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ArlingtonCollaborative effort will bring affordable housing to Ballston

Collaborative effort will bring affordable housing to Ballston

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Another collaboration between a local religious organization and an affordable-housing developer is moving forward.

The $84 million “Ballston Station” project will rise on the current site of Central United Methodist Church, across from the Ballston-MU Metro station, bringing 144 committed-affordable units to the corridor.

The project will see the razing of the existing church but will provide sanctuary space for Central United Methodist parishioners. There also will be a commercial kitchen for on-site food distribution, a meeting hall and space for a 90-student early-childhood-education facility.

“We are thrilled to partner with church leaders to realize their vision to serve the community through affordable housing, childcare and other services for our low-income neighbors,” said Carmen Romero, president and CEO of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, which is partnering on the effort.


“Ballston Station will bring 144 greatly needed affordable apartments to an incredible location right in the heart of Ballston, with direct access to transportation and jobs.”

Financing comes from a variety of sources, including state and local funds.
The project has not been without its share of publicized hiccups, but “for more than a decade, Central United Methodist Church has been tirelessly working toward transforming our property to better serve the Arlington community,” said the church’s senior pastor, Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen.

Harrison-McQueen became minister in 2014, the same year the congregation opted to move forward on a plan to develop the parcel for housing – something a number of local churches, some facing declining enrollment and/or financial challenges, have opted to do in recent years.

Under terms of the financing package, 69 units will be available to local residents earning 60 percent or less of area median income (AMI), with 60 units for those earning 50 percent or less and 15 for those earning 30 percent or less.

Under the development plan, APAH will own and operate the 137,000 square feet of residential space on the site, while the church’s 26,699-square-foot space will include a sanctuary, fellowship hall, offices, classrooms, music suite and kitchen.

Davis Carter Scott Design is serving as architect for the project, with DAVIS Construction the general contractor. Completion is expected in early 2024.

Plans for the development briefly hit a snag over questions of the historical provenance of the church, and what to do about the Ball family cemetery that was part of the site. (The Ball family donated the property for the building of the church more than a century ago.)

As part of an agreement to move the project forward, there will be a 500-square-foot fenced site on the parcel where headstones of several Ball family members’ graves will be displayed. A commemorative plaque noting the history of the site also will be incorporated into the overall package.

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