Housing Corp. Attempting to Sell Wilden Site at Large Loss

By STEPHEN SIEGEL
Falls Church Times Staff

January 21, 2011

Bruised from its unsuccessful efforts to build a senior housing facility in Falls Church City, the Falls Church Housing Corporation is now laying low, doing some strategic planning, and attempting to sell the building it hoped would be at the center of its new development.

The building, at 350 South Washington Street, is for sale for a now-reduced price of $2.7 million, down from $2.95 million last fall. The non-profit has had some nibbles, but no deals, said Carol Jackson, the executive director.

Unfortunately for the housing corporation, the price of $2.7 million is well below what they paid for the building in 2008, before the commercial property market collapsed. City records show they paid $3.25 million for the 14,000 square foot property. It was assessed by the City at $3,014,000 in 2007, but that has been reduced to $2,234,700, well below the current asking price.

The decision to sell the building at a large loss is based on the need to improve the company’s balance sheet and because of a belief that the political climate in the City does not favor the building of affordable housing.

“It’s pretty clear nothing is going to happen in terms of our mission,” Ms. Jackson said. “We’re bruised but not stupid.”

The housing corporation arrived at this moment after planning for a senior housing building on Washington Street for nearly three years. When it found itself needing some additional help from the City — after already having received some — in order to leverage some government subsidies, the new City Council declined, effectively ending their proposal to build a facility called The Wilden, after the late affordable housing advocate Bob Wilden.

They hope to sell the building and have their balance sheet re-liquified by the end of their fiscal year in June. “Tell the world we need a buyer,” Ms. Jackson said.

Meanwhile, the office building next door at 360 South Washington, which was going to be part of the Wilden development as well, also is for sale. The subject of a controversial $2 million loan from the city that has since been repaid, the building is available for $2,900,000.

By
January 21, 2011 

Comments

2 Responses to “Housing Corp. Attempting to Sell Wilden Site at Large Loss”

  1. Carol Jackson, McLean on January 21st, 2011 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the free ad, Stephen.

    Just 2 clarifications since I didn’t know you were writing a story specifically about the FCHC property and about our past history with City. I think I told you, “it’s clear that the FCHC housing mission HERE in FC City has no support in the current political leadership climate”. I also explained that permanently affordable rental housing needs inside the beltway for retirees and income challenged, housing cost burdened workforce are greater than ever. It is to those “greater FC” area needs that FCHC will be working hard in 2011 to bring our remaining resources.

    AND for the record, FCHC did not ask the current Council for additional resources, only a short timeline advance on delivering 50% of the previously committed funds The Wilden needed to settle on all the other state and federal funds that had been awarded in 2010 and the City’s $1 mil was a time sensitive piece to secure the rest of the funds.

    Thank you. Carol Jackson, FCHC

  2. Andy Rankin (Falls Church) on January 21st, 2011 6:12 pm

    Stephen said that the FCHC ask for additional “help” not “resources” and I think that is a fair way to characterize the request.

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