Former School Transformed into Affordable Senior Apartments

Community Preservation and Development Corp. will begin development of the Highland Park Senior Apartments, an adaptive reuse project that will provide 77 new affordable senior apartments in Richmond, Va.
highland park thumbnail

Richmond, Va.—Community Preservation and Development Corp. will begin development of the Highland Park Senior Apartments, an adaptive reuse project that will provide 77 new affordable senior apartments in Richmond, Va., at the site of the former Brookland Park Senior Apartments.

BPP is a historic building that once functioned as Highland Park Public School. The property is located in the Highland Park community and is situated at the six points intersection, a vital section of the community.

“Brookland Park Plaza has been vacant for nearly three years and in a period of decline for an extended period,” Luann Tia Blount, CPDC’s vice president, external relations, told MHN. “A redeveloped BPP will help with the overall aesthetic and hopefully spur additional development opportunities to the neighborhood.”

The project is just the first piece of the organization’s planned contributions to a broader neighborhood development effort to revitalize the Highland Park commercial corridor and connect senior residents to available, but often untapped, local resources.

Phase one of the plan involves relocating 77 residents from Richmond’s Frederic A. Fay Towers to the new Highland Park Senior Apartments. In addition, CPDC is working with RRHA to finalize the development plan for the remaining 123 units that will be included as part of the Fay Towers redevelopment, using CPDC’s recent purchase of the Nehemiah House Community Center, a vacant building directly across from the new Highland Park Apartments.

BPP has a large auditorium that will be transformed into a modernized multi-use community center for senior residents, and will include a fitness room, computer center and kitchenette. Additionally, this space will be used to facilitate senior programming and bring services to the site, which are not readily available in the community.

The Highland Park Senior Apartments financing structure consists of 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by Virginia Housing Development Agency and purchased by Capital One via Hudson Housing Capital; federal and state historic tax credits; and a $750,000 commitment from the City of Richmond—$500,000 as a Section 108 loan and $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

Highland Park is a working class neighborhood with a large contingent of senior residents so the need for quality affordable housing is great. Much of the housing stock nearby includes large Victorian and Foursquare homes that are not appropriate for aging in place. Additionally, many of the homes are in rapid decline.

“We see the redevelopment of BPP as one step towards engaging in a broader community development effort in the Highland Park community,” Blount said. “This community has been largely underserved and lacks many of the retail and commercial options needed for healthy and striving neighborhood. We are looking forward to addressing this unmet need and working with local leaders and stakeholders to find opportunities that will move this community in the right direction.”

The development is expected to be complete in July 2016 with an estimated three-month leasing process.