Reston, VA

Seniors living in two of Fellowship Square’s housing communities have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The first dose of the vaccine was distributed on Jan. 18 at Lake Anne Fellowship House in Reston. Another dose was administered at Lake Ridge Fellowship House in Woodbridge on Jan. 19. The vaccine will be provided for residents at Hunters Woods Fellowship House in Reston in February.

The move falls in line with the Virginia Department of Health’s Phase 1b for distribution of the vaccine: “Vaccinate Frontline Essential Workers, People Aged 65 years and Older, People Living in Correctional Facilities, Homeless Shelters and Migrant Labor Camps, and People aged 16 through 64 years with a High Risk Medical Condition or Disability that Increases Their Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19.”

The vaccine was administered door to door through a mobile health collaboration with local CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. The mobile units will return to administer the second dose of the vaccine.

“While we will continue to keep safety precautions in place, we now at least can offer our residents the additional level of health, safety and security that being vaccinated against COVID-19 brings,” Christy Zeitz, CEO of Fellowship Square, said in a press release.

“There is a lot of excitement among our residents and staff – they have been looking forward to this day for many months.”

Fellowship Square houses more than 700 seniors between its three housing communities. The organization is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit with a reported average resident age of 78.

The nonprofit says it has combatted COVID-19 in its residences with proactive safety and sanitation efforts. It has also provided regular educational updates in more than nine languages that are spoken throughout its communities.

Fellowship Square has also organized a “Check In and Chat” effort for volunteers to call residents to check on their well-being and offer companionship. The organization also has volunteer opportunities through “Fellowship Fresh” to deliver food donations to residents’ doors.

Photos courtesy Fellowship Square

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As it approaches its 60th anniversary, Lake Anne Fellowship House is proactive aiming to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the independent living facility. So far, the fellowship house has had only five COVID-19 cases across four of its Fellowship House communities.

The recent diagnosis of a vendor in late October, however, concerned some residents who told Reston Now they were anxious to find out who the vendor may have had close contact with.

Staff say they have proactively handled the situation and ensured all necessary steps are taken, including identifying staff who came in contact with the vendor. Shelley Ducker, the organization’s communications coordinator told Reston Now, residents were notified of the case promptly on Oct. 29.

“We reminded residents that ‘in addition to our adoption of aggressive precautionary measures to avoid COVID-19 at Fellowship House… we also proactively developed an action plan to manage a diagnosed case,'” Ducker wrote in a statement.

Ducker says staff are working hard to protect residents and follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Residents are recommended to stay in their apartments or limit trips in and out of the building to avoid contact with others. Residents can also contact the organization’s service coordinator if they are in need of food or other necessities.

While it is important to note that Fellowship Square Foundation is independent living (as opposed to assisted care facilities), we have not only made safety a key priority, we are also supporting residents to ensure they have the essentials they need. We help to ensure that independent does not mean alone,” Ducker said.

As the pandemic continues, staff hope to celebrate Fellowship Square’s 60th anniversary in pandemic-friendly ways. Staff has delivered cupcakes to each resident. And given out goodies like hand sanitizers. A “Stay Home and Celebrate” anniversary event is planned for Dec. 2.

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The redevelopment of the Lake Anne Fellowship House is finally underway after years in the making.

Enterprise Community Development (ECD) and Fellowship Square Foundation broke ground at the site on Thursday, Oct. 22. The mid-rise development — located at 11444 North Shore Drive — will replace the existing Lake Anne Fellowship House that sits adjacent to the new site.

The eight-story building is part of an $86 million project that will serve low-income senior residents. It will feature 240 affordable apartments for senior residents with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income for at least 30 years, according to a press release.

“Many of our residents live on Social Security or Supplemental Security Income alone, and the average annual income across our communities is approximately $12,000 (per) year,” Christy Zeitz, CEO of Fellowship Square, said in a press release.

“The new, modernized Fellowship Square residences will be more space-efficient, energy-efficient, and will provide enhanced amenities — while still assuring that rent is a historic milestone for Fellowship Square, critical investment in the greater Reston community, and an important contribution to housing solutions in our region.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the project in Oct. 2018 to replace the buildings that were constructed in 1971 and 1974. The project completion is expected in the summer of 2022.

All units in the new building will meet universal design standards, while 54 units will be compliant with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. The original buildings predate the Americans with Disabilities Act, so accessibility has been a challenge for residents, according to the press release.

The new building will feature on-site management, resident services offices and a wellness clinic for visiting medical professionals. It will also include a fitness center, arts and crafts room, a large social hall, sunroom, game room, and an outdoor terrace.

Funding for the project largely comes from $46.5 million in tax-exempt bond financing from Virginia Housing and $21.5 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through Enterprise Housing Credit Investments by Capital One.

Additional funding comes through the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Virginia Community Capital and bridge financing from Enterprise Community Loan Fund as well as equity from ECD and Fellowship Square Foundation.

“The new Lake Anne House is a great example of how housing partners can work together, united by a shared purpose, to move an important project like this forward,” Susan Dewey, CEO of Virginia Housing, said in a press release.

Residents will remain in the current buildings during the two-year construction of the new building and will move to the new building upon its completion.

Following the construction of the building, the existing buildings will be demolished and sold for a future 36-unit multi-family townhome community.

“It is very exciting to see this important project become a reality for our community,” Walter Alcorn, Supervisor at Fairfax County’s Hunter Mill District, wrote in a press release.

“The Fellowship House has been home for many low-income seniors over the past five decades, allowing them to age in place near the cultural and historical center of our Reston community — and often near family. The new Lake Anne House will continue that tradition with essential upgrades in accessibility features and available programs and services that enable residents to take full advantage of the benefits and opportunities life in Fairfax County affords.”

Photo courtesy Fellowship Square Foundation

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Residents of Lake Anne Fellowship House will soon benefit from new facilities after a company closed on a $86 million deal.

The new development will be located on empty property adjacent to the existing building and create 240 affordable apartments for low-income residents, according to a press release.

Amenities at the new location will include a fitness center, an arts and crafts room, a social hall, a sunroom, a game room and an outdoor terrace and wellness clinic.

To fund the project, “Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority awarded the project 122 project-based vouchers with HUD providing the rest,” the press release said. “The project financing incorporated $46.5 million in tax exempt bond financing from the VHDA as well as a $700,000 loan from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund.”

Other sources of funding came from Capital One, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Enterprise Community Loan Fund and Enterprise Community Development, according to the press release.

The pre-existing building will be demolished and sold for townhomes once all the existing residents are transferred over to the new facility, the press release said.

A groundbreaking for the project is expected to be held later this year. Development will likely open in June 2022.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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A security guard at Lake Anne Fellowship House, a 240-unit development for seniors in need of affordable housing, has tested positive for coronavirus.

Fellowship Square Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and support services for low-income seniors, is working with the security company to identify if the guard came into contact with staff or residents, according to Christy Zeitz, the foundation’s CEO.

A cleaning crew is also conducting deep cleaning and sanitizing of all areas where the guard was in and around, including common areas, doorknobs, elevators, the front desk, and handrails.

In a notice to tenants and families yesterday (April 21), Zeitz said the foundation is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the security company to contain the spread of the virus.

“The health and safety of all residents and staff is our foremost priority,” Zeitz wrote. “We are working closely with the company and state health officials to ensure all necessary steps are taken, including the identification of staff who recently came into contact with the vendor.”

All residents have been instructed to stay in their apartments. Service coordinators will contact residents and their families over the phone or email to ensure residents have food and other necessities.

Older adults and people with several underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of developing more serious complications from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All potentially affected staff are at home in quarantine and there is no personal contact between staff and residents.

The Fellowship House is seeking donation of food and groceries for residents so that they don’t need to leave the premises for supplies, as well as protective masks. Although the organization is awaiting an order of 1,700 masks for its residents, it’s unclear when the shipment will arrive.

File photo

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Previously approved plans for the redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House are coming closer to reality following the securement of $3 million from the county.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to authorize the county’s housing authority to provide a $3 million loan for the project.

“The folks that are living in the existing Lake Anne Fellowship House have been waiting for this for a long time,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn. “I think everything about it is actually quite straightforward and I’m very excited about having this move forward even in these uncertain times.”

Pat Herrity’s attempt to defer the vote failed. Herrity said he was concerned about approving the loan during “different and difficult times.”

The redevelopment plan ensures the 240-unit development, which offers affordable housing for seniors in Reston, will remain affordable for the next 30 years.

The plan, which was approved in Oct. 2018, would redevelop two aging buildings built in the 1970s, into a single building along North Shore Drive. Fellowship Square Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and maintains the current facility, and the Community Preservation and Development Corp., also plans to add 36 market-rate townhouses to the west of the property in order to help finance the construction of senior housing.

