A rendering of a historic rehabilitation and ground-up development project that will bring 74 new apartments to Argus Mill site at Mill and Ellison streets in Paterson — Courtesy: Argus Ellison Associates LLC
By Joshua Burd
A partnership is eyeing plans to bring 74 new apartments to Paterson, in a project that calls for both new construction and the restoration of a historic mill property near the city’s Great Falls.
State officials say the development, located at Mill and Ellison streets, is moving ahead after securing key financing commitments from two agencies. Those include a $17 million tax credit award from the state Economic Development Authority, which approved the incentive last week, and a newly approved, $20.2 million financing package from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
Plans call for the revitalization of the Argus Mill, which was built in the late 1800s, to create six two-bedroom apartments and office and programming space for the nonprofit Grandparents Relatives Care Resource Center, or GRCRC. At the same time, a team led by Argus Ellison Associates LLC will build an adjacent six-story building with 68 apartments.
“The project offers attractive and affordable housing options and will provide a permanent, welcoming home for GRCRC staff and the families they support,” said Tim Sullivan, the EDA’s chief executive. “All of this will be achieved in a manner that will make the iconic Argus Mill an asset to the Great Falls community once again.”
Argus Ellison Associates, a partnership between Lagos Partners and Winn Development, is developing the project alongside an affiliate of the locally based GRCRC. The team is slated to start construction in July, with completion expected in September 2022.
“We are extremely excited about the Argus development project and are profoundly grateful for the state’s assistance in achieving equitable housing and quality infill development,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said. “Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing portion of our city, so we are very supportive of filling this niche need, while also serving as beacon for other communities to serve their citizens in creative ways.”
Located in the Great Falls Historic District, the development will produce a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and parking for residents. Most of the units will be supported by housing vouchers from the Paterson Housing Authority, state officials said, while at least 40 percent of all homes will be for residents making 60 percent or less of area median income.
Meantime, two small existing office buildings on the site will remain in place and house the office and programming space for the GRCRC and a management office for Winn Residential, the project’s property manager.
“Redevelopment of the Argus Mill and related new construction preserves local history while enhancing the quality of life in this vibrant community,” said Melanie R. Walter, the HMFA’s executive director. “The Argus Mills property provides a model for inclusive and equitable development by offering financially sustainable, quality housing for Paterson families near the city’s beautiful and historic national park.”
The EDA’s approval of the Economic Redevelopment and Growth tax credit came during its May 12 board meeting. The award from the program’s mixed-use parking allocation will approximate 100 percent of actual eligible parking costs and 40 percent of the total actual eligible project costs related to residential housing uses.
Support for the project also includes $20.2 million in permanent financing through HMFA’s Conduit Bond Program, which was approved at that agency board meeting this week.
The GRCRC, which is based in Paterson, provides grandparents and other relative caregivers and the children they are raising with a range of support services, resources, programs, benefits and information on laws and policies available to help them successfully fulfill their caregiving role. It will use the new space to provide social services to tenants and other city residents.
“We are thrilled to return to the Paterson community and to work with the administration in serving a very targeted population,” said Owen Tonkins, a partner with Argus Ellison Associates LLC. “We also are very pleased to be able to serve a genuine community need, especially during these challenging times.”