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Canadian Firm Enters D.C. Market With $69M Apartment Deal

A 340-unit apartment community in Alexandria will remain income-restricted after it traded hands for $69M.

The Lafayette Apartments at 7136 Groveton Gardens Road in Alexandria was constructed in 1966.

Spira Equity Partners, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based private investment firm that preserves affordable housing, purchased the Lafayette Apartments at 7136 Groveton Gardens Road from Jonathan Rose Cos. Capital One, which provided a $36M Freddie Mac loan, announced the sale in a press release Monday.

The property is Spira Equity Partners’ first acquisition in the region. Its 2,300-unit portfolio is largely concentrated in California, with a few properties in Florida and one in Arizona.

“With the demand for affordable housing far outpacing supply, we are focused on investing in long-term preservation that ensures stable housing for our residents,” Spira Equity Partners Managing Partner Robert Lee said in the release. 

“With the acquisition of Lafayette Apartments, we are pleased to expand our impact to the Mid-Atlantic region and continue bringing quality affordable housing to high-cost markets,” he added.

Jonathan Rose Cos. purchased the 1960s-era property in 2016, according to its website, and it conducted multiple renovations, including one in 2019. Lafayette Apartments is 100% affordable for residents making up to 60% of the area median income.

The sale came weeks after residents of the apartment community held a rally protesting rent increases and “unsafe” conditions, FFXNow reported.

Advocacy group Tenants and Workers United, which organized the protest, said property manager Rose Community Management increased rents by the maximum allowed for properties eligible for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and it said residents reported "widespread inconsistency" in the increases. Rose Community Management told FFXNow that it increased rents by 10%, “significantly lower than what is allowed by law” for affordable housing.

TWU also alleged “unsafe and unhealthy living conditions” on the property, rodent infestations, neglected maintenance requests and unusable common areas, according to FFXNow.

Spira Equity Partners didn't respond to a request for comment about the residents' concerns.