The lack of affordable housing is a problem nationwide but the Washington DC metro area is feeling the pinch more than ever before. The solution is complex but every step toward improvement can make important and lasting changes in our communities.
christopher has long been involved in developing housing for all income levels. Working with partners like Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) and Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, we’re striving to improve our communities with accessible housing for everyone.
Oakwood Senior Living
Our most recent affordable housing project, Oakwood Senior Living located in Rose Hill, VA, just obtained technical approval from Fairfax County on July 20, 2021. The plan is currently with Fairfax County Bonds and Agreements Center for final sign-off. Groundbreaking is set for mid to late October and when complete, this project will add 150 affordable senior apartments to the County. Led by Eric Bogumil, this development was initiated by APAH who was granted the right to redevelop an underutilized stormwater retention area into a thoughtfully designed building with 6,000 sf of amenity space.
“This is my first affordable housing project but I think the process is pretty typical with all affordable housing projects.” said Eric Bogumil, Project Manager and Associate, “In this case, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) partnered with the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) for a ground lease of the land owned by FCRHA. We coordinated with our client (APAH), the land owner (FCRHA) the jurisdiction itself (Fairfax County), and the lender (Virginia Housing Development Authority – VHDA) to create a plan that would be acceptable to all parties. In addition to Fairfax County, VHDA has their own set of development regulations that we needed to follow.
One of the most significant challenges with this project was the fact that another engineer developed plans that are currently in place to improve Van Dorn Street (upon which our property fronts) to provide better connectivity with the Capital Beltway. We needed to work in concert with VDOT, FCDOT (Fairfax County DOT), and the third-party engineer to ensure that our development would work with the ultimate road widening project, as well as existing conditions, as our project will be constructed first. That has been a fairly significant complication that we’ve overcome.”
Eric Bogumil, PE
Project Manager & Associate
The Residences at North Hill
Also in Fairfax County but in the Mount Vernon area, North Hill just broke ground in July of 2020. Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority partnered with Community Housing Partners and Pennrose to develop these 33 acres into mixed income, affordable rental apartments and market-rate townhomes.
The site posed significant challenges when the project began. Marine clay and steep slopes across the site made for a potentially complex project. When christopher joined the project, thoughtful land planning and engineering support adjusting the proposed site layout and overcame high construction costs associated with the original layout.
North Hill Park faced community and political pressure from the beginning. The vision was to make the park a staple of the Richmond Highway corridor but challenges included high visibility, preservation of existing features and vegetation, enhancing pedestrian accessibility, providing optimal storm water management design, and creating a design plan that transitions in scale and density to the surrounding neighborhoods. christopher supported the client and architect to develop creative solutions for the site and assisted the developer in presenting and negotiating solutions with Fairfax County and the community.
christopher’s Group Leader and Senior Associate, John Levtov, PE, noted, “This project had so many complicated factors; it is an amazing feeling to see the construction coming along so well.
As previously stated, one challenging aspect of the site is that much of it lies on or near marine clay which is very prevalent in this area of the county. This not only requires more expensive and complicated foundations but it can also leave land that is adjacent to excavations very unstable. We worked very closely with the geotechnical engineer and the retaining wall designer to make grading and site changes that lessened the burden on the resulting walls. What you can’t see is that there are piers that extend below the bottom of the walls as far as 80 feet in order to provide slope stability and enable preservation of a very significant 12 acre park on the site.
Overall, it has been very inspiring to have been a part of the team that developed this inclusive housing community within the emerging Richmond Highway corridor. The design integration of the residential components of the project within a larger community park on site has established an environment in which both the private and public realm can be accommodated and can enjoy.”
John Levtov, PE
Group Leader, Senior Associate
Sandy Spring Village Retirement Community
Further north in Sandy Spring, MD, christopher has been fortunate to partner with KCG Development and Moseley Architects to develop a new affordable housing option, Sandy Spring Village Retirement Community. The project has just received the planning Board approvals for both site and preliminary plans.
The 2.67 acre site proposed will provide 56 units consisting of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The proposed site improvements include ADA accessible pedestrian routes, a gazebo, raised vegetable gardens, courtyard, landscape features and hardscape aesthetics. christopher will provide lead civil engineering, landscape architecture and surveying services for this project.
Mat Karim, Group Leader for this project, pointed out that “This project is the first of its kind in Sandy Spring, MD. It’s adaptable re-use, 100% affordable, and age restricted. We worked closely with the Historic Preservation Commission (since the project is located in a Historic District), the Rustic Road Advisory Committee, the Maryland National Capital Park & Planning staff, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and the Maryland State Highway Administration to move the project through approvals. We were proud to be able to meet all requirements for approval in less than six months.”
Mat Karim, CFM, LEED GA, ENV SP
Group Leader, Maryland Operations