Wesley Housing, Melwood File Site Plan for NoVA Affordable Apartments


More affordable housing in Arlington, Va., is desperately needed, and Virginia-based Wesley Housing and disability advocacy nonprofit Melwood are attempting to step in to meet that demand. 

A partnership between the two companies filed a site plan application for a mixed-use, 105-unit apartment complex at 750 23rd Street South, replacing an “outdated” building Melwood owns there. All of the units will be designated as affordable housing, according to Melwood, though the exact breakdown was not immediately clear.

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The plans also call for 18,000 square feet of space for Melwood to operate community services, including job skills training for those with disabilities. 

“Redeveloping our Arlington campus into an affordable, inclusive housing community enables Melwood to further our mission and support the people and community we serve, most of whom face hurdles to live independently in affordable housing with meaningful inclusion,” said Larysa Kautz, president and CEO of Maryland-based Melwood, in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District and Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner supported the project, leading to $500,000 of congressionally directed funding, per Melwood. 

Yet not everyone in Arlington is welcoming the development with open arms. 

The Aurora Highlands Civic Association, a local advocacy group, contends that the site should be designated as a historic landmark, as the existing building was originally built as a schoolhouse in the 1920s. The group presented its argument to Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board last week.

Still, despite other Arlington residents arguing that the city is passing housing reforms too quickly, it’s clear that renters there could use some relief. 

The average monthly rent in Arlington as of March was over $2,500, making it one of the highest-priced areas in the country, above even neighboring Washington, D.C., according to RentCafe.

It’s easy to see why. Major development projects in Northern Virginia, like National Landing and Potomac Yard, have seen massive investment in recent years, and multifamily complexes in the region regularly sell for nine figures. There’s also draws from companies like Amazon, which opened a portion of its sprawling HQ2 in Arlington last year

Nick Trombola can be reached at ntrombola@commercialobserver.com.