of the 200 units being completed in June 2018. As part of the next phase, renovations will focus on modernizing the community and will include kitchen and bathroom upgrades and the replacement of the current HVAC system with individual heat pumps for improved energy efficiency. The project will also increase the number of accessible apartment units from eight to ten. The development cost for the rehabilitation includes $20 million in FCRHA tax-exempt bonds and $3.7 million in Housing Blueprint Funds from Fairfax County. Murraygate serves households at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). This equates to a four-person household earning approximately $70,000 or below.
“As the county continues to grow and expand, we must make it our top priority to preserve and expand our affordable housing stock,” said Supervisor Jeff McKay of the Lee District. “The preservation and renovation of Murraygate will not only provide quality, affordable housing for years to come, it will also support the continuing evolution of the Richmond Highway corridor as envisioned by the EMBARK process, and will add to the county’s overall economic competitiveness.” Renovations are expected to be completed in 2020.
Parkwood Apartments, in the Culmore area, consisting of 221 units in 17 buildings, will also benefit from FCRHA financing. Purchased in 2017 by a privately held real estate investment group, MRK Partners, the development was awarded tax-exempt bonds from the FCRHA totaling $30 million and $2.5 million in Housing Blueprint Funds from the county. The rehabilitation of the community will include kitchen and bathroom upgrades in all units, and exterior and structural updates to the roofs and plumbing systems. In addition, the leasing office, as well as the laundry and community room, will be renovated. Thirteen units will be updated to meet the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, consisting of lowered cabinets and countertops and widened clearances for wheel chair access. The project will also add four affordable units within the existing buildings. The renovations to Parkwood Apartments are expected to take a year to complete and will benefit households at 60 percent of AMI.
“With partnerships and creative financing options, we are able to rehabilitate and preserve Parkwood Apartments,” notes Supervisor Penny Gross of the Mason District. “The FCRHA’s ability to issue tax-exempt bonds, and the county’s use of Housing Blueprint Funds, guarantees that 225 units of existing affordable housing in the Mason District will be available for another 30 years to support areas like Bailey’s Crossroads and Culmore, which could be in ground zero for the ‘Amazon effect’ on housing affordability.”
The financing process for both projects benefited directly from one of the strategies identified in Phase One of Fairfax County’s Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan. Specifically, the streamlining of the Housing Blueprint application. The process is now better aligned with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) application cycle; increasing the efficiency of the financing process, lowering local developer costs, and increasing opportunities for the development of housing for low- and moderate-income working families in the County.
For more information on the Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan, please visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing/communitywideplan. For more information on available funding opportunities under the FCRHA and the County, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing.