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Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place Provides Affordable Apartment Homes to Veterans and Arlington

By: APAH

September 27, 2022

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) celebrates the grand opening of Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place, the nonprofit developer’s new affordable housing development and new space for American Legion Post 139 in Arlington’s Virginia Square neighborhood. APAH was joined by its partners, funders, supporters, and the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to cut the ribbon and commemorate the building’s opening.

Located at 3445 Washington Boulevard, just 1,500 feet from the Virginia Square-GMU Metro, Terwilliger Place is a 160-unit affordable rental community, featuring a modern 6,000-square-foot ground floor space for American Legion Post 139. The certified EarthCraft Gold building also includes community and multi-purpose spaces, a counseling office, and a business center. Terwilliger Place has a 50% veteran preference, and 26 units are deeply affordable to households earning 30% of the area median income (AMI).

Project Origins

In 2016, American Legion Post 139 selected APAH as to redevelop their 1.3-acre site to create affordable apartment homes and a new Legion Post in response to an aging facility and diminishing membership. Post 139 members saw redevelopment as an opportunity to transform their site in addition to their programs and services offered to local veterans while providing critically needed affordable homes. APAH guided the project through the Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road Special General Land Use Plan (GLUP) Study in 2017, which unlocked greater site density. The project was approved for rezoning and gap financing from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund in 2019.

APAH skillfully balanced the underwriting parameters to enable this project and Loudoun View Senior to win 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) in 2019. The project broke ground in May 2020 and welcomed the first residents in July 2022. “Terwilliger Place represents innovative housing at its finest, scaling seven-stories high, totaling 160 mixed-use affordable apartments with a veteran preference, right here in Arlington,” says APAH President and CEO, Carmen Romero. “A first of its kind in this region.”

Focus on Veterans

The DC Metro region is home to one of the country’s largest and youngest veteran populations, who contribute to a culture of leadership and civic responsibility. Situated in a high opportunity location just steps from public transit, George Mason University’s Arlington campus, a grocery store, plus many jobs and services, this new development is centrally located near the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Meyer, Henderson Hall, and multiple military memorials. Terwilliger Place provides critical affordable housing as well as veteran-focused services through APAH’s certified Resident Services Program.

The Honorable Denis McDonough, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, joined APAH to cut the ribbon and share the project’s impact on the veteran community. “This strategy is replicable in other locations. It can be a successful blueprint to help increase the stock of housing dedicated to veterans and provide more opportunities for those who have served,” noted Secretary McDonough. “Because no veteran should be homeless in the country they fought to defend.”

“Our mission to serve veterans and their families has never been clearer or more important,” said Post Commander, Bob Romano. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with APAH and raising the flag at our new Post.” American Legion Post 139 used land sale proceeds to build a brand new 6,000 square foot condo space, which will include gathering and private counseling spaces, a commercial kitchen, and additional resources for local veterans. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2022.

Terwilliger Place serves as a model for other communities throughout Virginia and the country. Many veteran-serving organizations own aging facilities and experience declining membership, an opportunity ripe for redevelopment. “Our new location will allow the Post to attract and support a younger generation of members. It’s a place where veterans can mingle, have a beer, and socialize in a comfortable atmosphere,” says Mr. Romano.

Ron Terwilliger’s Philanthropic Vision

Terwilliger Place is the first APAH property where philanthropy has played a pivotal role. The Terwilliger Family Foundation provided the lead gift of $1.5 million. In conjunction with the building’s Grand Opening, the foundation committed additional funding to support the first three years of onsite resident services. Ron Terwilliger is a renowned multi-family developer and national advocate for affordable housing. The project is named Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place in honor of his parents.

Ron Terwilliger began his life in Arlington, growing up modestly in South Arlington and attending Barcroft Elementary School. At Wakefield High School, he excelled in academics and athletics, and went on to attend the US Naval Academy. After leaving the Navy and graduating from Harvard Business School, Ron had a successful real estate career, serving as CEO of Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) from 1986 to 2008. During his leadership, TCR was the largest developer of multi-family housing in the nation.

“As a child, my father worked two jobs to make sure that we had a safe, stable home right here in Arlington. His sacrifices gave Bruce and me the chance to attend good schools and pursue our dreams,” Ron Terwilliger said. “Today, the high cost of housing puts that dream out of reach for too many families. Projects like this are essential to helping people of all incomes and backgrounds continue to call Arlington home.”

More than 50 donors joined Mr. Terwilliger in giving to APAH’s Uniting to Serve capital campaign, including Amazon, which provided $1 million through the Arlington Community Foundation. In total, more than $4 million in philanthropic funding was raised to make the project a reality, allowing additional units to be deeply affordable to those earning 30% AMI. Donors who contributed to the Uniting to Serve campaign are honored in a custom installation in the lobby by local artist, Elizabeth Kendall.

Project Financing and Partners

The $77 million project includes $33.8 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) awarded by the Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA). Capital One, in partnership with the National Equity Fund as syndicator, purchased the tax credits and provided $70,000 in predevelopment grants from Capital One’s Community Impact & Investment team. “Capital One is thrilled to have played a role in the realization of Terwilliger Place,” said Ed Delany, Senior Director of Community Finance at Capital One. “We congratulate APAH, Post 139, and the other partners involved in creating much-needed homes for our veterans and neighbors.”

In addition to tax credits, VHDA also provided a direct permanent loan, a loan through its Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing in Virginia (REACH Virginia) programs, and a grant for pre-development work. The Commonwealth of Virginia provided a permanent loan from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Arlington County provided a $13.9 million loan. “Arlington County is committed to providing opportunities for all residents, including those who served our country. A stable, affordable home is critical to that goal,” says County Board Chair, Katie Cristol.

Terwilliger Place Features and Amenities

The newly constructed, certified EarthCraft Gold property creates 160 units of affordable housing, half of which feature a veteran preference. Designed by Davis Carter Scott (DCS Design) and constructed by CBG Building Company, Terwilliger Place boasts a mix of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units to accommodate families. Kia Weatherspoon of Determined by Design, an Air Force veteran herself, provided the interior design and state of the art finishes with the needs of residents and functional beauty in mind. “We wanted to create something that is about connection, legacy, and reimagining,” said Ms. Weatherspoon.

Common spaces throughout the property include private counseling spaces, a computer lab, dedicated offices for leasing and Resident Services programming, multipurpose and flexible spaces, and an outdoor courtyard plus playground for residents to enjoy.

Terwilliger Place exemplifies innovative community partnerships, the power of philanthropy, and service to our neighbors and veterans. The project serves as a model for future development throughout the region and the country. Terwilliger Place resident and veteran, Robert Davis, describes “…the peace and comfort of having my own space that I can afford. I watched this property being built from the ground up… it is incredible to come home to every day!” said Mr. Davis. Read the full project case study at the APAH website.

About APAH

Founded in 1989, APAH now helps more than 2,600 households live in stable, secure, and affordable rental homes. APAH has more than 300 affordable apartments under construction and an additional 1,500 in its development pipeline. APAH’s Columbia Hills Apartments received the 2019 ULI Washington Trends Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. And both Columbia Hills and Gilliam Place were recognized as Virginia’s Best Affordable Housing project by Virginia Housing. In 2020, APAH was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. HAND, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, awarded APAH as 2021 Developer of the Year and 2022 Best Large Affordable Housing Development for Queens Court.

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