A rendering of 11 Cooper, a new 156-unit apartment building in Camden — Courtesy: CP Residential
By Joshua Burd
A development team has broken ground on a new 156-unit apartment building on the Camden waterfront, kicking off what will be the city’s first newly built market-rate units in 25 years.
CP Residential — a partnership of The Michaels Organization, NFI and Conner Strong & Buckelew — joined public officials on Friday to mark the start of the $48 million project. Known as 11 Cooper, the complex is slated to begin lease-up in October 2018, with final delivery expected in spring 2019.
“Residents of 11 Cooper will enjoy waterfront living in beautifully designed, contemporary apartments, and they will be at the center of the urban renaissance that is happening right now in Camden,” said Michaels Organization President John J. O’Donnell, whose firm serves as 11 Cooper’s managing partner. “Our residents will have great access to transportation, entertainment, shopping and the employment and educational opportunities of Camden’s renowned ‘Eds and Meds’ community.
“We could not be more proud to be part of Camden’s revival.”
Photos by Avi Steinhardt/Courtesy: Camden County
The milestone comes amid a surge in newly completed projects and continued investment in the South Jersey city. The three firms behind CP Residential have also committed to moving their headquarters offices to the Camden waterfront in an office tower that is currently under construction just steps away from 11 Cooper.
Nearby, American Water Works. Co. is constructing its own 220,000-square-foot headquarters that is slated for completion later this year. Those buildings will follow several other recently completed projects, such as a new manufacturing center by Holtec International, a global energy technology company, and a new headquarters and training complex for the Philadelphia 76ers.
A host of public officials in Camden, who have long pushed for revitalizing the embattled city, were on hand Friday to celebrate the latest milestone.
“The investment of private capital is critical to Camden’s future because it helps create jobs for city residents and newcomers alike,” Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash said. “These new market-rate apartments are a major step forward in Camden’s progress and a clear sign its future is brighter than it has been in decades.”
Officials say the community, which will also include 20 percent affordable units, will be home to Camden’s first newly constructed market-rate apartments in 25 years. The city’s last infusion of market-rate units came in 2003, when Dranoff Properties completed its conversion of the former Victor Talking Machine Co. building at 1 Market St.
The CP Residential project will include a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments adjacent to The Ben Franklin Bridge. The firm said 11 Cooper will incorporate the latest green technology, high-end building materials and energy efficiency, with planned amenities such as 24/7 concierge services, a business center, a fitness center and club room with adjacent rooftop terrace.
The property is also slated to include 5,000 square feet of street-level retail space, fronting Cooper Street.
The CP Residential team also includes Torcon as general contractor, JKRP Architects and Pennoni Engineers. M&T Bank is the sole lender for the project, with a financing package that includes construction financing, a tax credit bridge loan facility and a commitment by the bank to purchase the tax credits.
The transaction was led by M&T Bank Senior Relationship Manager Michael Di Santo.
“At M&T Bank we recognize the potential and future the Camden Waterfront holds for the South Jersey community,” Di Santo said. “As such, the bank has been committed to supporting this project, and its sponsors, and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition to further Camden’s renaissance.”
In a prepared statement, Mayor Frank Moran said that “10 years ago — even five years ago — almost no one believed in Camden’s potential, and now look where we are today.”
“The city has seen a remarkable turnaround — from a dramatic drop in crime, to historic gains in our schools, to billions of dollars in new investment, including today’s announcement,” Moran said. “Together, we are making Camden a real destination to live, work and play.”
Several other officials and stakeholders offered their praise for the milestone:
Timothy J. Lizura, president and chief operating officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
“We couldn’t be more excited to see the end result. Together, 11 Cooper and the many other waterfront developments will provide the kind of economic boost that Camden has been awaiting.”
U.S. Rep Donald Norcross
“It’s amazing to witness Camden’s historic transformation and it’s an honor to be a part of it. We’ve seen major improvements in schools and public safety, followed by many new employers in Camden. This project is another example of a transformation of a Camden neighborhood for generations to come. I thank everyone involved and the entire Camden community as we continue working together to make our city an even better place to call home.”
State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez
“Camden is back to being the economic engine of South Jersey and returning to the pantheon of creativity and innovation that it was 50 years ago. This development is critical to that ongoing evolution to fill a vacuum of market rate housing with amenities that new employees and young professionals will be looking for here in the city.”
Ira Brown, M&T Bank regional president for the Philadelphia and South Jersey region
“The progress being made in Camden is truly something to marvel at,” said “At M&T Bank, we are committed to being a dynamic partner to those bettering the very communities we serve. It is a pleasure to see these plans come to fruition through the cooperation of invested partners.”