Community Founded by U.S. President Faces New Beginning
WASHINGTON, DC, August 23, 2013 — Hillwood Square, a low to moderate income community in Northern Virginia founded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, faces a new beginning as a symbol of American quality of life.
Hillwood Square has always been valued for its land, which is located just minutes from the White House, but throughout its history its residents were always more interested in seeing the community prosper.
Jeanne Simmons, a woman in her mid-nineties who has lived in Hillwood Square for over 55 years, said, “I cannot imagine living anywhere else.”
Community members have set up a website at HillwoodSquare.com to promote a national conversation about community sustainability.
Hillwood Square was built in 1942 as housing for war program workers during World War II and blossomed into a vibrant neighborhood with government employees, young families, seniors, Vietnamese, and Latinos.
Housing at Hillwood Square has long been among the most affordable in the Washington, DC area because residents purchase an equal share in the community when they move in, and pay monthly fees into a fund that covers all maintenance costs as well as all utilities except for telephone.
The simple homes and tree-lined “walks” were designed by noted architect Arthur B. Heaton. Hillwood Square remains much as it was when it was first dedicated by President Roosevelt, and is on the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites. It is also one of the safest neighborhoods in the region.
Ironically, the value of the land that Hillwood Square occupies has always far exceeded the sum of what shares sell for individually. The land has a current estimated value of $85 million to $106 million because it is the largest singly-owned piece of property inside the Capital Beltway.
“Most members don’t care about the value of the land; Hillwood is their home,” said Steve Tingen, a long-time resident. “The original charter specifically opposes land speculators, and instead focuses on creating a positive community that can be sustained in perpetuity,” he said.
According to the community charter, the community in its entirety cannot be even offered for sale unless two-thirds of the member-shareholders vote to even put the community up for sale. Such a vote has never taken place at Hillwood Square.
Nonetheless, a local company, Fraser Forbes Real Estate Services, did offer to list the land for sale, promising to obtain offers of $85 million or more. However, with no advertising or marketing budget, the company was unable to deliver any worthwhile results.
About Hillwood Square
Hillwood Square, a community tucked away among the affluent neighborhoods of Falls Church, Virginia, is dedicated to providing reasonable cost, quality housing to residents by utilizing a cooperative model of housing. Most residents are low to moderate income households, though there are no upper-limit income restrictions to purchase a cooperative membership. Most residents are first-time home buyers. Many residents know each other and many extended families live within the development. Several current members grew up in Hillwood Square, and have returned and are now raising their own families there.
To learn more and volunteer as a Hillwood Square leader, visit HillwoodSquare.com.