WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) today joined local officials and The Ingerman Group to celebrate the groundbreaking of Wesmont Station, a 104-unit affordable rental housing development in Wood-Ridge, Bergen County, one of the nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Once completed, the housing community will be for working families, with six units set aside for individuals with special needs. The project has been awarded federal Sandy Recovery funds.
The HMFA, an affiliate of the DCA, awarded the project approximately $5.5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery monies 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 most impacted counties. The HMFA also provided approximately $2.6 million in permanent financing through the Multifamily Conduit Bond Program, and awarded the project the extremely competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which will generate approximately $17.8 million in private equity.
"DCA is pleased to allocate Sandy recovery funds to worthwhile affordable housing projects such as Wesmont Station that are located in Sandy-impacted counties in the state," said DCA Deputy Commissioner Melissa Orsen at today’s groundbreaking. "Sandy recovery initiatives like the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing are helping to rebuild and restore a lasting foundation for New Jersey after the storm by replenishing the supply of affordable housing units that were destroyed or damaged by Sandy."
During the first three months of lease-up of Wesmont Station, priority will be given to Sandy-impacted individuals who registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance or who rented an apartment or owned a primary residence that was no longer habitable because of Sandy damage.
Wesmont Station will be newly constructed on the former Curtis Wright Industrial Complex as part of a larger mixed-use neighborhood conceived by the project’s master developer, Somerset Development. Westmont Station will feature a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments with private entrances off breezeway corridors. Every apartment will include parking and either a patio or balcony, as well as energy-efficient appliances, including a washer and dryer. The development will also house a fitness center, as well as a large community center complete with gathering spaces, a warming kitchen, management offices, and a service suite. The project will be easily accessible to schools and parks, public transit, grocery stores, and local shops, and satisfy nearly 80 percent of the Borough’s affordable housing obligation.
"The HMFA provided the capital financing needed to make Wesmont Station possible by leveraging federal Sandy recovery dollars with our existing programs and financing mechanisms," said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. "For example, the Multifamily Conduit Bond Program enabled the project developer to issue bonds through the HMFA, on a pass-through basis, at the lowest interest rates available in the marketplace. Also, the HMFA awarded the developer Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated nearly 65 percent of the project’s total development cost. These are beneficial programs that help make affordable housing a reality in New Jersey."
HMFA estimates that the project, which will cost approximately $27.6 million to develop, will generate approximately $43.7 million in one-time economic output and approximately 262 direct and indirect full-time jobs during construction. Upon completion, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing approximately $4.9 million in ongoing economic output and 28 direct and indirect full-time jobs annually.
The Ingerman Group develops, builds and manages award-winning multi-family communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
For more information on HMFA programs, including the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, visit www.njhousing.gov.