Silver Spring’s Argent to Become Low-Income Housing

  • July 28, 2010

by Will Smith


On Friday we wondered about the future of Argent, a 96-unit condominium project near the heart of downtown Silver Spring at 1200 Blair Mill Road (map). The project delivered in a historically bad market last spring, and was ultimately taken back by the bank. It has sat empty since as the bank looked for a buyer.

No sooner had we posted on Friday than an eagle-eyed reader pointed us to this application with Montgomery County by Pallas Properties, a developer of affordable housing. On June 22nd, Pallas applied for low income housing tax credits to the tune of $13 million, and the application was approved Montgomery’s County Council on July 2nd.

Assuming the developer’s plans continue, it appears Argent will be relaunched as rental housing for lower-income families.

See other articles related to: silver spring, dclofts, argent

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/silver_springs_argent_to_become_low-income_housing/2311


  1. Concentrist said at 7:12 pm on Wednesday July 28, 2010:

    So much for the resurgence in Silver Spring.  Why would you invest in a condo or townhouse next to low income housing?  No thanks.

  1. har har said at 8:17 pm on Wednesday July 28, 2010:

    Is that a joke?  Half the people commenting on this blog were complaining about DTSS having zero affordable housing.  Now there’s the addition of 1 building and you think it’s a ghetto or something? Look at Ward 1 and the ammount of affordable housing if you want to complain about something.

  1. DT SSer said at 8:15 am on Thursday July 29, 2010:

    As someone who lives right across the street and who is looking for a condo in SS…this pisses me off.

    Another reason for Silver Spring to reject MoCo and incorporate itself.

  1. jag said at 1:43 pm on Thursday July 29, 2010:

    Does anyone know what this means? “Low Income” for MoCo is probably defined as 60% of medium income for the area or something.  We’re talking about teachers being able to afford DTSS - not drug dealers or something.  Get a grip DT SSer.

  1. DT SSer said at 2:12 pm on Thursday July 29, 2010:

    I’m a fed attorney.  Think my $75K salary and $100K student loan debt qualifies?

    Again, downtown SS needs more condos and less rentals.

  1. Patrick Thornton said at 11:26 am on Monday August 2, 2010:

    This doesn’t mean teachers being able to afford to live in the area. Or police officers or anything like that. There is a similar building nearby, Gramax Towers, and the max income is $43,000 for an individual and $61,000 for a family.

    Concentrating low-income people is never a good idea. It’s much better to spread low-income individuals out amongst higher-income individuals. Other cities and regions have already learned that clustering low-income people together tends to hold everyone back. Spreading low-income individuals amongst higher-income individuals (typically with more educational attainment) tends to raise people up.

    So, no, by no measure is this a good idea. It does show that the county doesn’t care that much about DTSS.

  1. Bob said at 2:05 pm on Monday August 2, 2010:

    Horrible idea.  I can’t believe that the county is content to let Silver Spring continue its downward slide.

  1. jag said at 4:00 pm on Monday August 2, 2010:

    Wow. So many uneducated claims to correct:
    A. My girlfriend is a teacher and makes 42K a year - thanks for supporting my claim.
    B. The Argent will not be “concentrating low-income people” on either a micro or macro level.  The area is almost entirely mid/high end condos and apartments and within the building, per the Low Income Housing Tax Credit requirements, “The owner of a qualified low-income building must rent either 20 percent of the units to households with incomes of 50 percent or less of the area median income or 40 percent of the units to households with incomes of 60 percent or less of the area median income.” So, what, a whole 17 units will be rented to 22 year old nonprofit workers? Oh the horror.
    C. By what measurement is SS in the midst of a “downward slide”?

  1. Patrick Thornton said at 5:01 pm on Monday August 2, 2010:


    Read the application. It says the entire building will be low income housing. This isn’t having 10 percent of the units be below-market rate. It’s the entire building. Hence the concentration.

    Your girlfriend currently makes 42k. How old is she? She only has to receive a small raise to be out of the running. Most teachers in Montgomery County make more than 43k. The average Montgomery County teacher makes more than 66k a year.

    So no, the typical teacher in Montgomery County could not live in this building. I’m a 26-year-old non-profit worker, and I cannot live in this building.

    I don’t have an issue with having a percentage of a building be for low-income residents. This is an entire building. These kinds of buildings have not turned out well in other areas.

