Lacey Township, NJ — The first phase of an affordable housing development in Lacey Township, which was built using Superstorm Sandy recovery funds and is now home to several Sandy-impacted residents, marked its grand opening this week with New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta and other local officials.
Cornerstone at Lacey includes 70 rental units for low-to-moderate income households in its first phase, with five units set aside for residents with special needs.
The $22.6 million first phase, which was built by The Walters Group, was awarded $11.9 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM) Program. The FRM Program was created in the aftermath of Sandy and provides qualified housing developers with subsidies in the form of zero- and low-interest loans to finance the development of affordable housing in the nine counties the federal government designated as the most impacted by the storm.
The first phase of Cornerstone at Lacey also was awarded $11 million in financing from the HMFA and 4 percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which generated approximately $6.8 million in private equity for the project.
“This development is a substantial investment in the community and is helping to meet a demand for affordable housing that was exacerbated by Sandy,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Charles A. Richman, who also serves as chairman of the HMFA board. “The project is also furthering our overall mission of financing safe, decent, affordable housing in New Jersey.”
The Cornerstone at Lacey development is the fifth FRM-financed project for The Walters Group, a Barnegat-based residential and commercial developer. The project’s second phase, which has also received FRM funds, will include 48 units and will begin accepting applications in summer 2017. The second phase is expected to open in fall 2017.
“Cornerstone at Lacey not only assists working families of limited financial means and middle-income residents, but also provides supportive housing for residents with special needs,” said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta. “Projects such as this have been critical to rebuilding Sandy-impacted communities by providing affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families affected by the storm.”
During the first 90 days of lease up of the first phase of Cornerstone at Lacey, priority for residency was given to individuals who were displaced by Sandy or whose homes sustained major or severe damage from the storm. Six households affected by Sandy have so far moved into the development.
“The impact from Hurricane Sandy has been a very traumatic experience, leaving me nowhere to call home. I’ve bounced around and lived with family trying to find a place that would be affordable for me,” said new Cornerstone resident Sue Hernandez, who noted that learning Sandy-impacted applicants would get priority status gave her hope. “Now, I couldn’t be happier. I have a beautiful new apartment in a great community. It’s exactly what I was looking for, a place to call home.”
The second phase of Cornerstone at Lacey will also give priority for residency to Sandy-impacted residents during the first 90 days of lease up when the application period opens later this year. For additional information, please call Cornerstone at Lacey apartments at 609-242-6430.
HMFA estimated that the first phase of the project generated nearly $36 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 214 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and generated over $1.3 million in state and local taxes. Now that it is completed, the first phase of Cornerstone at Lacey is expected to continue to add value to the community by providing approximately $4 million in ongoing economic output, 23 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and approximately $226,000 in state and local taxes annually. These Economic Impact Analysis 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.
Sandy-impacted residents can learn more about affordable housing projects funded with Sandy recovery dollars by visiting the New Jersey Housing Resource Center at www.njhrc.gov and clicking on “Priority Housing for Sandy-Impacted Residents.” The free database 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 added regularly as it becomes available.
For more information on the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund and other HMFA programs, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or (609) 278-7400, or visit www.njhousing.gov.