On the evening of January 31st, ULI Washington members gathered to learn about The Lindley, a new luxury, mixed-income multifamily building in the heart of Chevy Chase. The Lindley is the result of a unique public-private partnership between Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC), EYA, and the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. The $75 million project was funded without tax credits or direct subsidies, and is one of the first buildings of its kind to include private equity as a major funding source. Part of a joint effort to capitalize on the forthcoming Purple Line development and create financially self-sustaining affordable housing for HOC, the Lindley furthers HOC’s mission of connecting low- and moderate-income households to employment, education, and transit in high-opportunity neighborhoods.
Previously, the redeveloped land was the site of a 68-unit, garden-style, low-density building owned by HOC rented at market-rate affordable levels. EYA and HOC worked closely with the County to help shape the Chevy Chase Sector Plan to allow for increased density and building heights on the site, maximizing the future light rail investments and introducing additional affordable units in one of the County’s most desirable communities. As a result, the amount of long-term, protected affordable housing on the site more than quadrupled to 90 units.
The new multifamily building is part of a larger 5-acre community that includes a new public park, a new private street, and 62 high-end, for-sale brownstones. While construction began in 2016, planning started in 2013 and involved a comprehensive two-year public engagement process. The community was developed in two phases, beginning with the townhome community, which started delivering in early 2017. These 3,000+ SF homes begin at $1.4 million; ten are reserved for sale at $200,000, making them affordable to households at or below 60% of AMI. The Lindley broke ground in October 2016 and was substantially complete as of Fall 2018, with residents beginning to move in as of October 2018.
The 200-unit, 11-story luxury building has a 2.5-level, 232-space, below-grade parking garage and comprehensive amenities, including ample gathering spaces, a high-end fitness center, a yoga studio, a pet-grooming station, onsite bikeshare, and a bike repair shop. Family-friendly amenities on the building’s north side include an arcade and video games, foosball and pool, and a children’s play room. On the rooftop, an indoor entertainment space and kitchen, dog park, and landscaped terrace overlook Chevy Chase treetops. The building is situated around the new half-acre Jean Banks Park with a granite slide and water features all built atop the below-grade garage. Eighty units (40% of the total unit count) are income-restricted, with 40 targeted to households at 50% of AMI and another 40 workforce units; the remaining 120 units are unrestricted. None of the income-restricted units have subsidies attached; they are internally subsidized by the market rents. The unit mix is comprised of 96 1BR units, 89 2BR units, and 15 3BR units, all of the 3BR units are income-restricted.
ULI Washington members enjoyed a tour of the Lindley following a lively panel discussion moderated by Marcus Ervin, Housing Acquisitions Manager, HOC. Speakers were Stacy Spann, Executive Director, HOC, Kayrine Brown, Chief Investment and Real Estate Officer, HOC, Joe Magnotta, Project Executive, EYA and McLean Quinn, Vice President, EYA. Ultimately, the Lindley is paving the way for a new transit-oriented, high-density neighborhood adjacent to transit and providing affordable housing in one of the highest-cost markets in the region, Chevy Chase. The Lindley can serve as a model for future public-private partnerships to develop affordable and mixed-income housing in an environment of unstable federal funds and reduced subsidies.