Christie Administration Marks Grand Opening of 50 & 55 South Essex Avenue in the City of Orange
ORANGE, N.J. – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) today joined L+M Development Partners, Inc., Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and the City of Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, Esq., to celebrate the grand opening of 50 & 55 South Essex Avenue, a 72-unit mixed-use, mixed-income rental community with nearly 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail in the City of Orange, Essex County. The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) that generated approximately $13.5 million in private equity.
The project, which cost approximately $19.8 million to develop, will not only provide affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families, but also will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Essex County community. HMFA estimates that the project generated approximately $31.4 million in one-time economic output and created approximately 188 full-time jobs during construction. Now completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $3.5 million in ongoing economic output and 20 full-time jobs annually. Other funding sources for the development of 50 & 55 South Essex Avenue included a construction loan from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
"50 & 55 South Essex Avenue transformed what was a blighted area into an attractive green housing community that provides quality affordable and market rate housing opportunities for working families in the City of Orange,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “Located within walking distance to excellent public transit, shops, jobs, offices, restaurants, and cultural centers, this sustainable mixed-use project creates a more appealing pedestrian gateway to the downtown from the main train station.”
The project, which is situated within the City of Orange’s designated Transit Village, is comprised of two identical, newly constructed, five-story buildings located across the street from each other on South Essex Avenue. Each building consists of 36 rental apartments, ground floor retail, on-site laundry, bike storage, and residential parking. Designed to complement the surrounding historic masonry buildings that include the adjacent train station, the Orange Post Office, and other structures along Main Street, the two buildings feature towering ceilings, exposed bricks, oversized windows, and ornamental cast iron stars in the façade. The apartments feature spacious bedrooms, kitchens with Energy Star appliances, bathrooms with attractive tiling and fixtures, and efficient HVAC systems.
The complex has achieved a green building design standard, following the Green Future Program, the State of New Jersey’s own green building program that covers energy efficiency, renewable sources, siting and land use, water conservation, building durability, indoor air quality, and operations and maintenance. 50 & 55 South Essex Avenue connects three disparate areas along the South Essex Avenue corridor that extends past I-280, through the train underpass and up to Main Street, a route frequently passed by commuters and students from Orange Middle and High Schools, and serves as an anchor between a completed mixed-use project south of the site, and a proposed mixed-use project to the north.
“This mixed-use residential and retail space truly represents HMFA’s mission of providing safe, decent, and affordable housing with great access to quality schools, public transportation, jobs and shops in Essex County,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “We are thrilled to have provided the capital financing necessary to build this project that has a wonderful opportunity to bring back a vibrant downtown and attract economic development to the area.”
Annually, states are allocated Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the federal government on a per-capita basis. HMFA, as the administrator of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program in New Jersey, allocates approximately $20 million in 9% credits annually, which generates over $180 million in equity for the development of affordable housing in the state. L+M Development Partners, Inc., was awarded the very competitive 9% tax credits from the 2012 family cycle. The tax credits provided more than 68 percent of the funding for the development of 50 & 55 South Essex Avenue.
Among the 72 apartment units, eight are market rate, 53 are affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), six are affordable to households earning up to 30 percent of AMI, and five are set aside for individuals with special needs at or below 30 percent of AMI. To serve the special needs of these tenants, a full-time services coordinator operates from one of the ground floor offices in the development. Property management staff and a resident superintendent are also on-site to serve as a resource for all of the tenants.
For more information on HMFA programs, please visit www.njhousing.gov.
High Res Photo
From L to R: Willis Edwards; Adeniyi Olobasholo, Future resident at 50 South Essex; Donna Rendeiro, NJHMFA; Laquana Best, Deputy Director of Planning & Economic Development, on behalf of the Mayor of Orange; Jon Cortell, VP of Development, L+M Development Partners Inc.