By Joshua Burd
A multifamily developer has kicked off an $18.7 million rehab of a 156-unit property in Bridgeton, where it aims to modernize the community and expand services for residents.
The firm, WinnCompanies, said it acquired Bridgeton Villas in March 2017. Built between 1966 and 1969, the property consists of eight buildings housing 28 one-bedroom, 92 two-bedroom and 36 three-bedroom units with an on-site leasing and management office.
WinnDevelopment will oversee the first phase of the rehab, which will improve five buildings consisting of 100 units, the firm said in a news release. Interior work will include mechanical system upgrades along with kitchen and bathroom overhauls, including the installation of EnergyStar appliances and sustainable plumbing fixtures.
Exterior improvements include the beautification of building facades, new entryways, complete roof replacement, landscape work and parking lot repair.
“Our purchase and rehabilitation of Bridgeton Villas will not only significantly improve the quality of life for residents, but also will preserve it as affordable housing for the next three decades,” WinnDevelopment President Larry Curtis said. “We could not be more pleased to team up with Gateway Community Action Partnership, the City of Bridgeton, and the State of New Jersey to transform this property into a high-quality community with modern amenities and services.”
In conjunction with the physical rehabilitation, five of the units at Bridgeton Villas will be brought up to ADA compliance, while 10 units will be set aside as Special Needs housing for homeless individuals and families. WinnCompanies will partner with Gateway Community Action Partnership to deliver supportive services for residents those units.
The project will create 40 full-time construction jobs with a special focus on local employees and subcontractors, the news release said, noting that the first phase is scheduled to be substantially completed by year end. DiMarco Constructors of Rochester, New York, is the general contractor and The Architectural Team of Chelsea, Massachusetts, is the architect.
“This project stands out for a number of reasons that are good for Bridgeton, its residents and the South Jersey community,” New Jersey state Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney said in a prepared statement. “It starts with putting men and women to work in good paying jobs that will be an immediate benefit for the economy.
“The longer-term benefits include the quality of life for the individuals and families who will live here, the availability of affordable housing and the modernization and improvement of the housing infrastructure.”
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is supporting the project through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund and construction and permanent tax-exempt bond financing directly purchased by Citi Community Capital. Additional financing is being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a subordinate loan from Citi, equity provided by Aegon Capital Management and by a tax abatement provided by the City of Bridgeton.
“Our Multifamily Conduit Bond Program enables well-capitalized developers to issue bonds through the agency on a pass-through basis at the most competitive interest rates available in the marketplace,” NJHMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta said. “The program is very attractive to developers, and the result is expanded opportunities to create housing for New Jersey working families and also to help homeless residents.
“We have issued well over a billion dollars in conduit bonds since the program began in 2012.”
The acquisition was WinnDevelopment’s third in New Jersey in the past 18 months. The firm has completed occupied rehabs at City Crossing, a 131-unit affordable community in Jersey City formerly known as Brunswick Estates, along with the 199-unit market-rate community in West Deptford known as The Cove at RiverWinds.
The company’s property management arm, WinnResidential, now operates 19 New Jersey properties totaling more than 2,320 apartments in every income category, as well as more than 30,100 square feet of commercial space, the news release said. In addition to Bridgeton, Jersey City and West Deptford, other Winn-managed properties are located in East Orange, Glassboro, Newark, Orange and Trenton.
“Today, there is a perception that affordable or public housing means inferior housing. Working with WinnDevelopment, I am confident that our collaboration on the Bridgeton Villas project will show this perception to be wrong,” said Bridgeton Mayor Albert B. Kelly. “WinnDevelopment has shown a commitment not only to quality housing, but also improving the quality of life for residents at the complex and they have the track record to prove it. I’m looking forward to final product.”