Construction is expected to begin in May, according to county documents.

Here’s more from the county on the project:

The Project will also be much more livable than Fellowship House: 100 percent of the units, and all of the common areas, are designed to Universal Design standards. Further, 54 of the units are designed to be fully accessible under the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, which is nearly double the accessibility code requirement. The units will be built to EarthCraft standards of energy efficiency. Fellowship House currently has a “two-pipe” central heating and cooling system, but the units in the new building will each have efficient, individually controlled HVAC systems.

To encourage energy conservation, the apartments will be individually metered for electricity. The residents will receive a utility allowance as part of their rent calculation. The Project will include extensive amenity spaces, including a business center, garden center, arts and crafts room, wellness room, game room and cybercafé. The Project includes an approximately 8,000 square-foot private outdoor terrace for the residents as well as an interactive tot lot and pocket park which will be available to the community at large.

The developers have also secured tax-exempt bonds from the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Fellowship Square, which operates affordable housing facilities for seniors at Lake Anne Fellowship House and Hunters Woods Fellowship House, has launched a new approach to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus. The living facilities are home to residents who are identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “high risk” due to age.

The health and safety of our residents and staff is always our primary concern. Fellowship Square is an independent living facility and therefore relies upon the cooperation of its residents in jointly combating this dissimilar virus pandemic,” said Shelley Ducker, a spokesperson for Fellowship Square.

The company is working with its property management company, S.L. Nusbaum, to implement new cleaning procedures. All non-essential activities and programs have been canceled until further notice and bus trips are limited for medical and food supply purposes online.

As part of its “aggressive and pro-active approach,” Ducker also noted that signage at all entrances requests high-risk visitors from entering the building, including those who recently traveled overseas, took a cruise, or show symptoms of illness. sanitizer and hand wipes are also available in high traffic areas. One sign reminds staff to avoid shaking hands with residents and guests to decrease the spread of germs.

We remain on high alert and continue to monitor news and other viable sources of information,” Ducker said.

This week, Reston Hospital Center also instituted new visitation restrictions. All visitors and patients are being directed to use specific entrances for health screenings.

“Any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked and immediately isolated to protect our colleagues and other patients,” according to Todd McGovern, the hospital’s spokesperson. “We continue to work in partnership with the local, county and state health department and the CDC and will provide updates to our hospital and medical staff as necessary.”

Photo via Fellowship House

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Fellowship Square, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and services for seniors with limited incomes and resources, is hosting its second annual fundraising tonight (Wednesday).

The event, “Winter Wonderland Fundraiser for Affordable Housing,” takes place at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge (2222 Colts Neck Road) from 6-8 p.m.

Here’s more about the organization from its website:

Residents at our four Fellowship Houses are active, independent, and remain engaged with life in their communities. Some residents are area natives, with most of them coming from the East Coast and states east of the Mississippi River. However, many residents relocated from across the country, or from other nations, to be near family members.

Residents often worked in occupations with little or no retirement benefits such as teaching, cosmetology, unskilled labor, and farming. Some are even refugees from forced labor camps. All have limited means and many live on Social Security or Supplemental Security Income alone. Without Fellowship Houses, many of our residents would live in less than ideal conditions or be homeless

There is no entrance fee, but RSVPs are encouraged. The fundraiser will include win, beer raffle prizes, and desserts.

More information about the event is available online.

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Once the Lake Anne Fellowship House is redeveloped, bronze canvas-like art will wrap around the garage that rests below the 240-unit building.

Reston Association’s Design Review Board approved the final design at on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

At the meeting, Suzane. Welch, vice president of the Community Preservation and Development Corp. said the company was considering relocation trees planned in front of the screen.

The concept was approved by Public Art Reston‘s public art committee, which suggested relocating the trees to showcase the artwork more effectively.

Overall, DRB members said they were pleased with the design.

Richard Newlon, chairman of the panel, said the company should consider retaining the trees in order to create a buffer between the sidewalk and the building. He added that he liked the aesthetic of the screen, which consists of a perforated metal panel.

“It’s supposed to be background. It’s not supposed to be canvas art,” Newlon said.

Other members noted that the art would require maintenance due to its design.

The county approved the redevelopment of the fellowship house, which offers affordable housing for seniors, in October 2018.

Once the building is redeveloped, the development team will build 36 market-rate townhouses to the west side of property. 

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The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which has provided affordable housing for seniors in Reston fore more than 40 years, received a funding boost on Tuesday (June 5) .

