Photo Credit: Halistry
Recently Knightsbridge Apartments (“Knightsbridge”), an existing Wesley Housing community in Arlington, VA, celebrated the welcoming of its residents back into the community following the completion of substantial renovations. Ninety-seven (97%) of all community residents pre-renovation returned to the property in June 2021.
Last updated over 20 years ago, Knightsbridge began rehabilitation in fall 2020 in order to modernize and improve the 37-unit historically significant garden-style community. All units received updated kitchen and bathroom furnishings/fixtures. Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems were replaced, and electrical plumbing systems were updated. Six (6) existing units were modified to meet current accessible/barrier-free living requirements, including new accessible entries, exterior ramps, and a fully accessible on-site laundry room. In addition to addressing modernization and durability, there were significant improvements to energy and water efficiency directly benefitting the residents through reduced energy costs that will contribute to achieving a minimum of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Silver award.
Finally, in order to help bridge the digital divide, the property was also wired for in-unit and common area managed WiFi service at speeds of 100 Mpbs. Wesley Housing will pay for the capital expense associated with the installation through the project budget and will absorb monthly service fees through its property management budget. A similar model will be implemented at several other Wesley properties throughout the region.
Why preservation of properties like Knightsbridge are vital to sustaining affordability in Arlington County:
Knightsbridge is located within one of the largest metropolitan statistical areas (i.e. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA) in the country. A thriving local economy, densely populated footprint, and high demand for real estate (in virtually all asset classes) have an effect of putting significant upward pressure on the demand and pricing for construction services.
In addition, finding comparable, buildable land at a basis that would allow for a similar project would be extremely challenging in Arlington, which makes the preservation of properties like Knightsbridge vital to sustaining affordability in Arlington County.
Knightsbridge is a prime example of how, in partnership with the development and financing community, jurisdictions can transform outmoded affordable housing into vibrant affordable housing vital for families and individuals to build up their lives.
Organizations who played a vital role in the implementation of the project include:
- Design and Construction: Zavos Architecture + Design, Harkins Builders, Walter L. Phillips
- Financing: JPMorgan Chase, TD Charitable Foundation, Virginia Housing, Virginia Community Development Corporation, S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Other: Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service