Elizabeth, N.J.–It was a lengthy process, but Lawrenceville, N.J.-based multifamily specialist Community Investment Strategies Inc. (CIS) says that Waters Edge Crescent of Elizabethport has successfully made the transition from an uncompleted for-sale townhouse project to finished affordable rental apartments. Currently the 71-unit property is fully occupied.
The property is part of the Elizabethport Hope VI Revitalization Program, which the city of Elizabeth has been participating in since 1997. By the 1990s, the city was in dire straits, having suffered in previous decades from industrial decline that resulted in abandoned industrial properties and a residential housing stock bereft of affordable alternatives. That was especially the case in the Elizabethport neighborhood, one of the oldest sections of the city.
Demolition of 650 units at Migliore Manor and Pioneer Homes, two radically distressed public-housing complexes, paved the way for newly constructed units for mixed-income young adults, families and seniors. CIS and its subsidiaries also developed and now manage (under HOPE VI) Heritage Village at Elizabeth, an affordable senior residential community, and Portside II, an affordable family residential community, both completed in 2006.
At the time the housing market contracted in the late 2000s, plans were well under way by CIS to develop townhouse units in the Elizabethport neighborhood under the Elizabethport Hope VI Revitalization Program. But the housing situation hit Elizabethport especially hard, and soon a for-sale development made no economic sense.
So CIS spent subsequent years repositioning the Waters Edge Crescent project, anticipating an increased need for tax-credit rental units as a result of the downturn. Although CIS had completed site work, utility installations and the foundations for 12 units at the 2.38-acre former public housing site, the change to a rental property was nevertheless feasible, according to Christiana Foglio, CEO of CIS.
CIS completed construction of one-, two- and three-bedroom units late last year, with most having a private, attached garage and balcony. The final phase also incorporated three standalone three-bedroom units. Leasing demand was strong enough that the units were occupied two months earlier than projected, notes the company.