(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A progressive group says an Amazon- and county-funded plan to keep the Barcroft Apartments affordable will actually displace low-income residents.
The more than $300 million purchase of the 60-acre, 1,334-unit complex along Columbia Pike will take what are currently aging but affordable market-rate apartments and renovate or reconstruct them, while converting them to dedicated affordable units.
The hasty and hefty purchase happened, county officials said, in response to the possibility that the complex could be redeveloped without affordability protections. That is what happened to the nearby Columbia Gardens Apartments, which are being torn down to make way for townhouses.
But the group Asian American Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Collaborative (ACE), an offshoot of Alexandria-based New Virginia Majority, says the Barcroft Apartments plan is flawed and will actually displace some long-time residents. The rent they are currently paying, according to rates listed online, is actually lower than the dedicated affordable rates that the rents could eventually rise to.
ACE is holding a rally this afternoon at Doctor’s Run Park, across the street from the apartments in the Douglas Park neighborhood, to speak out against what it says is the “predicted displacement of Arlington tenants within next year in [the] highly diverse Barcroft Apartments.”
From a press release:
On May 12, 2022 at 4 p.m., Asian American Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Collaborative (ACE) organizers and tenants from Barcroft Apartments will hold a press conference and rally at Doctor’s Run Park, 1301 S. George Mason Drive. During the press conference, tenants will share their experiences trying to prepare for skyrocketing rental costs, and organizers will reveal the results of a recently completed survey conducted by organizers and Marymount University predicting tenant displacement of low-income residents.
Barcroft Apartments provides a home to one of the most culturally-diverse neighborhoods in the area, and was recently sold to new owners Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners. The current agreement involving Arlington County, Jair Lynch Real Estate Partner, and Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund risks displacing long time tenants in the upcoming years because their rental rates will be increased by 3% every year up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) starting next year. A majority of the long-time tenants that were surveyed by ACE make below 60% AMI which also increased this year as well.
Tefera Negash, a five year tenant, said, “This was the last place in this area that was in our budget. This will bring too much inconvenience in our life on top of the economic difficulties we are experiencing recently.”
Nupur Chowdhury, community organizer for ACE said, “I’m a Bangladeshi-American living here in Arlington. My family and I have lived in Barcroft for 17 years. As someone who is living and active in this community, I am afraid that the scheduled rent increases year after year will make it too expensive for our diverse community to continue living here.”
Asked about the rally, Arlington County Housing Director Anne Venezia said she and Jair Lynch, the developer that is buying the complex with the loans from Amazon and Arlington, have been in touch with ACE.
“No Barcroft residents are being displaced,” Venezia asserted.
She issued the following statement in response to inquiries from ARLnow.
The Jair Lynch team and I have been working one-on-one with ACE since early this year. Last week we spoke with them directly to talk about their survey, the results, and their concerns. Our conversations have been collegial and constructive. We continue to share that no Barcroft residents are being displaced. Starting in 2023, rents may increase a maximum of 3% annually, up to the 60% AMI rent limit. The County remains committed to working with residents who need financial assistance. Last Friday and again this Tuesday, I followed up with additional information for families facing financial hardship, including a handout in 11 different languages about existing County programs that they could share with any residents. We are working to connect struggling families with rental resources, such as housing grants, including the potential for an information event about County resources at the property. County staff continues to be available to ACE and all Barcroft residents and to provide information and resources as needed. The Arlington Department of Human Services team is also available to help Barcroft residents with assistance for food, rent, and other services, regardless of immigration status. Residents can call 703-228-1300.
A representative with Jair Lynch echoed Venezia in saying that no residents will be displaced.
“We remain firm to ensuring no Barcroft residents will be displaced regardless of income,” said Mark Hannan, an investment associate for the D.C.-based developer. “As we have stated publicly previously and have discussed with both ACE and New Virginia Majority, rents for existing residents will not increase in 2022. We are committed to working closely with our residents to ensure apartment homes and rents are commensurate with their personal financial situation.”
John Snyder, chair of the Columbia Pike Partnership (formerly CPRO) and a supporter of the acquisition, said without the purchase of the property “the most likely outcome would be displacement of all the Barcroft residents.”
“The Columbia Pike Partnership and the rest of the Pike community want our neighbors in the Barcroft Apartments to be able to stay,” he told ARLnow. “That is why we have supported the Pike Neighborhoods Plan, which emphasizes preserving all the affordable housing on the Pike, and the purchase by the Jair Lynch organization late last year with the help of the County and Amazon.”
“Now comes the hard part. Fixing up and maintaining the old buildings at Barcroft — all built by 1952 — while keeping rents affordable for as many people as possible is a really difficult financial challenge,” Snyder added. “And it is right to point out the impact of the rent increases. Everyone involved has the same goal. Together we need to figure out how to get the best outcome.”
A spokeswoman for New Virginia Majority declined to answer questions from ARLnow in advance of today’s press conference, including whether it has a specific proposal for preventing Barcroft Apartments residents from being displaced, saying that such questions can be asked of ACE director Mitchell Yangson during a Q&A portion of the press conference.
ACE, which describes itself as “a nonprofit, non-partisan Asian American community building group with members who primarily live in the Columbia Pike and Rosslyn-Ballston Corridors,” first reached out to ARLnow last year. Today’s rally is the first Arlington event for which the group has sent out a press release since a pair of events last year linking affordable housing in Arlington and Amazon’s new HQ2.
The 2021 events included a rally dubbed “Stop the Push Out” and an online town hall meeting discussing “a recent report that highlights the ongoing and uniquely devastating effect of Amazon’s new development in Arlington.”
Last week, after years of housing policy discussion, the Arlington County Board made the bold move of rezoning most of the county’s residential areas. The unanimous final vote did not…
Post Office Dedicated to Mail Carrier — “Local leaders, family members of Jesus Collazos and community members gathered at the U.S. Post Office on N. George Mason Drive in Arlington…
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 21693 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
Today may be rainy, but in general the weather is getting warmer, the cherry blossoms are in peak bloom, and it’s a great time to get out of the house….
Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve