On Tuesday, May 18, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized the issuance of tax-exempt multifamily housing revenue bonds by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) in an amount not to exceed $20 million to help finance the development of 150 senior independent living apartments in the Lee District. These homes, known as the Oakwood Residences, will benefit older adults aged 62 and up whose combined household income is no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
“Tax-Exempt Revenue Bonds”
A debt investment in which bond holders/purchasers (private individuals, commercial banks, etc.) loan money to the FCRHA for a specified purpose. Revenue bonds are supported by the revenue generated from the property. The bonds are “tax-exempt” because they are not subject to federal, and in some cases, state and local income taxes. These bonds are different from the “General Obligation” bonds issued by the County which require approval of voters through a ballot referendum.
“This is yet another very positive and exciting step in the transformation of what is now a stormwater retention area into an affordable housing community that will enable many of our older neighbors the independence and opportunity to age in place and remain actively connected to the community,” said Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk.
About the Oakwood Residences
The Oakwood Residences, to be developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), will be constructed on the 6.2-acre site located at the intersection of Oakwood Road and South Van Dorn Street in Alexandria. The property is owned by the FCRHA. In addition to the investment of public land and these approved revenue bonds, the county has also approved $5.25 million in Housing Blueprint funds to finance site work.
“Fairfax County values the contributions of our seniors and the FCRHA is committed to ensuring that our older residents have access to the independence, security, and stability that comes when they are able to live in a home with a rent they can afford,” said FCRHA Chairman Melissa McKenna. “Using public land, local dollars and our bond issuing authority for the Oakwood Residences is exemplary of that commitment to develop beautiful, supportive, and sustainable housing for older adults all across the county.”
The development will feature landscaped areas, resident services offices, and communal multipurpose spaces to allow for computer/library and meeting areas. The development will also include services and programs that support all residents – including wellness programs and activities.
The project is expected to close on financing in the summer of 2021.
Revenue Bonds and Affordable Housing
Bond financing has long been a valuable financing mechanism to support the acquisition, new construction and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing developments. FCRHA revenue bonds have been successfully used in a number of recent affordable housing developments, including:
- One University (120 units of multifamily housing and 120 units of independent living senior housing for households earning 60 percent AMI or less)
- Ovation at Arrowbrook (274 units multifamily rental housing with a range of affordability from 30 to 60 percent AMI)
- Murraygate Apartments renovations (200 units of multifamily rental housing all available to households earning 60 percent AMI or less)
- Residences at Government Center (270 units of multifamily rental housing affordable to households earning 60 percent AMI or less)