Baxter Park South Delivers New Apartments for Newark

A ribbon-cutting ceremony February 22 celebrated the newly constructed Baxter Park South mixed-use development, located on the former site of long obsolete Newark public housing. This new development is the first phase in a key revitalization effort bringing highly sought housing to an enclave straddling the University Communities and the Broad Street Station District.

Newark, N.J.—A ribbon-cutting ceremony February 22 celebrated the newly constructed Baxter Park South mixed-use development, located on the former site of long obsolete Newark public housing. This new development is the first phase in a key revitalization effort bringing highly sought housing to an enclave straddling the University Communities and the Broad Street Station District.

Situated in two striking four-story elevator buildings, Baxter Park South features 90 apartments in an array of unit sizes and floor plans. In addition, the development offers significant space for street-level retail operations.

A distinctive quality of Baxter Park South is its green building focus. Noteworthy are new solar voltaic panels that generate the buildings’ electricity, energy efficient construction and appliances, use of recycled materials, water-saving features and an on-site storm water management system.

Under the stewardship of its executive director Keith Kinard, the Newark Housing Authority successfully applied for and received approximately $11.7 million in stimulus funds specifically tailored to the production of affordable multifamily housing emphasizing energy efficiency and sustainability.

In accepting the grant, the housing authority guaranteed to HUD that specific energy saving amenities would be incorporated. Among them were solar panels generating 20 percent of the project’s common-area electricity, heat reflective roof surfacing, low-E windows, water conserving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, durable flooring and low-VOC paints and sealants.

The primary challenge that arose in developing Baxter Park South was conforming to timing benchmarks accompanying the grant of stimulus funds.

“As you may recall, stimulus funding was targeted at ‘shovel ready’ projects,” Joel Silver, regional vice president of The Michaels Development Company, the lead developer, tells MHN. “As such, within three months of the finalization of the collaborative between the Newark Housing Authority and The Michaels Development Company, all required funding had to be obligated. HUD required that a mixed finance closing occur, evidencing all approvals and all required debt and equity financing. This also required commitment of tax-exempt financing and a four percent low-income housing tax credit allocation from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. All design work and entitlements had to be secured in a very short time frame.”

Baxter Park South residents benefit from a multifamily development that is spacious, attractive and affordable, Silver says. A majority of the units are occupied by households paying 30 percent of their income for housing. The units are safe and secure, many of them accessible or adaptable for people with disabilities. Interstate Realty Management Company, an affiliate of the Michaels Development Company, is providing property management services, and has been successful in ensuring the development is 100 percent occupied.

“Residents will live in this dynamic new neighborhood in the city of Newark, where the completion of Baxter Park South is just the first step in a comprehensive revitalization effort,” Silver concludes.