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Feb. 16, 2012

New Affordable/Market Rate Apartments Open in Suburban D.C.

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Silver Spring, Md.—The Galaxy, a new five-story, 195-unit rental apartment building in downtown Silver Spring, Md., has started accepting residents. All together, the property includes 82 affordable apartments and 113 market-rate units. Developer RST Development reports strong interest in the one-, two- and two-bedroom-with-den apartments.

“The 82 affordable-rate apartments, which are the exact dimensions and level of finish as the market-rate units, are already completely sold out,” a spokeswoman for Hercules Real Estate, which is leasing and managing the Galaxy, tells MHN. “This project was originally designed as a condo building, but was changed to rental as the market changed several years ago. With the revision, the developer kept all of the finishes at the condo grade and left all of the large public use spaces in place. People have been really surprised at the amenity package in a rental building.”

Some of these condo-class finishes include custom cabinetry, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, along with walk-in closets, patios and balconies. A green roof provides eco-friendly storm water management and solar panels to reduce the building’s energy load, and a mural by acclaimed local artist Martha Jackson Jarvis greets residents at the entrance to the building.

Getting the project done was complex bit of public-private effort. The financing included a tax-exempt bond mortgage of $38.5 million provided by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, along with a $5 million loan from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs, from the County’s Housing Initiative Fund. The County also provided a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development provided Low Income Housing Tax Credits. A 368-space parking garage, which is also part of the property, is the result of a partnership between RST Development and the Montgomery County Parking Lot District, who owned the surface lot that existed prior to development.

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