Virginia Housing Funds Affordable Housing Developments Using Modular Construction


Construction of Gateway Senior Apartments in Fishersville, Virginia

Over the past decade, Virginia has experienced steady population growth. While this is positive news for the state, it also highlights the huge need for more affordable housing.

In 2019, of the more than 8.5 million people residing in Virginia, an estimated 9.9% were living in poverty, the US census reported. The state does not have enough affordable housing to meet these needs, as well as those of other residents.

Housing Virginie, an organization that supports state residents By improving access to affordable housing through its resources, programs and other initiatives, embraces modular construction to help solve this problem.

Modular construction differs from traditional methods in that instead of all of the construction taking place on site, the foundation is built on site while the rest of the parts are simultaneously manufactured in the factory and delivered when complete. The finished sections are then assembled at the top of the foundation.

Virginia Housing’s first financing project using modular construction is Gateway Senior Apartments, a affordable housing community located in Fishersville for qualifying residents over age 55 who earn 60% or less of the area’s median income. Within the property there are 80 units in total, comprising 30 one-bedroom apartments and 50 two-bedroom apartments, as well as amenities including a fitness center.

According to Art Bowen, director of rental housing at Virginia Housing, 75% of this new facility will be built off-site and shipped to the final location. Once these parts are assembled, developers can begin putting together the parts necessary for the functioning of the building, such as the electrical and plumbing systems, before finally putting the roof and siding in place. Construction is currently underway and is expected to continue until spring 2022.

Bowen said that by using modular construction, the project is expected to be completed at a faster pace, which will save time and money.

“This process has a number of advantages, the most important being the time savings,” Bowen said in a declaration. “In fact, if this development had been built using conventional construction, it would have taken 24 months. Using modular construction, it will be built in 15-18 months, saving time of around 30%.

He said this process can also save time by mitigating potential inconveniences to the site, such as weather-related delays. The planned construction time would allow tenants to move in earlier, providing much-needed housing and community support.

Another project funded by Virginia Housing that uses modular construction is the Five Points neighborhood in Martinsville, a housing development composed of a dozen modular cottage-style residences and 15 townhouses. These properties are aimed at home buyers with considered low to middle incomes, many of whom commute up to 50 miles away to work in the town of Martinsville or Henry County. As there have not been many new properties built in the area in over a decade, this development aims to fill the need for housing and provide workers with an affordable solution.

Virginia Housing Director of Strategic Housing Chris Thompson said this project was made possible by the city collective efforts.

“What we are seeing in the town of Martinsville is a fantastic example of working together to help meet the need for more housing for the workforce,” said Thompson. “This formidable partnership brings together representatives from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, all contributing financial and technical resources to provide an innovative solution.”

Virginia Housing plans to fund more developments using modular building methods and other innovative construction methods, to support their mission to help Virginians get affordable, quality housing.

This article was produced in collaboration between Housing Virginie and Studio B. Bisnow press staff were not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, contact [email protected]

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