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Fairfax County approves Covid relief and other funds for Tysons affordable housing project

A nonprofit wants to build affordable housing by the Spring Hill Metro station (via KGD Architecture/Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors moved forward yesterday (Tuesday) with plans to use public funds to help build an affordable housing project near the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons.

Part of the planned Dominion Square West development, the nine-story, 175-unit project comes from the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).

Units will have one to three bedrooms and be reserved for those at or below 30%, 50% and 60% of the area median income. Those thresholds are currently $31,000, $51,600, and $61,920 for a two-person household for the D.C. area.

The project received the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s approval on Jan. 12.

With yesterday’s 9-0 vote, the Board of Supervisors agreed to buy two acres of land for the property with $10.97 million in American Rescue Plan Act money as well as $10 million from a Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority reserve fund.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said the project will provide “much-needed housing.”

“The 175-unit Dominion Square West building will be a significant and positive step forward in providing affordable housing for working families close to Metrorail,” he said, adding that he looks forward to the “life-changing impact” it will have on residents.

Located at 1592 Spring Hill Road, the property is currently a parking lot owned by Capital Automotive Real Estate Services, a real estate investment trust acquired by Brookfield Property Partners in 2014.

Fairfax County will pass the money for the land to APAH, but it will retain public ownership of the ground, which will be leased to the nonprofit for 85 years.

Housing authority spokesman Ben Boxer said in an email yesterday that financial terms of the leasing arrangement are still under negotiation.

“Negotiations on the terms are anticipated to be completed in the next month,” Boxer wrote.

In addition to the ARPA and housing authority reserve funds, the county’s $43 million contribution to the project includes $13.3 million in local tax money from a Housing Blueprint Fund, according to Boxer.

The housing blueprint funds and developer contributions from the county’s Tysons Housing Trust Fund will help pay for a $22 million subordinate loan to APAH to support the project’s construction.

The trust fund was established in 2010 by the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, which recommends that developers give $3 per square foot of non-residential development to fund affordable and workforce housing in the area.

The Dominion Square West project is the first one to use that money.

“Dominion Square is the kind of community we need more of — one that is completely integrated into the community in terms of design, function, and opportunity,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “I strongly believe quality affordable housing must be available throughout Fairfax County and this action helps move us closer to that reality.”

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