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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Neighborhood Spotlight: The Wedgewood


Annandale’s Wedgewood community is the largest affordable housing development in Fairfax County. It has about 670 mostly garden-style apartments with one, two, or three bedrooms.

The apartment complex is owned by the county and restricted to households with incomes below 60 percent of the area’s average median income. Renters pay about 30 percent of their income.

Robert Schwaninger, the Mason District representative on the board of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, calls the county’s purchase of Wedgewood about three years ago a “very wise move.”

At the time, the owner of the project was in his 80s and wanted to sell it. The county paid just over $100 million in bond funds for the 35-acre development. “It was in very good shape,” said Schwaninger. “The numbers worked,” and the county receives enough rental income to cover the bond payments.

The Wedgewood is close to the beltway and is generally within the area bordered by Little River Turnpike, Heritage Drive, and Medford Drive, with the three-story buildings lining McWhorter Place, Carmello Drive, Allman Drive, and Suraci Court.

Students who live in the complex attend Annandale Terrace Elementary School, Poe Middle School, and Annandale High School.

Online reviews of the Wedgewood lean toward the negative, but the random residents we encountered in the neighborhood had mostly positive things to say.  Surinder Rana, who’s lived at the Wedgewood for the past six years, says the management is doing a good job and he likes the convenient location, especially its proximity to NOVA, where his son is a student.

Isaias Chavez moved to the Wedgewood five years ago because his previous apartment in Seven Corners was overrun with bedbugs and roaches. The Wedgewood has some bugs but not as many, and it’s a little noisy, he concedes, but that’s outweighed by the benefits: It’s close to shopping centers and bus stops. His 7-year-old twins like the pool and playground.

Other amenities include free parking, dishwashers,  and walk-in closets. There are laundry rooms in each building, and each apartment has a patio or balcony. Some of the ground-floor units are accessible for people with disabilities.

The county’s affordable housing, like the Wedgewood, came under attack in the last election, with some candidates charging that the county is subsidizing apartments that are too lavish.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Schwaninger counters. “The idea that we have people living in the lap of luxury is ridiculous.”

Wedgewood’s swimming pool was there before the county bought the complex, he notes. “We didn’t make them remove it.” About half a dozen units have granite countertops, and those units are “magnet housing,” which is set aside for police officers, firefighters, teachers, and nurses who couldn’t otherwise afford to live in Fairfax County. “Affordable housing for those county employees has always had bipartisan support,” he says.

To apply for an apartment at the Wedgewood, you need to live or work in Fairfax County. There’s a $40 application fee and a $250 reservation fee. Maximum allowable incomes range from $59,450 for an individual to $105,300 for a family of seven.

Rents for apartments with one bedroom and one bathroom range from $1,108 for the most basic model to $1,223 for a unit that also has a den and patio or balcony. To qualify, you need a minimum income of $26,592 to $29,352.

Rents for two-bedroom apartments range from $1,374 to $1,542, and three-bedroom apartments range from $1,591 to $1,725. To qualify for the largest three-bedroom unit, you need a minimum income of $41,400.

4 comments:

  1. Way to go, Fairfax County, and way to go Penny Gross, for making this happen.

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  2. How is a single person making almost 60 grand a year qualifying for affordable housing?

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  3. The reason for affordable housing at $60K is another fine example of government intrusion and control of people's lives versus building up people's lives to become self-sufficient.

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  4. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.

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