  1. Mrs. Education Coordinator said at 9:36 pm on Monday August 2, 2010:

    How quick do we forget that everyone deserves a chance. I am a single parent that works as an education coordiantor National Insitute of Health. My salary as of right now is 48,000.00 so I guess by me applying to this building makes me trash or POOR. This is a management company offering an opportunity to hard working people, by allowing peole with income restrictions does not mean the neighboorhod is no longer any good. I must say I have lived in Montgomery County for 7 yrs, and I live in a well known community known as Kemp Mill my parents own a home and they are considered low income but they have sustained their mortage and hold a very high reputation in our neighborhood. I guees at our next neighboorhood meeting I will let everyone know that due to the fact that my parents moved in 7 yrs ago their property value will go down. I wish this property the best and those who are upset just rememver God is the one who allow events to happen this might be a nightmare to you but a blessing to others. If you block and wish the worse upon someone else dont forget it will come back and bite you. God BLESS YOU! & by the way I am PROUD TO SAY THAT MONTGOMERY COUNTY HAS A EXCELLENT, GREAT, AND WONDERFUL POLICE DEPARTEMNT I AM SURE THEY WILL PROTECT THEIR RESIDENTS TO THE FULLEST.

  1. Mrs. Education Coordinator said at 9:39 pm on Monday August 2, 2010:

    I apologize for the spelling errors. I am hihgly upset at reading people’s comments and their ignorance.

  1. Mr. Positive Advocate said at 12:11 am on Tuesday August 3, 2010:

    I agree with Ms. Education Coordinator. So many arrogant self centered minds out there. How can one building ruin the whole Silver Spring. The is an opportunity for some hoping that those that move in will conduct thierselves like civilized people and maintain that property like is should be maintained. And just like Ms. Coordinator stated; Montgomery County police would love to come by and take a few to a new home right around the corner. Lets just wait and see before we assume.

  1. PleasantPlainer said at 8:21 am on Tuesday August 3, 2010:

    Pretty sure that LIHTC properties cannot have more than 50% of the units in a multifamily building as LIHTC units. Even so, this is a brand new building, and I would guess that even the lowest AMI allowable would respect the property, and the neighborhood. Can’t believe a Fed attorney is complaining! I mean, think of the opportunities you had, and have in your future! What’s wrong with some lower-income kid with little or no opportunities having a nice place to live, hopefully good neighbors - regardless of their income - and all that comes along with it. Housing is tight - didn’t you see the other posting that DC vacancies are at 4%??!! THose with the means should buy property to rent to higher income folks, and let the lower income people go to the approved low-income housing! What’s better, a vacant behemoth holding back a neighborhood (and dragging down a bank’s balance sheet), or getting the property into the market and people in the neighborhood, using an existing, and well-functioning (or getting back on it’s feet after the market for the credits evaporated during the bust) tax credit program - no bailouts here!

  1. Patrick Thornton said at 8:32 am on Tuesday August 3, 2010:

    I should note that the real concern for this area will continue to be the two motels on 13th, where a prostitution ring was broken up in 2008 (with the related drug and gang activity). Does anyone know how that situation is going? It would be difficult for any residents in the area to top what was going on there for so many years.

  1. JG said at 10:26 am on Tuesday August 3, 2010:

    Anyone know the phone number for them? The number that is listed online is out of service.

  1. Can't believe the ignorance said at 4:14 pm on Tuesday August 3, 2010:

    I agree 100% with Mrs. Education Coordinator. So many people, despite college degrees and employment, still can’t find affordable housing. This is a great idea.

  1. Patrick Thornton said at 11:28 am on Wednesday August 4, 2010:

    The application says all the units will be for low-income individuals. The program says that 100 percent can be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-Income_Housing_Tax_Credit

    It has been considered best practice to disperse low-income individuals and families out amongst higher-income individuals and families for several years now. There are plenty of studies and data that go along with this.

    There is nothing wrong with low-income housing. It is just surprising that Montgomery County is concentrating these units into one building. You could take the same amount of units and disperse them more evenly throughout the buildings and Silver Spring as a whole. That’s considered best practice.

  1. PK said at 4:56 pm on Thursday August 5, 2010:

    There is more information on another website


  1. eneshal miller said at 8:45 pm on Wednesday August 11, 2010:

    Wow!!! my 12 year old son read the comments before I had a chance to review we were thinking of renting until we discovered how racist some of the remarks were and to think some of you live in our native Silver Spring which mind you the hard ,sweat,and tears were founded by low-income standards you all should be ashame of your selves I will tech my kids to never work for people like you all. I will put all your names in a new blog site called watchdog who are your neighbors. If yoy have so much money why not build a home you are selfless and live off of other’s hard work and effort from the colonial days. Who are your parents they should be ashamed GHETTO IS YOUR LANGUAGE ON THIS COMMUNITY FEED BACK YOU ARE BEING WATCHED THE POOR SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH.

  1. eneshal miller said at 9:26 pm on Wednesday August 11, 2010:


    It is we who are liars
    The Pretenders-to be who are not
    And the Pretenders-not-to be who are.
    It is we who use words
    As screens for thoughts
    And weave dark garments
    To cover the naked body
    Of the too white Truth.
    It is we with the civilized souls
    Who are liars.

