Unity Homes at Ballston features 144 affordable homes co-located with modernized sanctuary space for Central United Methodist Church, a day care, and a commercial kitchen.
James Oesch Unity Homes at Ballston features 144 affordable homes co-located with modernized sanctuary space for Central United Methodist Church, a day care, and a commercial kitchen.

A church and a nonprofit affordable housing developer have opened a new mixed-use development in Arlington, Virginia.

Unity Homes at Ballston replaces the former Central United Methodist Church (CUMC) building with 144 affordable homes co-located with a modernized church sanctuary, Kinhaven School day care serving approximately 90 children, and Provision Church Catering’s commercial kitchen. The project adds affordable housing in a high-opportunity, transit-accessible location in the heart of Ballston.

CUMC and nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) recently celebrated the community’s opening.

“We are proud that Unity Homes at Ballston is finally here—this project encountered multiple obstacles on the path to redevelopment, but together with our partners at CUMC, Arlington County, and so many others, we pressed forward,” said Carmen Romero, APAH president and CEO. “It's an honor to partner with CUMC to bring their calling to life, transforming the site and co-locating their new space with affordable housing. We look forward to welcoming residents, the CUMC congregation, and the Ballston community to Unity Homes.”

The project had to overcome rising construction costs and other challenges, according to reports.

The affordable homes will serve residents earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income (AMI). There are 108 one-, 24 two-, and 12 three-bedroom apartments. Fifteen units are deeply affordable to residents earning 30% or less of the AMI.

Residents will enjoy 5,000 square feet of amenity space, an outdoor courtyard with a green roof, and multiple community rooms and flex space for regular activities. It features energy-efficient building techniques and is built to EarthCraft Gold standards. APAH’s CORES-certified Resident Services program provides a full-time coordinator to connect residents with local resources, provide individualized support, and organize resident-centered programming on-site.

For CUMC, the development was an opportunity to redevelop its aging property.

“This grand opening is the culmination of a long journey of faithfulness,” said the Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen, who was appointed the church’s senior pastor in 2014. “The people of Central United Methodist have held this vision in their hearts and prayers for many years, waiting eagerly to welcome our neighbors into this building and the Arlington community. We give thanks for all the hard work and witness to fulfilling this vision that has helped make this moment possible. We are particularly grateful to partner with APAH on this project. Loving God and our neighbors is at the heart of our faith, and we are so glad to live it out by helping to create a place for people to call home.”

Unity Homes at Ballston, an $84.8 million project, was financed with $27.6 million in 4% low-income housing tax credit equity from Truist. Virginia Housing provided $12.8 million in project financing. Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development contributed $900,000 from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Arlington County provided more than $19 million in Affordable Housing Investment Funds, and CUMC provided $14.1 million in funding from philanthropic sources and land lease proceeds.

Other project partners include general contractor DAVIS Construction, architect DCS Design, construction managers KCM, civil engineers Bohler DC, and Viridiant, which provided green building verification.