On Dec. 19, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority hosted a groundbreaking to celebrate the financial closing and redevelopment of Ramsey Homes on N. Patrick Street. Demolition, site development and archeologic studies began a few months ago.

The former 15-unit public housing property will be redeveloped into a 52-unit multifamily residential building with rents affordable to households earning from 30% to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). As Daniel Bauman, Chair of the ARHA Board of Commissioners, stated, the redevelopment will be “mixed-income and [while] still providing deep affordability; also provides homes to a broader spectrum of people who need affordable housing.”

“Ramsey represents the model we want to establish for our entire portfolio,” said ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew. “We are creating more new units than we are replacing. It’s a vibrant and sustainable mixed-income community”.

The property is in a high amenity area proximate to Charles Houston Recreation Center, Alexandria Black History Museum, Braddock Interim Park, Braddock Road metro station, and neighborhood retail establishments. On-site amenities include at-grade open space and underground parking.

The Ramsey Homes redevelopment represents continued progress in ARHA’s mission to transform its aging housing stock into high quality mixed-income affordable housing in Alexandria. This project is the result of community consultation, historic investigation, and collaboration with ARHA residents, including those impacted by the project.

To fund the project, ARHA was awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, a competitive funding source administered by the Virginia Housing Development Authority. In addition to ARHA financial support for the project, the City of Alexandria provided ARHA a $3.6 million gap loan for Ramsey Homes, along with predevelopment grant funding.  

The property will feature approximately 6,000 square-feet of green space on the North Patrick Street side, for use as a public park and recreation area.  The park will be primarily open space but will incorporate and interpret elements of the historical character and archaeological findings into the final design.  The park will be owned and maintained by ARHA.

“We are actively pursuing opportunities that improve housing quality and add to the number of affordable homes whenever economically and financially appealing prospects occur,” said ARHA Board Chair Daniel Bauman. “We also want to upgrade the quality of our affordable housing sites so that they blend in smoothly with other housing in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Recreation for Ramsey families is also available nearby with the Charles Houston Recreation Center across the street. The Watson Reading Room and the Black History Museum are also neighbors. Ramsey was originally built as temporary housing for African American defense workers.

The four buildings at Ramsey Homes, originally constructed in a modernist design and built for African-American defense workers, are early examples of the use of precast “Fabcrete” concrete panels.  “The buildings were never intended to be up as long as they were,” Pettigrew noted. “They were put up very quickly and not meant to be long-term housing.  They only lasted as long as they did because of the way the authority maintained them.”

Ramsey will become the first ARHA site to be rebuilt since the James Bland development was completed at the end of 2014.

Ramsey Homes groundbreaking (courtesy photo)