Hudson Valley Property Group is planning a major preservation and rehabilitation of Northgate Apartments at 433 North 7th St. in Camden, with plans calling for site infrastructure upgrades, mechanical system replacements and many in-unit bathroom, kitchen and apartment safety improvements. — Renderings courtesy: Hudson Valley Property Group
By Joshua Burd
An affordable housing investor has acquired a 321-unit property in Camden, where it’s planning a sweeping upgrade to modernize the building’s exterior, common spaces and apartments.
The Manhattan-based firm, Hudson Valley Property Group, said its work at 433 North 7th St. will begin soon after the completion of the deal. The company is paying an undisclosed price for what’s known as Northgate Apartments, a 21-story tower that opened in 1963 and has reportedly dealt with crime, mismanagement and deferred maintenance in recent years.
According to a news release, the upgrades will take roughly two years and will include a “complete building revitalization” with site infrastructure upgrades, mechanical system replacements and many in-unit bathroom, kitchen and apartment safety improvements. HVPG also plans to improve the building’s façade while preserving its midcentury architecture, while it expects to create fully accessible dwelling units and site improvements to create a fully accessible site.
“We are delighted to extend our partnership with the city of Camden, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Camden County Improvement Authority and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to enhance the affordability and overall quality of housing in Camden,” said Jason Bordainick, co-founder and managing partner of Hudson Valley Property Group. “HVPG remains committed to transforming communities like Northgate into safe, modern homes and supportive environments for families, and we look forward to showcasing the positive impact our investments and capable team can have on residents and the broader community.”
The deal comes nine months after the EDA approved up to $46.5 million in Aspire tax credits for the project. State officials said the renovation by HVPG and its co-applicant, Hearthstone Housing Foundation, would equate to an investment of nearly $104 million and would also address environmental conditions, including lead-based paint, lead in water, perchloroethylene in groundwater, underground storage tanks, asbestos and water intrusions.
The subsidy is part of a complex capital stack that is financing the project, which also includes federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits funded by Enterprise and a Federal Housing Administration loan originated by PGIM, according to a news release. The city of Camden also supported the project with a long-term payment in lieu of taxes agreement, which will be instrumental in the property’s future success.
“We look forward to working with the new owners of Northgate One, as Hudson Valley Property Group acquires the apartment building adjacent to the Camden entrance to the Ben Franklin Bridge,” Camden Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen said. “We believe this property will see significant improvements under the ownership and care of a responsible developer in Hudson Valley Property Group, which brings a track record of providing high-quality affordable housing for their tenants. My administration is excited about the prospects of positive change this project brings, and the potential for a renovated Northgate One to help transform the surrounding community for the better. This is a big step towards improving the quality of life citywide and yet another a long-term investment in Camden’s revitalization.”
HVPG noted that the project received support from various partners, including the Camden County Improvement Authority, while HMFA provided financing support. The Metro Co. acted as the tax credit consultant and Citizens Bank as the construction lender, the firm said, adding that BlueHub Capital served as the Aspire lender.
The project follows HVPG’s fall 2022 completion of an $85 million acquisition and renovation project at the Community Meadows apartments, a 391-unit, 21.5-acre complex in Camden’s Morgan Village.
“The sale and renovation of this building will be a significant enhancement to the city of Camden and the residents that live in Northgate,” Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli said. “This property has experienced significant challenges over recent decades, and we are extremely encouraged that it will now be managed by a proven, respected owner-operator that has already done great work in the city at Community Meadows and is committed to improving the quality of life of our residents.”
To ensure the long-term affordability of the property, 96.5 percent of units are subject to a new 20-year project-based Section 8 HAP contract, which ensures units covered by this subsidy pay no more than 30 percent of their household income toward rent, the news release said. The property will also be subject to Low-Income Housing Tax Credit income restrictions through a 30-year compliance period, while tenants must qualify at 60 percent of area median income to reside at the property.
The agreements with the city, state and federal agencies ensure affordability for the property for decades to come, HVPG said, adding that no current tenants will be displaced as a result of the preservation and rehabilitation process, the news release said.. It’s also implementing a formal community enhancement program at the property that includes a site-specific emergency plan, active collaboration with local police departments and an enhanced, high-definition monitoring system providing sitewide security coverage, all with the goal of modernizing the property and improving residents’ quality of life.