GG HARBOR CITY, N.J. – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) today announced the groundbreaking of Conifer Village at Rittenberg, a 100-unit affordable senior housing development in Egg Harbor City, Atlantic County, which was awarded federal Sandy Recovery funds. Five units will be set aside for homeless individuals, 62 and older.
The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project approximately $5.4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM). The FRM program provides for-profit and non-profit housing developers an opportunity to secure zero-interest and low-interest loans to finance the development of affordable housing in the nine counties most impacted by Sandy as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in an effort to increase the supply of affordable housing stock in these areas in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Atlantic County was one of the counties hardest hit by Sandy, with nearly 9,000 housing units that sustained major or severe storm damage.
“Today’s groundbreaking demonstrates the Christie Administration’s commitment to quickly rebuild all types of housing lost to Sandy so that all New Jersey residents can find affordable homes that meet their needs,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who chairs the HMFA Board and whose Department is administering the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for the state.
“Conifer Village at Rittenberg will transform what was an underutilized area into an attractive housing community that provides quality affordable housing opportunities for seniors, including those impacted by Sandy.”
During the first three months of lease-up, priority will be given to Sandy-impacted individuals who registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance or who rented an apartment or owned a primary residence that was no longer habitable because of Sandy damage.
HMFA leveraged the use of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), an existing affordable housing program administered by the Agency, to provide additional funding and expedite the construction process for Conifer Village at Rittenberg. HMFA awarded the project Low Income Housing Tax Credits through an open process based on a scoring system outlined in the state’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). These tax credits generated equity of approximately $13.4 million, contributing most significantly to the total development cost of the project.
The project, a joint venture between Conifer Realty and MEND, Inc., will cost approximately $20.6 million to develop, and will not only provide affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey seniors, but will also continue to have a positive economic impact on the community.
HMFA estimates that the project will generate approximately $32.6 million in one-time economic output and create approximately 200 full-time jobs during construction. Once completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $3.6 million in ongoing economic output and an estimated 20 full-time jobs annually. Other funding sources for the development of Conifer Village at Rittenberg include a construction loan from JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
“The FRM program incentivizes developers to produce needed affordable housing opportunities for the full spectrum of New Jersey’s citizens including seniors on a fixed income, homeless individuals, and people significantly impacted by Sandy,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “We are thrilled to have provided the capital financing necessary to build this important project. It provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance Egg Harbor City’s downtown and attract economic development to the area.”
Located in the heart of downtown Egg Harbor City, Conifer Village at Rittenberg is close to restaurants, shopping, professional offices, banks, medical resources, a park, and cultural resources. There are also convenient public transportation links and a New Jersey Transit bus stop one-half mile from the site.
Each unit will have Energy Star-rated appliances and heating and cooling systems that meet the Energy Star Program requirements. Project amenities include laundry facilities, an exercise room, computer room, library and community room.
For more information on HMFA programs, including the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, visit www.njhousing.gov.