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AHC To Hand Over Management Of 35 Properties, Citing 'Pandemic Challenges,' Labor Shortage

The Frederick at Courthouse, a multifamily development and headquarters for nonprofit developer AHC Inc.

After complaints of rodents and poor maintenance and upheaval in its C-suite, nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. announced Tuesday it would hand off management of all of its properties to independent operators.

The developer, which owns 35 properties across Arlington, Fairfax and Montgomery counties and the cities of Alexandria and Baltimore, acknowledged in a statement that it was not up to the task of managing its properties, ARLNow first reported.

AHC Interim CEO Susan Cunningham said "two years of pandemic challenges, supply chain issues and persistent labor shortages" forced the nonprofit to seek new property managers. 

Drucker + Falk, Harbor Group, Paradigm Management and WinnResidential are expected to take over operations at the AHC properties. They intend to retain the roughly 100 impacted AHC employees staffing the buildings. AHC said the transition will begin in January, and it expects to finalize the process in April.

The developer has faced increasing scrutiny from Arlington County government after residents of the Serrano Apartments, an AHC property at 5535 Columbia Pike, repeatedly complained about mold, mice and other issues. AHC CEO Walter Webdale retired in May after the nonprofit was forced to hand over management of the Serrano Apartments to Drucker + Falk.

Arlington is taking a much closer look at its affordable housing stock as it prepares for a massive influx of workers from Amazon's HQ2 and other associated developments. 

Another nonprofit developer, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housingannounced plans to build a 571-unit affordable housing project on North Pierce Street in May.

In January, Amazon itself announced it would be investing $2B toward affordable housing across areas where it housed significant operations, including Northern Virginia. The corporation sent some of that money toward the Crystal House apartment complex next to its headquarters in May, preserving the building's affordability for 99 years.

But developers say more work is needed to create and preserve safe affordable housing in the county. Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing  CEO Carmen Romero said at a Bisnow event in August the county needs to remove onerous zoning restrictions and lighten the costs for affordable housing developers to meet the county's goal of 320,000 new housing units by 2030.