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Park Shirlington owner nabs federal funding to assist with renovations and affordability

The owner of garden apartments on the edge of the Fairlington neighborhood nabbed $46.6 million in federal loans to help keep the units affordable and fund upgrades.

Over the last two years, Standard Communities, which owns Park Shirlington (4510 31st Street S.), has been amassing funding — including from Arlington County — to keep the nearly 300 units on site affordable to people earning up to 60% of the area median income, while funding renovations and new construction work.

Last week, commercial real estate company Walker & Dunlop announced it had helped the company nab the $46.6 million in federal funds, on top of $31.9 million in loans from the Arlington County Affordable Housing Investment Fund.

With the new federal loans, it is able to keep the units affordable at least through 2053, according to the announcement.

“Transitioning Park Shirlington from market rate to committed affordable housing was an ambitious but critical objective given the affordable housing landscape in Arlington and many other high-opportunity locations,” said Scott Alter, the co-founder, and principal of Standard Communities, in a statement.

“Standard Communities is proud to have successfully worked with so many other committed stakeholders to ensure that Park Shirlington provides nearly 300 high-quality, affordable housing units for decades to come,” he continued.

Chris Rumul, the leader of Walker & Dunlop’s Federal Housing Administration team, says the availability of affordable housing is a national concern but this complex “is an excellent example of how the federal government, local municipalities, and private investors can collaborate to be part of the solution.”

Arlington County has already done its part, loaning some $31.9 million from its Affordable Housing Investment Fund over the course of 2021 and 2022. This included a $6 million loan that helped Standard Communities purchase the property in 2017, preventing market-rate developers from taking it over and building more expensive housing.

With the new funding, renovation and construction work could start this August, an employee at Park Shirlington said this afternoon, adding that tenants would be notified once renovations begin.

The work was initially predicted to start soon after the close of county financing last fall and wrap up in 2024.

The property owner proposes to build new community center with a co-working space and management office. It will renovate 293 existing units and turn the leasing office into a 294th unit.

The renovations include new kitchens and bathrooms, new boilers and chillers, rooftop solar panels, a new community building with a fitness center, hallway upgrades and exterior work, according to a 2022 report from Arlington County.

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