County supervisors have approved a loan to finance 98 affordable, age-restricted homes in the Mt. Sterling development between Bartholomew Fair Drive and Potomac View Road in Sterling, next to Costco and Cascades Overlook.
The county will loan the developers, a partnership between the for-profit affordable housing developer Edmondson and Gallagher Property Services LLC and non-profit affordable housing developer Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, almost $6 million and waive $100,000 in fees. That will mean loaning out almost a quarter of the $24.5 million remaining in the county’s Housing Trust.
The developer is seeking several sources of funding, including state grants and a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant, and has agreed that any funding it obtained through those sources would reduce the loan amount needed from the county. Over the 40-year life of the loan, based on the full $5.975 million principal, the developer will pay back $12,176,859.
The developers proposed to build 98 apartments designed to be accessible to elderly residents and kept price-controlled for 75 years. The project will also have on-site services and programming for its residents.
The apartments will be priced for people making 30 percent or 50 percent of the area median income—in 2018, from $24,650 to $41,050 for a single person.
The apartments will be 30 percent more energy efficient than building code standards under the National Green Building Standard, which sets requirements for water efficiency, sustainable construction materials, indoor air quality, and operations and maintenance efficiency.
Ten of them will be accessible to mobility-impaired people, and two will be designed for visually- and hearing-impaired people. A further 10 units will be set aside to provide housing for seniors experiencing chronic homelessness, including services to support those seniors.
Those 98 units are 10 more than the minimum requirement of the county’s Affordable Dwelling Unit program. County staff members project over their 75 years, at full capacity the apartments would house 176 people.
“This is going to benefit a lot of folks, not just in Sterling but all of Loudoun County,” said Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling). “It’s helping us get to meet some of our needs. … Obviously, we’re not going to meet all of them, but this is definitely going to start the process, and get us hopefully moving forward and bringing more of these applications to our doorstep.”
Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian) reflected on the change from seven years ago at the beginning of her first term, when the county’s affordable housing efforts were limited.
“I’m very happy that all of this has opened us up to having an applicant come through saying, ‘how can I be creative, how can I be dynamic, how can I increase the yield for a diversity of housing,’” Volpe said.
County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said offering seniors options to age in place—without having to move away— is “huge.”
However, supervisors also said this application, in which Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) said the county has “boldly gone where we’ve never gone before,” has also been a learning experience and has unearthed questions in the county’s new venture to help finance affordable housing projects with loans. Buona wondered how county policy should balance and prioritize income levels, numbers of units, and amenities among affordable housing projects.
“We all have the same goals and the same intentions,” Buona said. “We all want to maximize the use of this trust.”
The price-controlled apartments will join 144 full-price condominiums with elevators and underground parking and 74 townhouses in the development, a project that replaced previous plans for 440 full-price age-restricted homes on the site.
Supervisors unanimously approved the loan.