Brit Curry, who moved into Crescent Apartments two months ago, hadn’t heard anything about it. Neither had Selvin Ruano or Sunitha Paleti, other Crescent residents.
About two months ago, the Mark Winkler Company put Crescent and Fairway Apartments up for sale, along with 10 of its other apartment multi-housing properties.
What happens to the two Reston apartment complexes, both off of North Shore Drive and near Lake Anne, will depend on who ends up buying the properties.
Hyped as "outstanding in-fill locations," the properties could attract a diverse set of interested buyers, from developers to other property-management companies. The affordable housing offered at the Crescent complex features 180 rental units, from one- to three-bedroom dwellings. In 18 three-story buildings on 19 acres, Fairway offers 346 rental units, also with one- to three-bedroom dwellings.
Rent for apartments at Crescent range from $980 for a one-bedroom, one bath unit to $1,410 for a three-bedroom, two bathroom unit. At Fairway, rents range from $1,225 for a one-bedroom, one bathroom unit to $1,545 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit.
"I had no idea," said Curry about the sale of Crescent. Curry, who grew up in Reston, said he wished he’d been notified by Winkler. A property manager with Crescent declined to comment, referring questions to corporate representatives, who did not return multiple telephone calls.
FOR CRESCENT, which was a frequently discussed property during the three-day Lake Anne revitalization charrette in June, the possibility for redevelopment was another selling point mentioned by CB Richard Ellis, the real estate company selling the Winkler portfolio. "Potential for converting some communities to condominiums" is one of the key attributes listed for the properties in a CBRE brochure.
CBRE is specifically marketing Crescent as an investment redevelopment opportunity, trying to leverage the ongoing revitalization effort at Lake Anne. "Crescent has recently been incorporated into a new Fairfax County plan for redevelopment of the Lake Anne section of Reston, presenting a significant apartment or condominium re-development opportunity for the new owner," said the CBRE brochure.
At the charrette, planners suggested razing the current five three-story buildings on the 16-acre site and erecting four clusters of low-rise buildings with towers at the corners of each cluster, totaling 720 units. Since most of the 200 charrette participants repeatedly emphasized the need to maintain affordable housing, the plan included an array of housing types.
Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D) recognizes the "level of affordability" that Crescent offers. She said the sale of the property is a "real concern" for the county.
"This is an opportunity to see if our commitment of one penny [from real estate taxes] to affordable housing can be used to see if those units can be preserved or some aspect of those units can be preserved," said Hudgins referring to the $18 million raised by the county this year by committing one penny from the real estate tax to preserving affordable housing.
Hudgins said the effort, called the Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative, will give the county a stronger voice in any future discussions to maintain affordable housing at Crescent.
FOR NOW, few residents and potential residents know that the complexes could be undergoing changes when sold. Last Monday, Laxman Uchlani inquired about an apartment at Fairway Apartments. When he left the rental office, he said he hadn’t been told that the complex was for sale.
"I don’t think it would matter if I had a lease, though," said Uchlani.
Others, like Ruano and Curry, want to be kept informed. "If it’s going to have any change on the rent or the building, then I’d like to know," said Ruano.