August 4, 2020
Community Housing Partners, Pennrose, and Fairfax County commemorated the start of construction of the long-awaited Residences at North Hill housing development in Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon District with a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 31.
“After years of planning and community discussions, we are thrilled to break ground on North Hill today,” said Samantha Brown, Vice President of Real Estate Development, at the event. “This development will be more than an apartment or a townhouse to the residents who live here. It will be their home, part of a larger neighborhood with community amenities and a public park, and it will be an asset to the region. We hope that North Hill will be a catalyst for future development along Richmond Highway as part of Fairfax County’s ongoing revitalization efforts.”
Located off Richmond Highway on a vacant 35-acre site owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the $174 million development will include 216 affordable rental apartments, 63 affordable senior independent living apartments, 175 market rate townhomes, and a 12-acre public park.
“For more than 30 years, we have been working to develop an extraordinary plan for this property that would help us meet a critical community need and serve as a keystone project in the continuing redevelopment of the Richmond Highway Corridor. Today we are set to achieve just that,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Dan Storck, who represents the Mount Vernon District. “Residences at North Hill reaffirms our vision of One Fairfax through inclusive development—that all in Fairfax County will move into the future together by ensuring that new development and redevelopment includes housing opportunities for residents from all along the income spectrum and that no one will be left behind.”
The 279 affordable rental units will be located within five, four-story buildings fronting Richmond Highway. The residential buildings will include garden-style apartments, with a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom options available. The units will be allocated to serve a mixture of households along the income spectrum – 10 percent of the units will serve households earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), 20 percent will serve households at 50 percent AMI, and 70 percent will serve households at 60 percent AMI.
“We’re very excited to work with the County and Community Housing Partners to bring much needed housing and public amenities to the community,” said Ivy Dench-Carter, Regional Vice President at Pennrose. “The planned development will take a vacant, underutilized site and transform it into a true community asset, with public space, parking, and mixed-income housing.”
Residents will enjoy access to community spaces, on-site exercise facilities, surface and basement level parking, and an adjacent public park with a tot lot, public plaza, trails, and picnic areas. In addition to rental apartments, plans for the site also include 175 new for-sale townhomes.
North Hill sits within the boundaries of the county’s larger development initiative for this stretch of Richmond Highway called EMBARK Richmond Highway – an initiative to provide multimodal transportation solutions and create opportunities for economic development in the Richmond Highway Corridor. There are nine areas of concentration in EMBARK, each surrounding a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station. The public plaza at the site will serve as an important anchor for a future BRT station.
Financing for the development includes Housing Tax Credits allocated by Virginia Housing; tax-exempt and taxable construction and permanent financing by Virginia Housing; CDBG funding and Project-Based vouchers from Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority; HOME and state and local housing trust funds from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development; and construction financing and equity investments from Bank of America and Truist Bank. The project also includes $4.4 million in local financing through the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority – about $16,000 per apartment. (Read more about the closing on the Residences at North Hill.)
“When the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority acquired this property more some 30-plus years ago, it was clear that planning and providing for its development would be a monumental undertaking,” recalled Tom Fleetwood, Director of Fairfax County’s Department of Housing and Community Development. “From top to bottom, we have seen a level of collaboration, innovation and engagement unlike any other for a project of this magnitude – even amidst the turbulence of COVID-19. It is a reflection of our commitment to achieving nothing less than success when it comes to creating new opportunities for affordable housing.”