FLORENCE, N.J. – New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta joined elected state and local officials and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Duffy School, a 53-unit senior apartment community in Township of Florence, Burlington County. The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which generated approximately $10.1 million in private equity.
“The Duffy School is a shining example of how federal, state, local, and private enterprises can collaborate to construct high-quality affordable housing for senior citizens living on low, fixed-incomes in New Jersey,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “I commend the development team for utilizing the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to get the financing they need to embark on this project, which is sure to be a community asset in Burlington County.”
The Duffy School, which will cost approximately $14 million to develop, will not only provide affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families, but will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Burlington County community. HMFA estimates that the project will generate approximately $22.3 million in one-time economic output and create approximately 133 full-time jobs during construction. Upon completion, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $2.5 million in ongoing economic output and approximately 14 full-time jobs annually. Additional funding sources for the Duffy School redevelopment includes historic tax credits, a construction loan from TD Bank, Burlington County HOME Funds, and the Township of Florence Affordable Housing Trust Funds.
The development will involve the adaptive re-use of a historic school building, originally built in the late 19th century, into 35 affordable housing units, and the new construction of an additional building containing 18 units. All units will be either handicap accessible or handicap adaptable. Building amenities will include a community room in what was formerly was the school auditorium, fitness center, library, craft room, entertainment facility, and office space for the community manager in the existing historic school building.
“This project will give senior citizens the opportunity to age comfortably in place and maintain a sense of independence,” said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta. “Adaptive-reuse projects like this serve as a catalyst for advancing economic development and encouraging further redevelopment in New Jersey’s municipalities.”
100 percent of the project units will be affordable, with seven units available to households with incomes at or below 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Five of these units will be reserved for homeless seniors. Of the remaining units, 25 units will be at or below 50% AMI, and 21 units at or below 60% AMI. Services for the homeless population will be provided by Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Services of the Diocese of Trenton, which provides for basic needs like food, clothing, drug services, mental health and legal support, and programs designed to help individuals become self-sufficient and independent. Moreover, a full array of social services for the general elderly population at the Duffy School Apartments will be provided by the Center for Family Services.
Annually, states are allocated Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the federal government on a per-capita basis. HMFA, as the administrator of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program in New Jersey, allocates approximately $20 million in 9% credits annually, which generates over $180 million in equity for the development of affordable housing in the state. The project developers, Conifer Realty, LLC and Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND), were awarded the very competitive 9% tax credits from the 2013 non-Sandy senior cycle. The tax credits provided more than 71% of the funding for the development of the Duffy School.
For more information on HMFA programs, please visit www.njhousing.gov.