Claremont Development has broken ground on a new homeless services center in Jersey City as part of an agreement that will allow it to build a 23-story, 444-unit apartment tower across the street, the current home of St. Lucy’s Homeless Shelter. — Courtesy: Cushman & Wakefield
By Joshua Burd
A developer has broken ground on a new homeless services center in Jersey City, marking a key step in a plan to ultimately build a 23-story, 444-unit apartment tower across the street.
The initial project, located at 610-620 Grove St., will result in a 60,000-square-foot facility that will help expand the offerings of St. Lucy’s Homeless Shelter directly opposite the site. Claremont Development is spearheading the project in concert with city officials and other stakeholders, with plans calling for a mix of beds and units for individuals who are homeless, those with HIV and those with supportive housing and affordable housing needs.
Claremont and its Arc Building Partners affiliate held a ceremonial groundbreaking last week, joining leaders from the city and other organizations involved in the $16 million project.
“With this groundbreaking, we’re building a safe space that will not only provide food and shelter for those in need, but we’re also utilizing St. Lucy’s established success as the foundation to build a brighter, more prosperous future for our neediest residents and families for generations to come,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. He added that the city is committing more than $2 million in grant funding to help expand beyond traditional homeless shelter services to also include more permanent housing options and transitional support, as well as everyday needs.
Claremont is building the center under an agreement with the city and the Archdiocese of Newark, which owns St. Lucy’s. According to TAPinto Jersey City, the archdiocese will sell the site of the shelter’s existing facility and adjacent properties to Claremont, allowing it to construct the new apartment tower on the parcels, while also preserving the existing church at the site.
On Monday, brokers with Cushman & Wakefield announced that they had secured $16 million for acquisition and predevelopment financing for the tower and construction financing for the new shelter. The firm represented Claremont in the deal with the lender, Lionheart Strategic Management.
“This opportunity within Jersey City’s fastest-growing neighborhood generated a competitive marketing process in which Lionheart exhibited their understanding for the project and its complexities,” said C&W’s John Alascio, who worked alongside Chuck Kohaut, TJ Sullivan and Zachary Kraft. “We are thrilled for Claremont and Lionheart’s successful closing and for what is to come from this partnership.”
The equity, debt and structured finance team said the tower at 619 Grove St. will include 444 residential units, 5,600 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, a five-story parking deck and 18,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space.
Catholic Charities will operate the new facility, which is slated to be complete in late 2022 or early 2023. All told, the center will feature 165 beds for homeless individuals, 14 units of transitional housing for individuals with HIV, five permanent supportive housing units specifically for families and 15 permanent affordable housing studio apartments.
The space would also provide temporary and permanent residents with access to comprehensive case management services offered on-site, with the goal of helping the individual find permanent housing, find employment and address any other needs that they may have, such as physical health, mental health or substance use, according to a news release. The second floor will have staff offices for Catholic Charities and space to see clients, along with a drop-in area for nonresidents to access showers, meals and new laundry facilities.
“It’s amazing to see several years of hard work come together in a project kickoff moment like this, especially with the amount of different governing agencies, local interest groups, stakeholders, professionals and partners that have been intricately involved in this process to get us where we are today,” said Maximilian Dorne, a partner at Claremont Development. “We know the St. Lucy’s Project is the important first step in reimagining the entire development site, and we couldn’t be more excited to begin seeing this project come to fruition.”
In its announcement, Jersey City noted that the overall project is six years in the making and includes a series of now-complete property exchanges, zoning approvals and overall planning consent. Claremont is funding the cost of the new shelter.
“As one of the largest and longest-standing homeless shelters in the state, St. Lucy’s has always played a pivotal role in helping so many within our community,” Catholic Charities CEO John Westervelt said. “We couldn’t be more excited to mark the commencement of construction activity on such a transformational project. Our team really is looking forward to this state-of-the-art facility that will enable us to provide more services to our vulnerable neighbors.”
Arc Building Partners, a project partner and Claremont’s construction affiliate, said it was donating two Ford trucks valued at $40,000 to help support Catholic Charities’ ongoing transport needs as well as a $1,000 fuel card.
“This development is yet another example of the type of community-centric, high-profile projects that we love to help build — because efforts like this really do make a difference for local residents,” said Frank Ciminelli, CEO and president of Arc Building Partners.
Also on hand for last week’s groundbreaking ceremony was Cardinal Joseph Tobin, bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, who said that such projects “are desperately needed to bring the Gospel to life, which is why we are thankful to Mayor Fulop for his support and the ongoing collaboration between the development team and Catholic Charities.”