welcome cross-subsidy to the financial cocktail needed
to price the rest of the units affordably.
“In general, affordable housing is not built with one
funding source,” said Stephanie Roodman, senior project manager with the MHP. “It’s built with anywhere
from three to 10 funding sources.”
One of the key subsidies for the Bonifant at Silver
Spring is a deeply discounted ground lease from the
county — $25,000 a year for 77 years for a total of
A rundown apartment building with a history of code
violations occupied most of the library and senior
housing site before the county purchased it in 1999.
The county later bought two adjacent parcels.
The land is prime downtown real estate near transit.
It’s an ideal location for senior housing, but the MHP
never could have built affordable housing there if it
paid full price for its half of the site.
“The county could have sold that land for $10 million to someone else,” Roodman said. “We were really
lucky because we have a county that’s committed to
The library opened last spring followed by the apartments this spring. Montgomery County now requires
that all county agencies consider colocating affordable
housing when constructing new facilities or redeveloping or disposing of any county land.
Not to be overshadowed by the financial benefits of
colocation is the potential synergy of putting public
facilities and affordable housing side by side. “You’d
be crazy not to be excited about living right next to a
library with all of its programs,” Roodman said.
Adopting a policy to use public land for affordable
housing is one thing, but getting the desired result
is another. In 2002, San Francisco required that surplus public land be transferred to the mayor’s office to
Montgomery County requires
that all county agencies consider
colocating affordable housing
when constructing new facilities.
Burien Town Square in
King County, Wash. Burien has
been busy rebuilding and reinventing itself. Downtown’s major
arterial received a makeover
with widened sidewalks, benches,
landscaping and old-fashioned
lampposts. In 2009, Burien Town
Square opened its first buildings,
a joint King County Regional
Library and Burien City Hall,
in a multi-story condominium/
Photos by Michael B