This is a great day for Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey (PRWEB) December 10, 2014
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, and other public officials today headlined a groundbreaking for Catherine Todd Apartments at the Montgomery Gardens site, an outdated public housing community that is being completely modernized as part of the Jersey City Housing Authority’s (JCHA) revitalization plan for the McGinley Square-Montgomery Street Corridor.
“This is a great day for Jersey City,” said Mayor Fulop. “The McGinley Square-Montgomery Gardens neighborhood has many tremendous assets, including easy public transit, varied housing stock and community assets, as well as vibrant and diverse surroundings. Consistent with its history of revitalizing neighborhoods into viable, mixed-income communities, the Housing Authority’s efforts here are the first steps in our vision to transform the entire McGinley Square area.”
In addition to the Catherine Todd community, St. Peter’s University in a partnership with SORA Development of Towson Maryland, are planning to develop a $220 million apartment tower with 153 units of student housing, 354 market rate apartments and 88 inclusionary units. It includes a 13-screen cinema, 80,000 SF of retail including two table cloth restaurants on the penthouse floor. The ambitious project will park 717 cars underground using a robotic parking system, the first of its kind in Jersey City.
There are currently 420 affordable units under construction in Jersey City, with another 240 affordable units in the planning stage.
“Jersey City was one of the first cities in the country to receive a Choice Neighborhoods planning grant from HUD,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New Jersey and New York. “The goal of Choice planning grants is to create a blueprint for inclusive neighborhood transformation, and the Catherine Todd Apartments are the first step in realizing the ambitious plan that Jersey City developed in collaboration with many stakeholders dedicated to making this a more vibrant, resilient community. HUD is proud to be a part of this inaugural project, both through Choice Neighborhoods and also through $5.6 million in Sandy recovery funds that helped finance these apartments.”
The Catherine Todd development is the first phase of an ambitious plan by the JCHA and its private sector development partner, The Michaels Development Company, to transform the vital and historic neighborhood around Montgomery Gardens by replacing obsolete public housing with modern, mixed-income affordable housing with access to supportive services. The plan was the only successful recipient in the State of New Jersey to be awarded a competitive $250,000 CHOICE Neighborhoods planning grant awarded in 2011.
The Revitalization Plan calls for creating 434 new affordable rental housing units and 887 total units, a new Pre-school and Early Childhood Education Center; a new K-12 METS Charter School; a new METS Gymnasium and Auditorium, which will be open to the entire community; a full-service supermarket; a new McGinley Square retail center anchored by a cinema, Class A offices, 150-room hotel, student housing and parking; a new health clinic; and at the center of the neighborhood, a new Success Learning Center that will provide access to educational and supportive services for children and adults.
This Neighborhood of Choice will provide for the amenities of both daily life (education, shopping, recreation), as well as culture and a sense of social cohesion. The LEED-ND certifiable plan will be a walkable neighborhood of compact, mixed-use development organized around an acre of new parkland and tree-lined streets, where parents can walk their children to the new preschool or new charter school or shop at the above-named establishments. The revitalization will also feature new public pocket parks on green roofs. In addition to sustainable and green building features, the revitalization will be designed to be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“In pursuit of Mayor Fulop's vision, the Housing Authority is proud to continue to create and sustain safe, affordable, and accessible urban neighborhoods that will generate a ripple effect in attracting new private investment,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Chairman of the JCHA. “It could not have happened without the efforts of our valued residents. Because of their input, the Catherine Todd Apartments will show yet again that at our redevelopments, affordable housing can be indistinguishable from quality market-rate housing,” Mukherji added. “One shining example is Catherine Todd, a lifelong public housing resident leader, staunch advocate of affordable housing, and the person to whom the building is being dedicated. As she loved to say, ‘It takes a village.’”
An important affordable housing resource in Jersey City for decades, Catherine Todd Apartments is a 10-story high-rise serving seniors with low-incomes. When the substantial rehabilitation of the interior and exterior of the apartments as well as the building’s major systems is complete, Catherine Todd will offer 68 new, modern apartments for those aged 62 and over who earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. Five of the apartments will be reserved for senior citizens who are currently homeless.
The newly created spaces will facilitate a wide range of social services, emphasizing wellness and resident empowerment, that are focused on allowing residents to live independently as long as possible. Area amenities that can be leveraged for the residents’ well-being include easy access to public transportation and close proximity to shopping, employment, a supermarket, places of worship, and several nonprofit health and social services agencies.
“We are proud to be a partner with JCHA on this very important effort, and we are grateful for the support shown by the Mayor and the wider community for improving the lives of the city’s most vulnerable seniors and families through quality, affordable housing,” said Joel Silver, regional vice president of The Michaels Development Company.
Financing for the $22.5 million renovation of Catherine Todd – which is the first phase of the overall $580 million Montgomery Gardens revitalization – includes $11 million in private equity generated from the sale of federal low income housing tax credits allocated from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. NJHMFA also allocated $5.6 million in CDBG Hurricane Sandy Funds and issued $9.4 Million in bonds for construction and permanent loans for the development. The JCHA contributed $576,350. Bank of America invested in the tax credits, which were syndicated by Prestige Affordable Housing Equity Partners, and provided close to $4 million in bridge financing. Citibank purchased the bonds and is acting as the permanent lender.
Prestige Building Company is the general contractor. Construction is expected to be complete by April 2016.
About the Jersey City Housing Authority
The Jersey City Housing Authority is New Jersey’s second largest public housing authority, serving over 6,700 low-income households and over 16,000 residents, including seniors and the uniquely-abled. The JCHA has been lauded as a champion of quality life enhancements and crime reduction initiatives, energy efficiency and green building practices, policies promoting Section 3 hiring, and an impeccable track record of revitalizing distressed public housing. In addition, for the last six consecutive years after implementing several reforms to ensure the success of its Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers program, the JCHA notched the six highest HUD SEMAP performance scores in the agency’s history and in four of those years, the highest score in the state among similarly-sized municipal public housing authorities. A leader in the provision of low-income housing and services, the JCHA’s sterling history of revitalizing distressed neighborhoods has included the receipt of three federal HOPE VI Revitalization Grants, which have transformed blighted barracks-style and high-rise “vertical concentrations of poverty” at Curries Woods, Lafayette Gardens, and A. Harry Moore Apartments into energy-efficient, privately managed, architecturally distinguished mixed-income communities, providing social and supportive services and attracting low, moderate, and market-rate residents. Through HOPE VI, the JCHA has created over 1,040 new mixed-income rental units.
About The Michaels Organization
The Michaels Development Company, Interstate Realty Management, and Prestige Building Company are part of The Michaels Organization, a family of integrated but independent companies dedicated to excellence in affordable, military and student housing. Serving more than 100,000 residents in 360 communities across 34 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and with a development portfolio valued in excess of $ 3.5 billion, The Michaels Organization is a national leader in the residential real estate industry, with full service capabilities in development, property and asset management, construction, mortgage finance, and tax credit syndication. Visit http://www.TheMichaelsOrg.com for more information.