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Arlington Adds 111 Affordable Housing Units

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The ribbon was cut at the revamped Buchanan Apartment building on Columbia Pike Monday, which will now serve as low-income housing.
Michael Pope
The ribbon was cut at the revamped Buchanan Apartment building on Columbia Pike Monday, which will now serve as low-income housing.

Buchanan Gardens on Columbia Pike was built in the 1940s to house federal workers for the rapidly growing federal government. In more recent years, development pressure along Columbia Pike has changed the neighborhood, increasing rents and property values and potentially threatening the ability of many current residents to stay.

It's a problem that Arlington County is hoping to address, as they add more than 100 units of affordable housing to the rapidly gentrifying stretch of Columbia Pike.

"I like living here because I don't drive, I take the bus," says Pedro Gonzales, a Columbia Pike resident of 22 years. "And living here is very good for taking the bus. The bus goes every 15 minutes."

A few years ago, it looked as though he may have to move. The Buchanan Gardens apartment complex was for sale, and his future seemed uncertain.

Corina Grant has lived here for the last three years. When the complex was for sale, she became concerned, and began to fear for the future.

"I felt very scared because I didn't want to go anywhere else," says Grant. "I didn't know the area, and I was close to my son's school and to my job, so I wanted to stay here."

Now that uncertainty is over. Gonzalez and Grant will both be able to stay at Buchanan Gardens, a '40s-era garden apartment that has now been renovated as an affordable housing complex where low-income people will be able to live, thanks to a partnership between Enterprise Community Partners and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.

"Right now, you need $15 an hour at a minimum for a two-bedroom apartment in Arlington, and that's just not affordable for people at the minimum wage," says Congressman Jim Moran, who helped secure a $12 million low-income tax credit.

Renovation of the 111 unit complex featured new interior fixtures, energy-efficient fixtures, expanded family units, a community room and a playground.

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