Toms River Councilman Mo Hill, Walters Group Founder Edward Walters, Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher, Shelly Goetz, Colleen Goetz and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Chief Financial Officer John Murray were on hand Sept. 14 to formally open Cornerstone at Toms River. — Courtesy: HMFA
By Joshua Burd
A developer and state officials have marked the opening of a new 102-unit, affordable housing community in Toms River that will be reserved for senior citizens.
The Walters Group and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency joined local officials Sept. 14 to formally unveil Cornerstone at Toms River. Located at Massachusetts Avenue and Cox Cro Road, the complex is the latest to open with the help of federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds administered by the state agency.
Those funds, which came via the agency’s Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, totaled $18.5 million. Other HMFA assistance included $14.6 million in construction funding from HMFA’s Conduit Bond Program, plus an allocation of 4 percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that are expected to generate $8 million in private equity to help build the project.
Citi Community Capital and Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment served as the Walters Group’s capital partners, HMFA said in a news release.
“Cornerstone at Toms River is a substantial investment in the community and is helping to address a demand for affordable housing that was exacerbated by Superstorm Sandy,” New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles A. Richman said in a prepared statement. “This project also furthers the administration’s overall mission of creating high-quality housing that people can afford in areas that are close to public mass transit, job centers and good schools.”
The project features one- and two-bedroom units with full kitchens, washers and dryers for renters over age 55 with incomes up to 60 percent of the area median income, the news release said. Six of the apartments are set aside for residents with developmental disabilities.
Amenities include community, game and fitness rooms, a bocce court, a barbecue and picnic area, and on-site management.
Cornerstone at Toms River is the 10th project developed by the Walters Group to receive Sandy recovery funds. To date, HMFA has funded some 5,150 housing units for households of low to moderate income through the housing restoration program.
During the first 90 days of lease-up at Cornerstone at Toms River and any development funded under the program, priority is given to individuals who were displaced by or experienced major or severe storm damage from Sandy, HMFA said. The agency received federal approval in June 2017 to provide a fourth round of funding, which is anticipated to create an additional 255 to 350 affordable housing units in counties hit hard by the October 2012 storm.
“HMFA is pleased to have been a part of this senior housing development that will not only provide safe, decent apartments for residents in Ocean County, but will also help replenish the stock of affordable rental housing lost to Sandy,” HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta said. “We look forward to continuing to use our FRM Program to help those communities hard hit by Sandy rebuild.”
HMFA estimates that the Cornerstone at Toms River project generated about $44.6 million in one-time economic output during construction. The project supported some 267 direct and indirect or induced full-time equivalent jobs, while generating more than $1.6 million in state and local taxes during construction.