Huntington multifamily housing projects are put on ice
Since late April 2023, two major projects planned near the Huntington Metro station have been temporarily shelved due to economic conditions — the redevelopment of the Huntington Club condominiums and, more recently, the proposed expansion of Riverside Apartments.
According to the executive director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), Evan Kaufman, the delays in plans are “par for the course” in what his organization is seeing in real estate.
“Lending has tightened a bit, and the higher interest rates have made it much more difficult to make the numbers work, especially on larger deals,” said Kaufman.” While he hasn’t yet heard about other project delays along the Richmond Highway corridor, he’s seen a general slowdown in deal transactions and interest in properties.
The latest data from CoStar seems to bear this out. According to the Multi-Family Submarket Report for Huntington/Springfield prepared by SFDC on May 30, the number of residential units completed in the past eight quarters was 876, with an additional 366 units expected for delivery in the next eight quarters and zero units newly proposed for construction during that time frame. In the Huntington Metro area, only the Aventon Huntington Station is still under construction, with tenant move-in currently slated for fall 2023.
The pause in future development projects, particularly at Huntington Club, is viewed as significant by Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell, who will potentially represent the Huntington area if he’s reelected to the newly drawn 34th Senate District.
“The Huntington Club project was the largest redevelopment project in the Richmond Highway corridor and, once constructed, will create significant new activity in the Huntington Avenue area, which will transform that community for the next 50 years,” said Surovell.
He noted that the project, which involves converting 364 existing garden-style condo units into townhouse, multifamily residential, office, hotel and continuing care facilities, has been in the works for years but could be at risk if the current Huntington Club homeowners don’t extend their agreement to sell their property. If the deal falls through, there could be additional demand for other residential projects further south on the corridor, he said.
Despite the recent opening of several multifamily housing properties around Richmond Highway — including the Arden, the Belhaven and South Alex — and the start of leasing at North Hill, the residential sections of the corridor are not overpopulated, according to Surovell. The area has stopped increasing in population at least partly due to the popularity of remote work, he said.
What hasn’t stopped growing is the number of cars on local roads, and Surovell sees new multifamily housing construction as necessary for braking that trend.
“Traffic volume is the issue, and we can reduce it by constructing more high-density development that relies upon transit instead of cars,” he said. “Arlington County has done a wonderful job of this along Wilson Boulevard and Fairfax Drive where you never see congestion. That should be our objective.”