Apart­ments to be re­vamped in Ch­ester­field

292 af­ford­able hous­ing units will be im­proved along with com­plex

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - METRO - BY VANESSA REMMERS

Nearly 300 af­ford­able hous­ing apart­ments in south­ern Ch­ester­field County will be re­vamped thanks to a col­lec­tion of part­ners in­clud­ing a Cal­i­for­nia- based com­pany and the Colo­nial Heights Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Author­ity.

Preser­va­tion Part­ners, which is based in Cal­i­for­nia, plans to use $ 28 mil­lion in rev­enue bonds to ac­quire and ren­o­vate 292 apart­ments in south­ern Ch­ester­field. The com­pany spe­cial­izes in se­nior and mul­ti­fam­ily af­ford­able hous­ing.

Colo­nial Ridge apart­ments make up 192 of the apart­ments, while 100 apart­ments from the neigh­bor­ing com­plex called The Glen at Colo­nial Heights make up the rest. All of the units will be re­stricted to in­di­vid­u­als or fam­i­lies earn­ing no more than 60 per­cent of the area’s me­dian in­come, ac­cord­ing to Ch­ester­field spokes­woman Su­san Pol­lard.

Even though the apart­ments are in Ch­ester­field, the Colo­nial Heights Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Author­ity will serve as a con­duit by is­su­ing the tax­ex­empt rev­enue bonds. Rev­enue bonds are backed by the money be­ing gen­er­ated by the project they fi­nance.

Ch­ester­field Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Author­ity Di­rec­tor Gar­rett Hart said the Ch­ester­field EDA wasn’t to his knowl­edge ap­proached by the com­pany.

The bonds are des­ig­nated for af­ford­able hous­ing and will come from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The de­vel­oper will be re­spon­si­ble for the bonds, said Karen Epps, Colo­nial Heights di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives with Preser­va­tion Part­ners could not be reached for com­ment.

To com­ply with law, the Ch­ester­field Board of Su­per­vi­sors re­cently passed a res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ing the is­suance of the bonds, and ap­proved a 30- year mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing that gave the county some over­sight of the de­vel­oper’s ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing county in­spec­tion re­quire­ments.

“This is a new type of ven­ture for us,” County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Joe Casey said. “We are get­ting new pow­ers as a county to mon­i­tor hous­ing for peo­ple.”

The Board of Su­per­vi­sors also en­dorsed the project in letters to the Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment and the Vir­ginia Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Author­ity.

“The de­vel­op­ment ap­proach pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for the pri­vate sec­tor, non­prof­its and the

county to come to­gether not only on im­prove­ments to the prop­erty, but also to in­clude var­i­ous pro­gram of­fer­ings to res­i­dents of the prop­erty,” Pol­lard said.

Su­per­vi­sor Chris Winslow com­mended the part­ner­ships that al­lowed the project to hap­pen and said he thought it was a good pi­lot for the county, while Chair­woman Dorothy Jaeckle said it was a model for the county’s new Com­mu­nity En­hance­ment Depart­ment aimed in part at re­vi­tal­iz­ing older ar­eas of the county.

“At the end of the day, I re­ally do think this is go­ing to im­prove the lives of the cit­i­zens,” Jaeckle said.

The re­quired ren­o­va­tions range from the in­di­vid­ual apart­ments to the com­plex as a whole. Apart­ment up­grades will in­clude re­plac­ing roofs, smoke de­tec­tors, door­ways, win­dows and hot wa­ter tanks.

For the com­plex, the de­vel­oper must add gated

en­trances and fenc­ing, a new club­house and pool, three pic­nic pavil­ions, and ren­o­va­tion of the build­ing now used by the YMCA, among other things. Many of the ren­o­va­tions must hap­pen within the next two years.

Preser­va­tion Part­ners is re­quired to pro­vide health and well­ness ac­tiv­i­ties through a third party and, if re­quested by the county, the com­pany must also pro­vide res­i­dents in­for­ma­tion on drug and al­co­hol abuse treat­ment op­tions in the county.

The de­vel­op­ers are charged with mit­i­gat­ing the dis­place­ment of res­i­dents and com­pen­sat­ing them if the ren­o­va­tions force them to tem­po­rar­ily move. Back­ground checks will be re­quired of ten­ants.

Tax re­turns helped Sa­man­tha Wil­liams and her family move out of the Green­leigh mo­bile home park in Ch­ester and into an $ 850- a- month, three­bed­room apart­ment at

The Glen at Colo­nial

Heights sev­eral months ago.

She likes what she de­scribed as the “laid- back and peace­ful” com­plex, but hoped any fu­ture ren­o­va­tions would fix up the play­ground and add more ameni­ties for her chil­dren.

The de­vel­oper is di­rected in the agree­ment with the county to add equip­ment and land­scap­ing to the play­ground and to pro­vide bas­ket­ball courts.

The project comes as af­ford­able hous­ing be­comes more of an is­sue in the county.

A Ch­ester­field com­mit­tee re­cently called hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity an “eco­nomic trend of con­cern,” not­ing that some­one earn­ing the $ 7.25 hourly min­i­mum wage would have to work at least 89 hours a week to af­ford a one- bed­room apart­ment ren­tal in the county, where the me­dian rent is $ 1,123.

vrem­mers@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6243

VANESSA REMMERS/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

A project to ren­o­vate af­ford­able hous­ing in Ch­ester­field County in­volves 192 apart­ments at Colo­nial Ridge (above) and 100 apart­ments fromthe neigh­bor­ing com­plex called The Glen at Colo­nial Heights.

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