By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Aug.26 — Nearly 100 people showed up on Friday for People Inc.’s Open House at Luray Meadows, which may begin to fill the first of its 52 rental units soon after Labor Day.
“It’s a great day in Luray,” Mayor Jerry Dofflemyer said inside the new community center at the apartment complex. “Housing of course, like many places, is an issue, and to have 52 units at one time is big.”
The affordable housing project funded in part by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development expects to have active leases finalized by as early as this week, according to Bryan Ailey, Vice President and Chief Development Officer for People Inc.
The project has been nearly a decade in the making, hitting stumbling blocks along the way from plans to locate along Collins Avenue derailing to funding obstacles that took time to build and process through government channels.
“We reached our destination, and it’s been quite a journey,” Mayor Dofflemyer stated when ground was broken on the project in early June of last year.
In mid-April 2021, WB Properties & Construction first began moving dirt at the 9-acre site along Airport Road adjacent to the Luray airport’s runway. Vertical construction of the 52-unit housing development — dubbed Luray Meadows Apartments — began in August, one year ago.
Luray Meadows marks the first new construction of a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project in Page County since 1996. Abingdon-based, non-profit People Inc. invested “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in the pre-development phase and stayed with the project, along with local officials, until its completion in recent weeks.
“I’ve been representing this area for 19 years, and I’ve been spending time here for 25 years,” Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) said during Friday’s Open House.”And the thing that I always hear people say is ‘we need to keep more of our kids here’ after high school, or have them return after college and part of that is attracting businesses to create jobs…and education is a factor, having employees is a factor, but equally, housing is a factor…affordable housing is critical to attracting businesses and keeping them here.”
People Inc. says that a waiting list for the rental units is already being complied as the new housing complex has sparked “a lot of interest.”
According to printed material distributed by People Inc. at Friday’s Open House, there are “836 cost-burdened renter households in need of affordable housing in Luray and Page County” — and there is currently only one other affordable housing/LIHTC project in the market area that provides rentals fo families — all others are restricted to senior households.
The total cost of development was $13.45 million and it was funded through:
- Virginia Housing REACH
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) HOME
- Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) HOME
- DHCD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
- VCDC LIHTC Equity
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Capital Magnet Funding (CMF)
According to People Inc., Luray Meadows rent cost averages 40 percent less than the average achievable Market Rate Rents.
Rents at Luray Meadows range from $465 to $650 for a two-bedroom apartment, and from $535 to $750 for a three-bedroom apartment. Each unit comes with EarthCraft Gold Green Building Certification and the housing complex offers a community building with laundry facilities, community room, leasing office and maintenance office.
“It’s affordable housing that doesn’t look like affordable housing,” People Inc. President and CEO Bryan Phipps said on Friday.
Of the 52 total units — 41 feature two bedrooms and 1.5 baths, while 11 are three-bedroom units with two full bathrooms. Six units are fully accessible for persons with disabilities, and 26 units built to Virginia Housing Universal Design Guidelines.
For more information, visit peopleinc.net