A rendering of The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village on Essex Road in Tinton Falls — Courtesy: WinnDevelopment and Soldier On Inc.
By Joshua Burd
A joint venture has broken ground on a 70-unit multifamily project in Tinton Falls that will be geared toward homeless veterans and others who served in the U.S. armed forces.
The team, which includes WinnDevelopment and Soldier On Inc., welcomed public officials on Saturday to mark the start of construction on Essex Road in the borough. Known as The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village, the $23 million project is slated for delivery in fall 2021 and will include apartments at a range of income levels.
“There are more than 400,000 veterans in New Jersey and thousands of them are disabled, homeless or in need of the support that will improve their quality of life,” WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn said. “We’re pleased to partner with Soldier On, with the support of state and local officials, to deliver this much deserved assistance and bring this important project to life. Communities that combine high quality apartments with on-site expert services are a focus for our company and something that we expect to develop more of in the years ahead.”
Sitting on a 12-acre site donated by the borough of Tinton Falls, the development will produce a four-story building with 70 one-bedroom apartments, according to a news release. WinnCompanies noted that 18 units will be available to individuals earning up to 30 percent of area median income, while 24 will be designated at 50 percent, 10 at 60 percent and 18 at 80 percent of the benchmark.
Soldier On, a nonprofit organization serving homeless veterans since 1994, will provide residents with services such as case management and wellness support, workforce assistance and benefits assessment and application assistance. Other offerings will include legal services, transportation, telehealth, daily meals and ancillary support programs.
V.J. Scozzari & Sons Inc. of Pennington will serve as the general contractor, while PS&S’ Cherry Hill-based team will provide architectural and civil engineering services and Gibbons P.C. will serve as local counsel. WinnResidential, the property management arm of WinnCompanies, will manage The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village in collaboration with Soldier On, which is marking its first project in New Jersey.
“We want to thank all of the many elected officials, and the many other supporting contributors in New Jersey who have made this possible,” Soldier On CEO Bruce Buckley said. “Soldier On will offer extensive services to the veterans living at the Tinton Falls property. A caring community will be created to offer not only the high-quality housing, but most importantly a supported environment of men and women who can offer support to one another.”
With preparations underway at the site, the developers welcomed a contingent of public officials to Liberty Park in Tinton Falls to mark the milestone. They cited contributions from a host of stakeholders, including U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, state Assemblywoman Joanne Downey, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, state Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency Executive Director Charles Richman and Tinton Falls Mayor Vito Perillo.
“This development will give many veterans their first decent place to live and prosper in years with vital services that can have a life-changing impact,” said Smith, a Republican who serves New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District. “Because of federal, state and local public and private partnership, we are making progress — but there are 37,000 homeless vets on the street on any given night. That number remains unconscionable high. We have more to work to do.”
HMFA is supporting the project with construction and permanent financing from its Agency Revenue Bond Financing Program and a subsidy mortgage loan commitment from its Multifamily Rental Housing Production Fund. Bank of America is providing low-income housing tax credit equity, while Federal Home Loan Bank New York Affordable Housing Program is providing a subordinate mortgage.
The project will also use U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME funds from Monmouth County, project-based rental assistance from the New Jersey Department of Housing Assistance and a deferred developer fee. Meantime, DCA has awarded 18 Housing Choice Project-Based Vouchers to the project to assist homeless veterans.
The community will be named for the late Gordon H. Mansfield, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran who served as deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, as well as assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equality Opportunity at HUD.
“I am very excited to see the start of construction on the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village in Tinton Falls,” Gopal said. “As Chair of the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m grateful for this apartment complex setting aside one-bedroom apartments for homeless veterans in our community.
“The transition from military service to civilian life can be very difficult, but the economic downturn caused by the public health crisis has made it even harder for our veterans to find jobs and put a roof over their family’s head. This apartment complex encompasses a token of our gratitude towards those who have served our great nation.”
Amenities planned for the development include a community room, offices, mail area, common laundry and an exterior courtyard with benches and grills. The development site is minutes from mass transit and is within walking distance of the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, Walmart Supercenter, Twin Brook Golf Center and several restaurant chains.