Learn more about Reevesland here.
What are the County’s plans for the Reeves Farmhouse?
- Arlington County plans to sign a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) between the Arlington County Board and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (HabitatNOVA) by which the County proposes to convey the farmhouse and its lot (.32-acres) by a Deed of Gift to HabitatNOVA. Key conditions for the LOI :
- HabitatNOVA obtains a Certificate of Appropriateness for their final design plan from the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board
- HabitatNOVA demonstrates they have obtained the required amount of project funds as outlined in the LOI
- The County and HabitatNOVA negotiate an acceptable “Agreement of Conveyance,” which contains the terms and conditions that the County Board and HabitatNOVA propose for the County to convey the property to HabitatNOVA to implement the HabitatNOVA proposal.
How did the County get to this decision?
- Since 2010, Arlington County has been looking for appropriate uses for the historic farmhouse. In 2012 the County issued a Request for Proposals and in 2013 it issued a Request for Interest. No viable options came forward. In 2017 the County Board authorized the County Manager to move forward with the necessary steps to prepare the sale of the farmhouse parcel (and keep 2.2 acres as public parkland).
- In May 2017, HabitatNOVA contacted the County with an unsolicited proposal for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the farmhouse as a group home for developmentally disabled individuals.
- The County has assessed their proposal and sees it as an opportunity to meet the County’s goal of renovation and reuse of the Reeves farmhouse through private capital funding.
Why does the County think this is a good idea?
- The HabitatNOVA proposal supports the County’s goals for the Reeves farmhouse.
- The historic Reeves farmhouse will be preserved, operated and maintained with private funding.
- All exterior alterations to the farmhouse, the construction of new additions and outbuildings, and certain changes to the grounds will require review and approval by the Arlington County Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.
- Over two acres of public parkland will remain for public use. The site features an historic milk shed, a sledding hill, and the Reevesland Learning Center gardens.
- The proposal expands housing for Arlington residents with developmental disabilities.
Is Habitat for Humanity Partnering with Anyone on This Effort?
- HabitatNOVA selected L’Arche Greater Washington, DC (L’Arche) and HomeAid Northern Virginia (HomeAid) as their partners for the project.
- L’Arche is a residential service provider supporting individuals with developmental disabilities with their housing, social, spiritual and recreational support needs. L’Arche owns and operates two other facilities in the County, one on South Highlands Street, which opened in 2006 and a second house on 6th Street South, which opened in 2010.
- HomeAid builds new lives for homeless families and individuals through housing and community outreach. They are the official non-profit of the Northern Virginia Building Industry and a chapter of HomeAid America. Through their Shelter Program, HomeAid builds and renovates non-profit facilities at a cost savings through the generosity of their building partners.
What are next steps for the Reeves farmhouse process?
- The County will hold two public meetings to communicate the HabitatNOVA proposal to the community.
- HabitatNOVA, L’Arche and Home Aid will begin their capital campaigns to raise 25% of the $2.3 million required for the project.
- HabitatNOVA will submit its preliminary concept plans to the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board’s Design Review Committee for comments and recommendations.
- HabitatNOVA will apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board and seek approval for their plans at an HALRB public hearing.
- When HabitatNOVA has met the required LOI conditions, staff will bring an “Agreement of Conveyance” to the County Board for their deliberation and approval.
- The “Agreement of Conveyance” will be executed when HabitatNOVA completes the conditions precedent to closing on the property.
Will the community have a chance to learn about the adaptive reuse proposal and to see the plans?
- The County will host two meetings to communicate information about the HabitatNOVA proposal. Additionally, HabitatNOVA will undergo a public process to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board for their concept plans for the exterior changes to the farmhouse and parcel they are proposing.
Will this proposal affect the Reevesland Learning Center work with local students?
- The Reevesland Learning Center gardening program will be able to continue to operate as it does today. The County will continue to provide mulch, soil and other materials for the raised beds as well as trash service.
Has the County used all the money allocated for the farmhouse?
- Funding allocated for the Reeves farmhouse from FY 2013 closeout funds was used to replace the farmhouse driveway, install a parking pad and a grasscrete access drive, and for demolition of the existing garage. The remaining funds will be used for installing a water source for the learning garden and an ADA path connecting it to N. Manchester Street.
Why did Arlington buy the property?
- The County bought the property to enlarge the heavily used Bluemont Park and provide additional recreational opportunities to County residents. The acquisition of the 2.4-acre property allowed the County to protect the much-loved sledding hill, and to preserve the remaining portion of the County’s last dairy farm (which ceased operation in 1954).
Was the farmhouse in good condition when the County purchased it in 2001?
- When the County purchased the house in 2001, the farmhouse was in a condition typical of a historic residence that had not received any major maintenance in more than 50 years. There were a number of significant and costly problems that still exist:
- The kitchen wing lacks crawl space or foundations, with the wood floor structure set on grade. Most of the farmhouse is set too close to the grade;
- Evidence of termite damage;
- Significant amounts of flaking lead-based paint on the interior and exterior of the house; asbestos on the piping;
- Significant water damage to the interior, caused by serious leaks in the past from the roof and flashing;
- The farmhouse lacks air conditioning, the oil-fired furnace is obsolete, and the electrical system is inadequate for modern use.
Since the County purchased the property, has it done anything to keep it from deteriorating?
- Yes, the County has made repairs to the farmhouse to protect its historic integrity while the use of the property was determined. The County has spent more than $50,000, including removing some of the lead-based paint from the exterior; removing asbestos-covered piping; painting the exterior; replacing the roof; replacing the front and rear porches; replacing damaged windows; installing chimney caps; improving drainage; repairing gutters and downspouts; and sealing leaks. The County has routinely baited for rodents since 2003. At least an additional $10,000 also has been spent to protect the historic milk shed, including stabilization of the building and replacement of the roof.
Did the County consider keeping the farmhouse and reusing it for public use?
- The County Board has determined, given the high cost of renovating the farmhouse to the point where it could be accessed by the public, that the best way to preserve the farmhouse is through private ownership – with the provision that anyone who owns it must maintain its historic integrity. The County’s goal is to preserve the historic character of Reeves farmhouse and to preserve the two acres of open space, the raised gardens, sledding slope and milk shed. This solution is intended to breathe new life into the farmhouse.