Mixed Use Density on steroids in Alexandria, VA

 Redevelopment plan calls for replacing 364 condos with 1,600+ housing units plus commercial

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Sometimes real estate news is presented in very misleading ways.

For example, the headline of a news release for Huntington Club Condo Association (link posted below) tells only part of the story about the decision of 87% of unit owners to terminate their vintage condo association.

Important details of that article reveal that a smaller group of condo owners began discussing a termination and redevelopment nearly a decade ago.

Huntington Club is marketed as an affordable community, with low purchase prices and modest rents by Washginton DC metro standards.

Like most mature affordable condominium projects, over the years, the vast majority of “homeowners” are investors or landlords who are merely looking to sell their units to cash in on Virginia’s mixed-use transit-oriented development craze.

Over several years, a small group of corporate real estate investors gradually increased to a majority of investor-acquired units, with a long term goal of redevelopment. After a decade, investors finally own a supermajority of the housing complex, giving them the votes needed to move forward with ending the condo association.

The group has since chosen a developer to make their redevelopment plan a reality.

The planned increase in density is breathtaking – the number of housing units could increase by more than 300% – from 364 “piggyback” condo units to more than 1,600 housing units, a mixture of condos, apartments, and townhomes. The mixed use community might take more than a decade to build, and will include office and retail space, possibly even a hotel.

It’s safe to assume that several Huntington Club investors plan to generate some serious profit.

The lesson for housing consumers is this: if you buy into an older association with aging infrastructure, in a location with high land values, do not expect your condo unit to be your long-term home.

If investors outnumber owner-occupants and set their sights on your condominium association, they will patiently wait several years until the time is right for them to force you out. Then after cashing out, developers and co-investors can start all over and rebuild an entirely new neighborhood, with homes you probably cannot afford.

And, in this particular case, the end result will be thousands of people living on top of one another, increased traffic in and out of the neighborhood, more noise, greater potential for conflict between residential and commercial residents. But all of this is glossed over because, while the investors and developers will reap millions in profits, Fairfax County gains an ever larger tax base.

In other words, financial and political stakeholders win at the expense of taxpaying housing consumers.

Condo Association Votes to Terminate Itself for Redevelopment
Alexandria’s Huntington Club Condominium Association Approves IDI Group’s Redevelopment Plan in Overwhelming Vote

By Cameron Carey, Patch Poster | Nov 9, 2017 2:38 pm ET

Alexandria, Va. – More than 87 percent of the unit owners comprising the Huntington Club Condominium Unit Owners’ Association have voted to terminate their condominium in favor of a new transit-oriented development on their 19-acre site next to Huntington Metrorail Station in Alexandria, Va. Currently a community of 364 garden-style and piggyback condominiums, the Fairfax County community has selected The IDI Group Companies of Arlington, Va. to lead its redevelopment into a mixed-use community with approximately 1,000 condominiums, 500 apartments, 65 townhomes and more than 500,000 square feet of office and retail space. This is the first instance in the country in which a condominium association has voted to terminate itself for the purpose of redevelopment, a motion that passed with 87.7% of the vote.

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