The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded Harrison Park Square approximately $4.3 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM) program, which provides zero-interest and low-interest loans to housing developers to finance affordable housing development in the nine most Sandy-impacted counties as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HMFA also approved the project for the competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) of up to $8.2 million over ten years. HMFA additionally provided Harrison Park Square with approximately $7.1 million in permanent financing.
“Harrison Park Square demonstrates the Christie Administration’s commitment to developing quality housing for families living on limited or fixed incomes who have been impacted by Superstorm Sandy,” said DCA Commissioner Charles Richman, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA board. “This project will help meet an affordable housing demand that was exacerbated by Sandy and will provide a home where seniors can age comfortably in place.”
Harrison Park Square is part of the redevelopment of Douglass-Harrison Homes, which was demolished in 2011. The five-story, brick-front, elevator building consists of 56 one- and two-bedroom units for seniors ages 62 and over. Each apartment unit features energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and water-conserving fixtures. All of the units were constructed to be fully accessible to seniors with mobility impairments. Building amenities include a multipurpose room, game room, health suite, and computer room. Residents have access to an adjacent public park, which is being built by Michaels Development Company. All units are affordable to households earning 60% or less than the Area Median Income (AMI), with five units set aside for individuals with special needs, with a preference for homeless veterans.
“Harrison Park Square truly represents HMFA’s mission to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing in high-opportunity areas with great access to public transportation, retail, and jobs,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “We are proud to have provided the capital financing necessary to make this project a reality.”
Harrison Park Square began leasing up its units on March 1, 2015 and during the first 90 days of lease-up, priority for residency was 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. The development is fully occupied, but individuals who are interested in a unit can still apply and will be placed on a waiting list. For more information, people can contact the leasing office at (973) 877-0972.
The project, which cost approximately $18.8 million to develop, will not only provide affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families, but will also have a positive economic impact on the greater Newark region.
HMFA estimates that the project has generated approximately $29.8 million in one-time economic output, defined as the total value of industry production, such as sales and business revenues. During construction, the project supported approximately 178 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and approximately $1.1 million in state and local taxes. Now completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing over $3.3 million in ongoing economic output, 18 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and $188,000 in state and local taxes annually.
These economic impact figures were estimated using multipliers derived from a 2013 study entitled “Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Investment in Affordable Housing,” conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., a real estate and economic development consulting firm.
Other funding sources for the development of Harrison Park Square included the City of Newark HOME funds and a deferred developer fee.
Sandy-impacted residents can learn more about affordable housing projects by visiting the New Jersey Housing Resource Center at www.njhrc.gov. The database is free and easy to use. On the homepage, individuals can click on Priority Housing for Sandy-Impacted Residents. The page that opens will display a list of available housing opportunities throughout the nine most impacted counties. The list includes such information as where projects are located, total number of housing units, contact information for the leasing office, website/phone number for people to submit applications, and date applications are being accepted. New information is regularly being added as it becomes available.
For more information on HMFA programs, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or (609) 278-7400, or log on to www.njhousing.gov.