By Arya Hodjat | email@example.com
City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to loan $1.8 million to the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation for the acquisition of The Ellsworth, an apartment complex AHDC intends to maintain as affordable housing.
The 20-unit complex, located at 280 Seay St., is the city’s latest effort to obtain more affordable housing units. The city lost 90 percent of its affordable housing stock between 2000 and 2017, according to a 2017 city report.
The loan comes from the City of Alexandria Housing Opportunities Fund, according to a memo to the city from Jonathan Frederick, executive director of AHDC. The Ellsworth currently has rents serving those who make just above 60 percent of the area median income, Frederick said.
“As many garden style apartments in Alexandria, the rents have continually increased over the years and we believe this is a good opportunity to preserve existing market affordable housing in a location that provides operational efficiencies for AHDC,” Frederick said in the memo.
AHDC plans to preserve four of the units for residents making 50 percent of the AMI, and 16 units for those at 60 percent of the AMI, Frederick said.
Helen McIlvaine, the city’s director of housing, said the property was especially appealing to the AHDC, as it is directly adjacent to the Longview Terrace apartment complex, a 41-unit complex already in the AHDC’s possession. “
This strikes me as a little different than some of the work we’ve done in the past,” Mayor Justin Wilson said at Tuesday’s legislative meeting. “This is a little bit of affordable housing land-banking… we’re essentially setting the table for future redevelopment.”
“Having two properties that are so close together just gives you efficiency in how they’re managed,” McIlvaine said. “It gives the AHDC the opportunity to acquire a property that could potentially in the future be redeveloped to have many more units.”
Affordable housing developments that the AHDC is working on include a 97- unit project at the former Carpenter’s Shelter site on North Henry Street and a 74-unit project at the West Alex mixed use development site on King and Beauregard streets, according to the AHDC website.