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City's Only Affordable Apartments Renovated

Thirty-nine of complex's 54 units will be rented to those making less than half of the area's medium income.

Fairfax City's only affordable apartment complex recently received a green makeover and new clubhouse thanks to $6.6 million from a nonprofit housing developer.

The new West Wood Oaks complex on West Drive, formerly known as Suburbia Fairfax, is made up of 54 apartment units, 39 of which are dedicated to renters who make less than 50 percent of the area's average income. 

Residents pay $889 to $1,287 per month. 

The average Fairfax City household makes $97,900 a year, according to the U.S. Census. Five percent of the city's population live below the poverty level. 

Fairfax City sits in the middle of the second wealthiest county in the nation. Even still, Fairfax County has a population of . About 12,000 people are waiting to get affordable housing in Fairfax County, according to FACETS.

Community Preservation and Development Corporation, a D.C.-based nonprofit housing developer, purchased the complex in 1970 to keep it from becoming market-rate housing.

CPDC financed the recent renovations with low-income housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority and a permanent loan from Enterprise Community Partners. 

The new features include:

  • Buildings topped with solar panels. These panels help power new water heaters, reducing the complex's dependence on natural gas by about 40 percent, according to CPDC.
  • EnergyStar-certified refrigerators and stoves
  • Low-flow toilets
  • 15 new SEER split-system HVAC units
  • Six apartments designed for people with disabilities
  • A new community clubhouse with a common room, kitchen, fireplace and patio.

“Our mission is to provide residents at lower income levels with high quality, affordable homes with access to opportunity,” said CPDC President and CEO J. Michael Pitchford. “As Northern Virginia grows, thrives and becomes increasingly less affordable, it’s critical that we treasure affordable communities like West Wood Oaks that are near good jobs, good schools, good services and good transportation."

Fairfax City resident Wilma Huff knows the need for affordable housing options in Fairfax firsthand. She moved to the city 35 years ago, thankful to have an affordable housing option so close to her job at the National Bank of Fairfax. 

"I feel fortunate to have a beautiful new apartment in a place that is really a small community rather than an apartment building,” she said. “I commend the owners for improving the property and keeping it affordable for the next generation.”

City officials welcomed the renovations at a September 20 ribbon cutting. 

“This quiet, residential community has been [and] is a great asset to the City of Fairfax, making it possible for people who work in our area to afford to live here,” Mayor Scott Silverthorne.“We are delighted that CPDC decided to preserve and update the property for the long term with this wonderful green renovation and beautiful new clubhouse.”

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