Army Base Gets New Life as Affordable Housing Community

Pennrose is redeveloping the underutilized site of Camp Kilmer in Edison Township, N.J., into a low-income rental property with supportive services for military veterans, families and formerly homeless residents.
Truman Square groundbreaking ceremony. Image courtesy of Pennrose

Pennrose has broken ground on an affordable apartment community that will represent Phase I of the 2-phase Truman Square development in Edison Township, N.J. The development will be situated on the former site of Camp Kilmer, a U.S. Army base that processed more than 2.5 million American soldiers during the first half of the 1940s.

Opened in June 1942, the base was named after Joyce Kilmer, a Middlesex, N.J. native killed in the Aisne-Marne offensive of World War I. Much of the base‘s acreage had earlier been sold to Rutgers University.

Truman Square is at least the second Pennrose affordable housing development to break ground in the last five months, following the groundbreaking of Square at Merritt Mill in Salisbury, Md. Just more than one year ago, Pennrose opened Residence at Roosevelt Park in Edison, N.J. on the site of the former Roosevelt Hospital.

Truman Square’s Phase I will feature 86 one-, two- and three-bedroom units of affordable housing. The apartments will be earmarked for households earning annual incomes of between 20 to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).

Stable, quality housing

Approximately 25 percent of the units will be earmarked as veterans’ housing, and 25 percent will be allocated for formerly homeless. New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities and Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services will support 22 of the units, which have been set aside for renters with the lowest earnings relative to AMI.

Pennrose officials have stated in prepared remarks that the objective of the affordable housing is to provide stable, high-quality residences to veterans, families, formerly homeless and others in need on a historic military base that is now an underutilized site.

Pennrose Management Co. will furnish property management for the community. Triple C Housing, Inc. will offer veteran and formerly homeless residents supportive services that include peer support and veteran-to-veteran services.

 The development’s design is by Philadelphia, Pa.-based WRT, LLC, a planning and design firm whose focus is the design of affordable housing. The project financing came from a 9 percent federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit loan (LIHTC).

Additional funding was provided by First Mortgage, County Housing First Funds, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, County HOME and Housing First Capital Funds, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and TDC.