  1. Lady_O said at 3:05 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    I cannot understand why there is so much discrimination and border line racism being posted here. 

    For those of you who are so terribly disturbed and angrily frustrated at the idea that this rental property WILL exist, you should probably consider moving six feet under the ground that you walk on—in other words, go to H*ll!

    I appreciate all the supporters and logical thinkers who are being practical about this opportunity.

    If you don’t want to live with “low income” hard-working American citizens, then you’re in the wrong country—you ever think about that?!

    Poor you, you should get made at this opportunity—this is actually going to give homes to those who are homeless but still work due to the mortgage crisis earlier in the year.  This opportunity is going to allow college student like myself who work fulltime and work hard to live comfortably and conveniently in an area that is diverse and frankly this area you call Silver Spring has always, as far back as I can remember, been open to everyone!!  So get over it.

    And for the lawyers and doctors and other idiots on this site who blogged about their salary and cried about not wanting to live among folks who make—what about a few dollars less than you—you should really take a look in the mirror.  Realize what day you are living in now.  It doesn’t matter what your salary is—that does not determine your residential class nor does it depict the “type” of folk that you claim to be or are perceived as.  Simply, everyone and anyone who can afford to live here will live here and should live here. 

    If you don’t like the idea, get the f*ck outta dodge—in other words, pack your stuff and head out. 

    If you make so much money and you consider yourself a “high income” folk, let me ask you—why are you renting?  You know, if you were to BUY your own property elsewhere, perhaps a home detached from a building/apartment, you may have other options.  You’re simply pathetic!

    I plan on moving here regardless of what anyone on this blog post has to say negatively! 

    Afterall, I am a student, my salary right now is at $43K and I CAN afford to live at the Argent.  So I guess because I bring home $40K, I am considered “armed and dangerous” in some of the minds of folks who posted their thoughts…

    Laugh out loud at the foolishness!

  1. Lady_O said at 3:17 pm on Thursday August 12, 2010:

    My regrets for some of the errors in my post—I don’t want to come off as if I am uneducated and poor since I fall into the “low income” category.

    For those of you living there who own condo’s, you might as well move into a townhouse or single family home so that you can call the shots and make your own rules.  At the present, you are practically renting yourself…that’s all.

    No more negative post please, you’re only making DTSS look like a place full of empty-headed morons and border line racists!

    Good day!

  1. Rain Pebble said at 11:55 am on Friday August 13, 2010:

    I believe that if you place a strong management team in any location and set the right tone…it’s a win-win for all. Low income people go out and work just as everyone else…however their financial situation may not have afforded them a college ed. and so they stay below the rising income levels in Montgomery County.

  1. Vibrant610 said at 12:41 pm on Wednesday August 18, 2010:

    I myself live in a low-income setting in the heart of our new vibrant Adams-Morgan & U st corridor AND I HATE IT. Love the area, the new restaurants, clubs and the vibe. Yes I am an African American and I have to keep it real. When I first moved here, I thought it was the perfect set-up, I mean I have a beautiful two story, two bdrm, plus den loft style apt. that I pay pennies for (just under $1000)its a set-up alright. I have to deal with unruly people sittng on the front all day long (please go get a job) and some of them don’t even live here… its the friends and the baby daddies. I am hurt by the comments that all low-income people are bad… I’m not (I actually grew up in Woodley Park-Vann Ness, and no I wasn’t the unruly one. lol) and most of my neighbors aren’t, but it ONLY TAKES ONE to ruin the village - Trust me. I was considering applying for an apt. at the Argent, because its absolutely wonderful, the idea of brand new, first to break it in, No pun intended:) but I have reservations. I can’t help but think, “is this going to happen to this building, will they be very selective without being racist.” Will I have to deal with people hanging out on the front with the whole family reunion.” lol. I say take the park benches from the front NOW!!! lol. They may have to put a fence around that beautiful roof top deck, if there is someone who happens to need anger mgmt courses. Most rules for these types of contracts are: you can’t have any family members live with you that have criminal backgrounds AT ALL!! if persons living with you get in trouble you’re held accountable and you get put out (no excuses!!!

    Please don’t get mad at me, its all in humor. Can I get a witness… lmao.

    I’m telling you If I worked in that leasing office I would enforce strict serious rules or you’re out. I am a witness to how bad it can get. There is one building in the Congress Heights area so bad they have security guards take your ID the resident has to come get you.

    There are unruly people in all races, I know that… And I hope they make the building a diverse community. BUT!! they are going to have to be TUFF on policies and procedures to maintain a liviable environment for themselves and the surrounding neighbors.

    It will be a sad day to drive pass there and see they have employed a security guard at the front door.