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the project will receive $700,000 in state gap funding, one of 17 projects in the state to tap into $11.1 million in affordable and special needs housing loans.

In a release, the loans will create or maintain 1,283 affordable housing units in the state. Northam made the announcement at American Legion Post in Arlington.

Loans were awarded through a competitive process by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding streams for loans include a combination of state and federal sources.

The state selected proposals from 29 applications requesting a total of more than $21 million. Proposals were scored based on funding availability.

“Through this program, we are providing the necessary financing to preserve and create safe and sustainable housing for many low-to-moderate-income Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball in a statement.

Four other Northern Virginia projects received funding:

  • $1.3 Million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 94
  • $1 million for the Residences at North Hill Bond 47
  • $700,000 for The Arden
  • $700,000 for Virginia Square

The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which was approved in October last year, will preserve 240 apartments as affordable units for seniors for the next 30 years.

Approved plans call for replacing the existing apartments at Lake Anne Fellowship House with a modern building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road.  The plan also include 36 market rate townhouses to help pay for the cost of senior housing.

The project is part of a partnership between Fellowship Square Foundation, which owns and operates Lake Anne House, and real estate developer Community Preservation and Development Corp.

Rendering via Fairfax County Government

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, a 240-unit project that offers affordable housing for seniors.

County officials and the development team called the approval, granted on Tuesday (Oct. 16), a win for seniors seeking affordable housing in Reston. For years, community partners and Fellowship Square Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and maintains the current buildings, have contemplated ways to replace the aging buildings with a new facility.

All affordable units, currently distributed between two aging buildings built in the 1970s, will be replaced with a new 240-unit building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road. The eight-story apartment building is 200,000 square feet and includes a garage. The plan also adds 36 market-rate townhouses to the west side of the property that will help finance the construction of senior housing.

Lake Anne’s current tenants will stay in their apartment during the two-year construction of the new building. After residents move, the old buildings will be torn down and converted into townhouses.

“The residents are excited and they are looking forward to a brand-new facility,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, adding that the addition of townhouses “brings in another neighbor to the community to coalesce with this current group of citizens and those that will come in the future.”

The project is led by Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corp., a nonprofit real estate developer. The development team navigated through many difficult issues to bring the project to fruition, including preserving the number of affordable units and maintaining housing for all current tenants, according to Lynne Strobel, representative of Fellowship Square Foundation. A previous partnership with Novus Residences failed to gain traction in 2004.

The need for the project intensified recently as subsidies from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development expired or will expire within the next five years, Strobel said. The current buildings were also becoming difficult and costly to maintain, she said.

The units offer different levels of affordability, with the first tier beginning at 50 percent of the area median income or about $41,050 per person. The plan also includes eight publicly-accessible parks and transportation improvements. The development team plans to dedicate land for the future alignment of Village Road, which will include a new northbound lane, an eight-foot-wide raised median and 10-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Michael Scheurer, a Fellowship Square Foundation board member, said the redevelopment effort was complicated, difficult and serves as a growing number of aging residents in Reston in need of affordable housing opportunities. The foundation has another 220-unit affordable senior housing project that is undergoing renovations.

“You can see that we have a longterm and substantial investment in the community,” Scheurer said.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Reston Association’s Design Review Board unanimously shot down T-Mobile’s plans to install cell phone equipment on the roof of Waterford Square Condominiums Tuesday night — noting that the company’s tweaked plans did little to address residents’ concerns about the equipment’s incompatibility with the building.

T-Mobile proposed to install cell phone equipment on the building, igniting vehement opposition from residents’ who argued the equipment was extremely visible, damaged the building’s character and posed possible health concerns.

Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chair, said T-Mobile’s plan, which was similar to plans rejected by the board in April, did little to address the panel’s concerns about the visibility of the equipment. Panels are around 12 feet high and 10 feet wide.

“It was clear in April that this kind of design is not going to get approved by this board and it’s the same design,” Newlon said. “It’s almost embarrassing to be sitting here saying the same thing again and I don’t want to be… six months from now… saying the same thing again.”

DRB members also worried that installing cell phone equipment on a residential building could lead to similar proposals by other service providers. The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House prompted T-Mobile to remove its equipment from the rooftop and scout for other locations in Reston.

More than 25 people, including condominium residents and neighbors of the building, opposed the plan on Tuesday. Some noted that their stance was not indicative of mere opposition to change, adding that residents of the condominium were exploring the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof.

