Union City, NJ — New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta today joined local officials and community leaders to mark the groundbreaking of 1516-1518 Palisade Avenue, a project that adaptively reuses two properties to provide supportive housing for homeless families and individuals.
The $3.9 million project will rehabilitate a vacant church, the former St John’s Episcopal, and an adjoining vacant two-story building, both with full basements. The rehabilitation of the church basement and the entire adjacent building will result in the creation of 13 housing units, including five one-bedroom and eight efficiency apartments.
For the project, HMFA awarded $2.4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund, which was created in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to provide subsidies in the form of zero- and low-interest loans to developers of affordable supportive housing in the nine counties the federal government designated as the most impacted by the storm.
“The 1516-1518 Palisade Avenue project will transform vacant space into homes for those who need them,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Charles Richman, who also serves as chairman of the HMFA. “I commend the development team for utilizing federal disaster recovery funds as part of the financing needed for this project, which is sure to be an asset for the Union City community.”
Six efficiency apartments will be located in the church’s basement area, which has large windows at grade level, providing visibility and light. The adjoining vacant two-story building will contain seven apartments, including two efficiencies and five one-bedroom units.
“We are pleased to participate in this innovative community partnership, which will reuse existing buildings that have played a vital part in the community and provide much needed housing for people with special needs, such as the homeless,” HMFA Executive Director Marchetta said.
The apartments on the first floor of the two-story building will be ADA compliant, to accommodate non-ambulatory residents. The first floor will also contain a lift, to provide additional wheelchair accessibility. The basement of the two-story building will include a large meeting/community room, men’s and women’s bathrooms, and a common kitchen for use by the residents for social gatherings, as well as a storage room and management office. There will be a separate lobby area conveniently located to all of the apartments.
The new units will have high-efficiency central electric heat and air conditioning, gas-fired hot water heaters, and a residential fire suppression and alarm system. The apartment and hallway floors will be painted wood, so the existing wood flooring can be used as much as possible with minimal patching and other cosmetic repair. Kitchens and baths will have ceramic tile floors and backsplashes. The project will have laundry facilities for the residents.
The roof of the two-story building will be replaced, exterior masonry pointing will be performed as needed, and damaged or displaced brick will be repaired or replaced as needed as well. Energy-efficient windows will be installed throughout the renovated spaces in existing openings.
The homes will be located on Palisade Avenue, a major commercial thoroughfare in Union City, featuring a variety of local businesses, including restaurants, gas stations, medical and dental offices and small retail strips. Within a five to 10-minute drive are ShopRite and C-town supermarkets and CVS and Prescription Center pharmacies. Several public parks are within walking distance.
The project will be developed by Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corp., based in Jersey City, which is in its 29th year, and creates healthy neighborhoods through community development initiatives that utilize the resources of residents, businesses, government and the faith-based community. It was designed by architect L+C Design Consultants.
Garden State Episcopal CDC will be the service provider for the project, through its subsidiary, Hudson Creating Alliances to Shelter All, which will provide intensive case management services to assist homeless individuals to find, secure, and/or afford permanent housing. The scope of social and support services also includes employment assistance, food, clothing, supplies, and peer/group support.
The work will not include any renovations to the church sanctuary or church roof. The church has not had an active congregation for many years, and will not be used for worship purposes in the future.
HMFA estimates that during construction, 1516-1518 Palisade Avenue will generate approximately $6.2 million in one-time economic output, defined as the total value of industry production, such as sales and business revenues; will support 37 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs; and generate approximately $227,360 in state and local taxes. Once complete, the project is expected to continue to add value to the community by supporting four full-time jobs and generate approximately $693,840 in ongoing economic output and $39,200 in state and local taxes annually.
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 HRA & Advisors Inc., a real estate economic development consulting firm.
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.