Newark Affordable Housing Breaks Ground

The Michaels Organization and its partners began work on Somerset Brownstones, a $19 million development in New Jersey's Central Ward neighborhood.
Groundbreaking of Somerset Brownstones. Image courtesy of The Michaels Organization
Groundbreaking of Somerset Brownstones. Image courtesy of The Michaels Organization

The Michaels Organization, along with nonprofit partner Better Tomorrows and City officials, has begun work on Somerset Brownstones, a 60-unit property in Newark, N.J. The $19 million project is part of the second phase of the city’s Central Ward neighborhood revitalization. This follows the firm’s ground breaking of a 75-unit affordable housing project in Camden’s Centerville neighborhood in October. 

Located on Spruce Street, Somerset Brownstones is close to Douglas Park, a city-owned park that Michaels built. The same organization intends to create another green area on roughly 4 acres adjacent to Harrison Park Square, an affordable apartment community for seniors. The whole project is being built on the former site of Douglass Harrison Homes, a deteriorated public housing complex that was demolished in 2010.

Upon completion, Somerset Brownstones is set to encompass four three-story buildings, each containing 15 apartments. Plans call for 40 two- and 20 three-bedroom units. All apartments will be Energy-Star certified and include central air conditioning, gas heat, dishwashers and washer/dryer hookups. Somerset Brownstones will serve households earning below 60 percent of the area’s median income, with 50 percent of the apartments set aside for very low-income families. Moreover, 15 units will be occupied by formerly homeless residents, with priority given to homeless veterans.

A joint effort

The State of New Jersey, HUD and Sterling National Bank are also partners in this project. Financing includes $11.3 million in private equity raised through the sale of federal low-income housing tax credits allocated by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and $500,000 in HOME Funds from the City of Newark. Sterling National Bank invested in the tax credits. Berkadia syndicated the credits and also provided $6.2 million in permanent mortgage financing.

The Michaels Organization’s management arm will serve as property manager and Better Tomorrows will provide supportive services at the upcoming community. Claremont Construction serves as general contractor and KNTM Architects provided design services.