“We’re not trying to live in the past,” one resident, who lived in the building for roughly 20 years, said.

Ed Donahue, T-Mobile’s legal representative, said the company had attempted to strike a compromise by scaling back the structure from the edge of the roof and installing plastic, brick-like screening for the equipment. Donahue also noted that possible health concerns and zoning were outside of the DRB’s purview.

“We are in full compliance of the federal guidelines as we are on the thousands of sites in Virginia,” Donahue said, comparing T-Mobile’s plans to a similar installation at the Heron House.

Other DRB members said that T-Mobile failed to convince the board how the cell phone equipment and towers would be compatible with the architectural integrity of the building.

“I still see that it’s visible and it does detract from the architecture and the roofline,” said Grace Peters, a DRB member.

The equipment by other companies displaced by development at the Lake Anne Fellowship House have not yet proposed plans for reinstallation to other sites.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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Tweaks to the redevelopment proposal of the Lake Anne Fellowship House will head to Reston Association’s Design Review Board for consideration on September 18.

The plan calls for redeveloping Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing community for seniors on North Shore Drive, into a new, eight-story, multi-family building for seniors. The 240-unit building will include a crafts room, community gardens, and a garage. A terrace will overlook North Shore Drive.

The remainder of the property will include up to 72 market-rate, for-sale townhouses to help finance the senior housing construction project.

In July, the DRB suggested a series of changes, including redesigning the southeast corner of the multi-family building away from North Shore Drive, redesigning the building’s parking garage, rethinking the placement of a row of townhouses away from North Shore Drive, more landscaping, and more contemporary architecture that uses flat roofs, rooftop terraces and metal canopies.

Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation redesigned the multifamily building by shifting the parking garage from the base of the building to allow for more landscaping and further distance from North Shore Drive.

The garage wall will be screened by louvers or metal panels. To address concerns about the placement of two rows of townhouses, the applicant plans to increase the space between some rows by three feet. Architectural designs will also include more modern and contemporary elements.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive in the conference center. The project will go before the county’s Planning Commission on October 4 and the county’s Board of Supervisors on October 16.

Photos via Reston Association/Handout

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Growing pains — Proposals to increase population density have been met by fierce community opposition. A Burke resident fires back, arguing that Reston’s development isn’t finished yet. [Greater Greater Washington]

Forging a new fellowship — Lake Anne Fellowship House could soon be transformed into a new 240-unit apartment building for seniors in need of affordable housing. Plans, which also include 74 townhouses, will go before the Design Review Board on March 19[Reston Association]

Second phase of Loudoun Station begins — Reston-based Comstock is set to begin the $75 million development project as Metro service inches closer. [Washington Business Journal]

Wins in the first regional champion for girls indoor track —  With dominating performances in the sprints and relays, the South Lakes High School girls’ team won the 6A North Region D indoor track and field championship in mid-February. [SLHS]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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The county has formally accepted redevelopment plans for Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing senior community on North Shore Drive.

Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation envision the proposal will enhance senior housing residential opportunities, diversity housing types and revitalize Lake Anne Village Center.

“All existing affordable housing units will be replaced in a new, more efficient modern building with better amenities to serve its senior population. This proposal remains true to Robert E. Simon’s vision to provide communities comprised of a diverse residential population in a sustainable environment,” according to a proposal filed with the county last month.

The new plans call for replacing all 240 apartment units in the existing 1970s-era facility. Amenities include a social hall, crafts room, fitness room, wellness center, a game room, two plazas and community gardens.

The remainder of the property will include up to 74 townhouses, diversifying the types of housing and serving as a transition to the established townhouse community to the west, the proposal said.  Townhouses will have garages and surface parking for visitors.

New residents will access the buildings through North Shore Drive. Surface parking and an underground parking garage will offer 92 parking spaces.

Residents would remain in their current living space until the new facility is complete, and after they are transferred the old buildings would be destroyed. The portion of the property left unused would be sold for residential development, and the proceeds from the sale would help support the cost of the project.

The collaboration between Fellowship Square and CPDC comes after several years of on-again, off-again plans for redevelopment of the property. Most recently, in 2013, the foundation had an agreement with Cafritz Interests and Novus Development for new housing on the site. That effort fell through by September 2014, which the foundation said was “due to our inability to advance our land use proposal in a manner that will produce the best possible outcome for our residents.”

For more information, visit www.fellowshipsquare.org or www.cpdc.org.

Renderings via Handout/Grimm and Parker

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