A rendering of a 50-unit apartment project at 276 Reock St. in Orange — Courtesy: PEEK Development
By Joshua Burd
A development team has concluded its first round of fundraising for two projects under the federal Opportunity Zone program, with plans to break ground next year on a combined 168 apartments near the Orange train station.
PEEK Development on Monday announced the milestone for its Qualified Opportunity Fund projects, which are now in the preconstruction phase. Located a block from NJ Transit’s Orange station and the city’s central business district, the projects will include 50 units at 276 Reock St. and 118 units at 49 South Day St.
The developments — which are being funded via the entities PEEK Reock I QOF LLC and PEEK Reock II QOF LLC, respectively — will add to Orange’s Reock Street Redevelopment Area.
“In addition to being among one of the first Qualified Opportunity Funds to close its initial fundraising phase within months of launching — and then immediately moving toward breaking ground within an 8- to 12-month timeframe — PEEK is proud of its collaboration with city officials and local residents to revitalize a part of the city that has tremendous untapped potential,” said Philip Evanski, PEEK co-founder and managing member of Equis Realty Partners.
Evanski and Emanuel Klein, co-founder of The Fountain Group, formed PEEK last fall to focus on both traditional development as well as Opportunity Zone projects throughout New Jersey’s urban submarkets. The Opportunity Zone program, part of the federal government’s 2017 tax reform package, provides tax benefits to investors who direct capital gains to projects and businesses in certain low-income or distressed census tracts.
The firm expects development costs to be roughly $12.8 million for the 50 market-rate units at 276 Reock St. and $32.2 million for the 118 market-rate units at 49 South Day St. Both properties are a two-minute walk to the Orange train station and will offer front-door NJ Transit bus service, while helping to revitalize parcels between the NJ Transit right-of-way and Freeway Drive and Interstate 280.
“This is yet another step in realizing development within the Reock Street Redevelopment Area to establish a pedestrian- and commuter-friendly city center that will yield a self-sustaining, safe and secure neighborhood over the long term,” Klein said.
Currently, PEEK has a project pipeline of more than 300 market-rate units with more than $85 million in value. The firm is now preparing to launch a third fund, PEEK Cleveland I QOF LLC, which will focus on efforts to develop a 68-unit multifamily property on Cleveland Street.
“The leadership at PEEK Development has a demonstrated track record of partnering with municipalities like Orange, by taking a redevelopment plan’s strategic objective and transforming it into a sustainable reality for the entire community over the long term,” Mayor Dwayne D. Warren said. “By teaming up with PEEK, Orange will achieve its rightful place as a dominant live/work/transit/retail hub in the East Essex Region.”