City of Fairfax’s Only Dedicated-Affordable Apartment Community Undergoes $6.7 Million Green Renovation
Nonprofit developer commits to preserving affordability, reducing environmental impact in Northern Virginia
Fairfax, VA., September 20, 2012 – Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne and City Manager Bob Sisson today joined residents of West Wood Oaks Apartments, located in the heart of Fairfax, to celebrate the community’s $6.7 million green renovation and brand-new clubhouse, just completed by Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC). Known as Suburbia Fairfax before the renovation, the 54-unit property is the only dedicated-affordable property in the City of Fairfax by virtue of its income restrictions.
As Northern Virginia’s economy continues to thrive, rents have outpaced household incomes, meaning that families must spend more of their hard-earned dollars on housing costs. A study by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition showed that a household in Fairfax must earn $60,240 per year to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment, a level that is out of reach for many types of professions, such as teachers, social workers, and health care workers.
The renovation of West Wood Oaks will ensure quality apartments at rents affordable to many families who otherwise could not afford to live in Fairfax. The property includes 39 apartments reserved for households earning 50 percent or less of area median, considering their family size. Rents for these apartments are 25 percent lower than the average apartment rent in the City of Fairfax. The other 15 apartments are reserved for households earning 51 to 95 percent of the area median.
“This residential community has been a great asset to the city, helping to ensure that people who work in the area can afford to live here,” said Silverthorne. “We are delighted that CPDC decided to preserve and update the property for the long term with this wonderful green renovation and beautiful new clubhouse.”
“Our mission is to ensure that communities include high-quality housing that families of all incomes can afford, and we certainly have that here in the City of Fairfax,” stated CPDC President and CEO J. Michael Pitchford. “As Northern Virginia grows, thrives and becomes a more expensive area, it’s critical that we preserve affordable communities like West Wood Oaks that are near good jobs, good schools, good services, and good transportation,” he observed.
Wilma Huff moved to West Wood Oaks 35 years ago after praying to find a safe, affordable place to call home near her job, then at the National Bank of Fairfax. She moved on to a 25-year career with the City of Fairfax, appreciating her convenient location less than a mile from City Hall and the friendliness of her neighbors. Recently retired, Huff now can stay in a renovated apartment near doctors, shopping, and good neighbors. “I feel fortunate to have a beautiful new apartment in a place that is really a small community, rather than an apartment building,” she said. “I commend the owners for improving the property and keeping it affordable for the next generation.”
CPDC made extensive improvements to the two apartment buildings and to each apartment. Designed to meet Enterprise Green Communities and EarthCraft Virginia Standards for green building, the buildings feature solar panels on the roofs that assist its new hot water heaters, a system that reduces dependence on natural gas by an estimated 40 percent. Upgraded kitchens have EnergyStar-certified appliances; upgraded baths have low-flow toilets. HVAC systems have been replaced by high-efficiency, 15-SEER systems. Six apartments also meet universal design standards for people with disabilities.
In addition, CPDC built a new community clubhouse, effectively incorporating the property’s distinctive 1970s mansard roofs into the clubhouse’s more contemporary design. The new brick building includes a spacious great room, kitchen, and comfortable seating for watching sporting events and movies on the large drop-down screen. Additional community gathering space is available on the clubhouse patio, which features grills, tables, and chairs.
The renovation was financed with nine percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits issued by the Virginia Housing Development Authority and purchased by Enterprise Community Investment, who also provided the permanent loan. Virginia Community Capital provided the construction loan. Weincek + Associates Architects and Planners of Washington, D.C., was the architect for the renovations, and the general contractor was Harkins Builders of Marriottsville, Md. The new construction and renovation work provided 58 full-time jobs for mechanics and laborers.
A premier developer of affordable housing in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) works to develop vibrant communities through innovation and partnership. The organization currently owns more than 4,000 dedicated affordable apartments within 26 communities, with resident engagement programs at many of its properties serving more than 9,000 residents. More about the company is available at www.cpdc.org.