By Leonard Shapiro
It’s both the end of an era and a significant anniversary for Middleburg’s Windy Hill Foundation, the local non-profit that has as its mission providing affordable workforce housing in its core area of Middleburg, Upperville, The Plains and Marshall since its founding 35 years ago.
That’s an anniversary clearly worth celebrating, while also marking a significant change of leadership. Joe Boling, the long-time chief executive of the Middleburg Bank and Windy Hill’s president since 2005, has stepped down after a decade of exponential foundation expansion on his watch.
Windy Hill executive director Kim Hart, a former board member and president, also has played a significant role over the years. Together, he and Boling made up a formidable tandem at the top that has overseen nearly a doubling of available units in the core area for rent at vastly reduced rates from comparable housing available to the general public.
“Joe had to watch over a tremendous period of growth,” Hart said. “Being the banker, he gave us financial stability. I sort of help define the programs, then get them designed and built. It was the perfect combination. He watched the money and made sure we didn’t get ahead of ourselves and do anything we couldn’t afford.”
When Boling took the Windy Hill presidency, the foundation had 47 units in the core area. When he stepped down, there were 87 in the core, including 20 Levis Hill House apartments in Middleburg for elderly residents dedicated in 2008.
In 2010, 11 Middleburg homes were renovated using federal stimulus funds to earn “green” building status, the same year a U.S. census report indicated that 20 percent of Middleburg residents lived in Windy Hill units. It’s the same percentage in 2016.
Just as significant, over the last decade, the Windy Hill Development Company, LLC, a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary of the foundation, was founded in 2006. That allows the foundation to hold an equity position in several other major projects out of the core area, including a 50 percent of the 98-unit Shreveport Ridge Apartments at Brambleton in Eastern Loudoun.
And the best is yet to come.
Last month, the foundation, together with Flatiron Partners, announced they’ve been awarded tax credit funding from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to build Heronview Apartments, 96 units of affordable workforce housing at Kincora, the 6.7 million square foot mixed-use development at the corner of Route 7 and Route 28. This award is expected to exceed $5 million in total funding.
The four-story, 120,000-square foot apartment building will offer 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom urban-style apartments with a mix of 2-story flats affordable to bouseholds with incomes at 50 per cent of area median income or less. Rents will range from $915 per month for 1-bedroom units up to $1,135 for 3-bedroom units. Heronview also will offer 10 fully-handicapped accessible units ranging from $505 to $965 per month. Occupancy should take place in 2018.
“Lang Washburn ask me to replace him as president and asked me to determine if we could take what we had learned in Middleburg and do other projects in other communities,” Boling said. “Our board is one of the best community boards I have ever seen and we’re blessed with great community support. I felt like I had done what Lang asked me to do and it was time for new leadership that could see us into the future.”
Middleburg’s Jonathan Catherwood, who will replace Boling as president, was effusive in his praise of a man he described as a great friend and mentor.
“Joe has been the absolute lynchpin of the Windy Hill Foundation, marshaling resources and bringing a lifetime of financial experience to his role as president,” said Catherwood, CFO of The Level Playing Field, the holding company for Grantham University, and former Treasurer of The Wendy’s Corporation.
“Kim would have the vision for a project, and Joe would work with the board to make it so. Hundreds of people in our community are living in affordable housing thanks to his tireless efforts on their behalf.”
Windy Hill now has $10 million in assets and a budget that ranges between $1.5 to $2 million a year, including funds to provide senior services and family programs for many of its residents. According to Hart, the foundation also will soon reach another milestone, now approaching a $1 million endowment.
“Joe brought order out of chaos,” Hart said. “He also brought a confidence from the people who donate. He helped them believe we were okay, and his credibility was very important. You also have to say that our success has always been tied to the incredible generosity of