3rd Phase of New Jersey Affordable Redevelopment Begins

The Branch Village Townhomes II in Camden will have 75 apartments, including five set aside for formerly homeless residents.

Branch Village Townhomes II groundbreaking. Image courtesy of NHHMFA

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) has begun work on the third redevelopment phase of a former public housing site in Camden’s Centerville neighborhood, where 75 affordable rental apartments for families will be built as part of the Branch Village Townhomes II project.

READ ALSO: Affordable Project Breaks Ground in Camden, NJ

The Michaels Organization and Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) are NJHMFA’s development partners in the latest phase, which will include 11 new two- and three-story buildings housing one- to three-bedroom units for residents earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI). Five apartments will be set aside for homeless individuals. HACC worked to relocate all of the residents who can opt to return to the new townhomes once completed.

 NJHMFA awarded the $20.5 million development very competitive 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which are expected to generate $15.9 million in private equity. 

The first phase of the redevelopment, financed in part by NJHMFA, opened in December 2017 with 50 affordable one- to two-bedroom rental apartments in a mid-rise building. A groundbreaking for the second phase of 72 affordable townhomes for families earning up to 60 percent AMI took place in November 2018 and will also include five apartments for homeless individuals. This phase is expected to be completed in December. Plans are underway for a final phase which will provide 58 affordable apartments for seniors.

Construction on the new townhomes is anticipated to be complete by December 2020. Rents are anticipated to range from $824 for a one-bedroom apartment to $994 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,234 for a three-bedroom apartment. Each apartment will include a washer and dryer. The existing community building will be expanded to include a full-service kitchen and dining area. 

Better Tomorrows, a New Jersey nonprofit, will coordinate supportive services for the residents of the five set-aside apartments. Services will include help with education, financial stability and health and wellness.

The townhomes are being built on the site of the former Clement T. Branch Village, the last traditional public housing development in the neighborhood’s Mt. Ephraim Avenue corridor, a main thoroughfare east of the property. Eight two-story brick buildings were demolished and three new public roads will be added to integrate the property with the neighborhood. The groundbreaking is part of the continuing revitalization of the neighborhood and the city of Camden.

More NJ Affordable Projects

The Michaels Organization, based in Camden, has partnered with NJHMFA on numerous projects in the city. In the past five years, the firm has completed or plans to complete six developments financed in part by NJHMFA that provide or will provide about 600 affordable homes. Most recently, NJHFMA and Michaels began renovations in April on Cooper Plaza Townhomes, a 64-unit property in Camden.

In October, NJHFMA and its development team of Conifer Realty LLC and Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development Inc. (MEND) started construction on a $12.8 million age-restricted community in Cinnaminson, N.J. The Burlington County property will have 54 one-bedroom apartments for seniors 62 and older who earn up to 60 percent of AMI and five apartments set aside for formerly homeless seniors.

Also in New Jersey, the Michaels Organization and the Jersey City Housing Authority opened the first phase of Mill Creek Gardens, a 126-unit, mixed-income community in Jersey City, N.J., in March. Most of the apartments being built on the site or the former Montgomery Gardens public housing development will be affordable.

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