Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds
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For Immediate Release: Contact:
March 10, 2014 Lisa Ryan
Sean L. Conner
609-292-6055
 

Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds


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The groundbreaking of Phase II of Gregory School Apartments, March 10, 2014.  Photo by Nick Moramarco, The Metro Company, LLC.

LONG BRANCH, NJ – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) today announced two milestones of Gregory School Apartments, a two-phase, 117-unit affordable senior housing development in Long Branch, a Monmouth County town significantly impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The HMFA, an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), marked the grand opening of the first phase of the project, as well as the groundbreaking of the second phase, which was awarded federal Sandy Recovery funds.

To get housing built as soon as possible for displaced Sandy victims in the hard hit area of Monmouth County, the HMFA awarded Gregory School Apartments Phase II approximately $3.9 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM). The funding not only benefits low- to moderate-income senior renters displaced by Sandy, but also ensures that Sandy Recovery funds are spent within two years, a federal requirement that, if not satisfied, could require the state to return unspent funds.

The FRM program provides for-profit and non-profit housing developers an opportunity to secure zero-interest and low-interest loans to finance the development of affordable housing in the nine counties most impacted by Sandy as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in an effort to increase the supply of affordable housing stock in these areas.

“We are gratified that Sandy recovery funds are helping this worthwhile affordable housing project for seniors to continue moving forward,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “Gregory School Apartments will assist seniors on fixed incomes, including those impacted by Sandy. The project will also help Long Branch, which itself was significantly affected by Sandy with more than 1,000 homes that sustained major or severe storm-related damage.”

HMFA leveraged the use of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an existing affordable housing program administered by the Agency, to provide additional funding and expedite the construction process of Gregory School Apartments Phase II. In August 2013, HMFA awarded Gregory School Apartments Phase II the very competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits through an open process based on a scoring system outlined in the State’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP).

All the housing units in the project’s second phase will be affordable to individuals at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), with one unit set aside for a superintendent. During the first three months of lease-up, priority will be given to individuals who registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance or who rented an apartment or owned a primary residence that was no longer habitable because of Sandy damage.

Gregory School Apartments Phase I, which also received the competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, consists of 65 apartment units, as well as community, computer, and exercise rooms. The second phase will include 52 apartment units, a 1,500-square-foot commercial space, and parking on what was the former school parking lot and playground. When completed, the development will provide a total of 117 residential units, ten of which will be set aside for seniors and individuals with special needs. The units will have energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and Energy Star-rated kitchen appliances.

“The Gregory School redevelopment adaptively reuses and preserves a vacant building and community landmark of over 80 years, bringing significant social benefits and new investment to Long Branch. It will provide vital housing opportunities to senior citizens of low to moderate income, as well as those affected by the storm,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “Additionally, the Low Income Housing Tax Credits Program, which helped finance this project, is the nation’s most successful mechanism for the production of affordable housing that creates jobs and ratables for our cities and municipalities.”

Collectively, the total development cost for Gregory School Apartments is approximated to be $29.2 million. It will not only provide high-quality affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey senior citizens, but will also have a positive economic impact on greater Monmouth County. HMFA estimates that Gregory School Apartments will generate approximately $46.3 million in one-time economic output and create approximately 277 full-time jobs and $1.7 million in state and local taxes during construction. Once completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $5 million in ongoing economic output, 29 full-time jobs annually, and approximately $292,000 in state and local taxes.

Other funding sources for the development of Gregory School Apartments include HUD and Red Stone Equity Partners. The redevelopment of the historic Gregory School is a joint venture between Conifer Realty, LLC, the Metro Company, LLC, and Maestro Community Development Corporation, the non-profit instrumentality of the Long Branch Housing Authority. For more information on HMFA programs, including the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, visit www.njhousing.gov.