Veterans affordable housing complex coming to Arlington
Former Arlington American Legion Post 139 building sold for $8.8 million
Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) has purchased the former Arlington American Legion Post 139 building for $8.8 million to construct apartment units and a new veterans programming center, Toronto, Canada-based real estate company Avison Young Inc. announced Monday.
The Arlington chapter of the American Legion — a national organization that provides programming for veterans — opened in 1947. It has served veterans returning from World War II and the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and Afghanistan wars.
The 182,000-square-foot development, Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place, will be a 160-unit, seven-story, mixed-use complex. Veterans will be given priority placement in half of the building’s one-, two- and three-bedroom housing units. The remaining 6,000 square feet will be dedicated to a new American Legion Post 139 building, which will include space for workforce development programs, counseling, community activity rooms and a computer lab. The building’s name is a nod to the project’s initial $1.5 million donation from The Terwilliger Family Foundation.
“I was pleased to fund this innovative project because Arlington is my hometown and I attended the Naval Academy,” Bruce Terwilliger said in a statement. “I want to support those who have served in our military and now need an affordable home.”
Located at 3445 Washington Blvd., the 1.3-acre site is less than a mile from George Mason University’s Arlington campus.
The project began in 2016 when American Legion Post 139 selected APAH to redevelop the aging site. Avison Young was approached by APAH in 2016 to market the site, led by Principals Jim Kornick and Chip Ryan, both in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.
“While other developers offered comparable prices with likely shorter timelines, Post 139 selected APAH because of a shared vision of veterans-preference affordable housing and ongoing services tailored to today’s veterans,” Kornick said in a statement.
The project took almost four years to secure zoning entitlement changes and debt and equity structure and is expected to cost $80 million, including $33.8 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) awarded by the Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA). Capital One purchased the tax credits and contributed $70,000 in predevelopment grants. VHDA and the state government also provided permanent loans for the project and Arlington County loaned $11.5 million.
“Arlington is proud to be one of the first communities in the nation to reach functional zero for veterans’ homelessness,” Libby Garvey, chair of the Arlington County board, said in a statement. “Today we look forward to a completed Terwilliger Place that will help us ensure that we continue helping veterans find an affordable place to call home right here in Arlington.”
APAH officials also say that the project can be replicated by other veteran-focused organizations.
“Thousands of veteran-serving organizations across the nation have similar challenges, they have land, but their facilities are aging and not attracting younger veterans,” APAH CEO Nina Janopaul said in a statement. “There are more 20,000 veteran-serving organizations like Post 139 across the nation. Imagine the difference it would make for veterans and affordable housing if even a fraction of them replicate this model.”
The project is expected to take approximately 26 months to complete and is expected to be finished in 2022.