    A 30 year low-income contract should be renegotiable in 10 to 15 years. They are bind:(

    And don’t get mad at me, truth hurts… you guys know what I’m talking about. Look at Gallery Place they are just killing that whole atmosphere. Its crazy down there. There are low-income apt. all up and threw there. That’s not happening at the new Silver Spring project YET!!!
    I hope its just this one and only building they do this to.
    Think positive, think big.

    You guys would love me as a new tenant of Silver Spring… You think I really want to give up Adams Morgan we have diverse culture that I live for, but I’m tired of living in the madness.
    I tell you this if the market hadn’t crash my complex would have been sold last year for 10mil easily, it was up for sell but it would have been one of the worst investments ever with no returns. There are so many empty condos down here I probably could get one with a credit score of 400 in the next two yrs if nothing changes. Oops did I use the word change. -wasn’t that our slogan for the 2008 campaign. lmao!!!!

  1. AptSearch26 said at 2:18 pm on Monday September 6, 2010:

    Thanks Vibrant610. I understand and feel you. As a young African American female, I have the same reservations about the Argent. This does not mean I am racist; why would anyone be racist against others who share the same color as them? But, I have to be real in that when I saw “low-income housing” words floating around when I googled The Argent, I did not feel good about it anymore. It does indeed only take a few unruly residents to screw it up for everyone else and turn something great into something horrid. I will have a hard time making the rent in these buildings that are charging $1600 a month and was looking forward to the Argent as an option, but baby daddies, no-good friends, and young sluts hanging around the building all times of day isn’t something I’d look forward to. I think for now, my reservations will hold me back from the Argent. I hope it turns out OK and will keep my eye on it as a viable option. I do also agree with some of the other posts that suggest spreading low-income families out among different properties vs. one.

  1. John Doe said at 10:00 am on Friday September 10, 2010:

    You people are insane! Get off your high horses and stop looking down on people. Sine when did an income of less then 50-60k make you a bad person?

    I am shocked and appalled at the negative responses here.

  1. Joe Doe said at 5:14 pm on Thursday September 16, 2010:


    The rent ranges from 842 - 1272, for someone making 62k before taxes, 1272 doesn’t sound affordable… esp since the 62k is supposed to support 4 people.

  1. Keith Berner said at 2:24 pm on Friday September 17, 2010:

    I can’t bear to read all the comments on this post. The classist bigotry here is disgusting. I am so, so grateful to live in Takoma Park, with rent control preserving the existence of affordable housing and the vibrant diversity of our community.  I wouldn’t trade it for a homogeneous place where the people who “serve” us (from teachers to house cleaners) couldn’t afford to live.

  1. favor said at 12:58 pm on Wednesday September 22, 2010:

    The secret to a successful affordable housing solution is a screening process that employment requirements, submission of tax returns, minimum credit ratings (650 and better), and an emphasis on work-force housing that meets the needs of rank and file government staffers (teachers, police, firefighters, grades 14 and below) and artists/artisans.

    Check out what they do in NYC when developers offer affordable units to local, hardworking residents.

  1. Vicky said at 11:01 am on Thursday October 21, 2010:

    So much ignorance here. Just because it’s “low income” doesn’t mean it’s the projects! I’ve seen the apartments and they are very nice. It gives the opportunity to live close to dc, where most work and not hve to give your entire paycheck on rent. The Argents makes you go through a long backround check and if you have any criminal record or any flaw you are not allowed to live there and your name gets passed. That’s why there was a 6mo waiting list. I hate seeing ignorant people judge and criticize before doing research. Get over it, it’s almost 2011 not 1950!

  1. DM said at 12:13 pm on Sunday January 2, 2011:

    It is sad when “class based” discrimination is automatically labeled as “race based” discrimination.  Wanting your neighborhood to consist soley of families who are around the same economic level as yourself is not automatically racist. 

    Commenters like “eneshal miller” and “Lady_O” that try to tie this view point to racism are likely those that harbor racist thoughts themselves (i.e. automatically associating certain races with a particular economic group).

    I am a member of a minority group and would like to make clear that individuals that do not want low income housing in their neighborhoods are not automatically racists.  Many may just be discriminating by class (I am not endorsing this type of dscrimination as being a good thing, just separating it from racism).

    Others who may not be able to qualify for the low income housing, but would be unable to afford the appartments at their regular prices, may feel that this type of housing offering is not fair to other residents.

    So, don’t jump to “racism” everytime someone is opposed to “low-income” housing!

  1. Ted Willaims said at 6:33 pm on Wednesday January 5, 2011:

    It’s amayzing how much white people are ignorant and racist. Since when is being low income a crime? Just because your racist parents who robbed black people and native Americans and accumulated wealth to give it to you to buy a condo doesnt make you educated or smart or a genius. You are just a piece of crap with no heart and soul. Greedy! I hope you choke in your money in your expensive condo!

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