APAH Housing Initiative Treads on New Ground


(Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:02 AM EDT)

When the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) formed in 1989, one of its goals was eventually to acquire the Courthouse Crossings garden apartment complex in North Arlington.

Now, that goal has been reached.

APAH purchased the complex from Paradigm Development in late May last year and will celebrate its grand reopening on Sept. 25.

Courthouse Crossings and APAH have been “intertwined from the beginning,” said the organization's president, Nina Janopaul in a recent interview. “It's like a welcome home.”

Courthouse Crossings, on North Scott Street, was Arlington's first property financed by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, a program created by the federal government that gives tax breaks to companies or private investors who financially support a low-income housing project.

APAH worked with Alliant Capital, a Los Angeles-based investor, to purchase and upgrade the 112-unit property, and was able to make every unit in the complex available to households earning $35,000 to $55,000 per year. Rents for those units have dropped 26 to 35 percent from before the renovation.

Upgrades to the building include new cabinets, carpeting, windows, appliances and central heating and air conditioning in each of the units, as well as new stairwells and awnings and a revamped swimming area.

Janopaul said that the organization would like to “follow the trend” and make all its properties fully available to low- and moderate-income households, but this will not be possible in all cases.

For some of the organization's other complexes, such as Parc Rosslyn, finances only will allow for approximately 40-percent-affordable housing. The rest of the units are rented at higher, market rates.

But “when we can make the finances work, let's make it 100 percent affordable,” Janopaul said.

Courthouse Crossings has more two- and three-bedroom units than most Arlington properties, making it an attractive choice for households with children.

Prior to APAH's purchase of the property, there were only about 30 children under the age of 18 living at Courthouse Crossings complex. Now, there are about 65 families who live in the complex, with approximately 120 children.

Eric Richards, a medical student at Georgetown University, his wife, Lindsay, and their 18-month-old daughter live in one of the two-bedroom, two-bath units.

“We were excited because [the complex] had some affordable housing,” Lindsay Richards said. “We love being so close to the city. We love the area. It's really accessible to everything.”

Three buildings of the Courthouse Corssings complex are already full and residents will be able to move into the final building at the end of the month.

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