Courtesy Bozzuto

Greenbelt, Md., residential builder Bozzuto recently opened the first high-rise affordable multifamily community in Virginia certified to the EarthCraft green building program.

Built in conjunction with non-profit developer Wesley Housing Development, the Union on Queen mixed-income community in Arlington, Va., offers 193 apartment residences, of which 78 (40 percent) are designated as affordable housing. The EarthCraft certification, combined with a Silver LEED rating, increased the competitiveness of the project's tax credit application, making Union on Queen financially feasible,. The apartments are projected to outperform standard construction by more than 30 percent with respect to energy consumption, resulting in utility savings for residents.

Courtesy Bozzuto

Bozzuto executives hope that the project serves as a model for its use of creating more floors of apartments with additional qualified affordable housing opportunities to ease the housing crisis in the D.C. region, according to a press release. 80,000 new residents have moved to Washington, D.C. since 2005, but demands on housing and a 30 percent increase in prices have made the region the least affordable major city for renters in the U.S. This has left Bozzuto executives searching for a way to make mixed-income housing more affordable and attractive for developers.

The 12-story complex includes market rate and affordable apartments during a time when there is growing demand for mixed-income housing in the Washington metropolitan area. The project is “affordable” to households earning 50 percent and 60 percent of area median income. By creating mixed-income communities with affordable housing options, teachers, police officers and firefighters, as well as low-income renters such as service workers with jobs essential to the community (restaurant staff, retail clerks, cashiers, daycare workers, hairdressers, maintenance technicians and security guards), or retired people living on Social Security income, can live in the neighborhoods where they work.

"Union on Queen provides wonderful updated and new apartment homes to hundreds of Arlington families. It also represents the next generation of housing affordability because it is better integrated into the surrounding community, has features that will help its residents save money with access to more ways to get to and from work, and helps to strengthen our economy,” says Arlington County housing director David Cristeal.

Units include studio apartments as well as one, two, and three bedrooms. Numerous amenity spaces that encourage neighbors to socialize and interact include a landscaped patio, green space, outdoor kitchens, and a rooftop deck with views of the U.S. Capitol building. It is close to two Metro stops and a short walk to restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Union on Queen was designed by architectural firm Davis Carter Scott, with interior design by Design Works. Significant support was provided by Arlington County and the Virginia Housing Development Authority as well as from financial partners Capital One, Hudson Housing, Walker & Dunlop and Freddie Mac.