City, state and federal officials, including U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, Camden Mayor Frank Moran and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Executive Director Charles A. Richman gathered Nov. 2 to celebrate the groundbreaking of Branch Village Townhomes in Camden — Courtesy: HMFA
By Joshua Burd
Michaels Development and the city of Camden have broken ground on 72 low- and moderate-income apartments, continuing a project to redevelop a blighted public housing complex.
The public-private partnership marked the start of construction on what will become Branch Village Townhomes, a $21.5 million project in the city’s Centerville neighborhood, according to state officials. The development will include nine new three-story buildings housing one- to three-bedroom apartments for residents earning up to 60 percent of the area median income.
Five units will be set aside for homeless individuals, with construction slated to be complete by December 2019.
“Branch Village Townhomes are a key component of the revitalization of this site, which we have been involved with from the beginning, and ensures our continued commitment to providing housing that is affordable to families,” said Charles A. Richman, executive director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. “Residents will have modern, safe and attractive homes that will not only improve the quality of their lives, but enhance the overall neighborhood.”
Branch Village Townhomes will occupy the site of the former Clement T. Branch Village, a formerly dilapidated and obsolete public housing complex near the Mount Ephraim Avenue corridor, HMFA said. Michaels has razed five two-story brick buildings and will introduce two new public roads, breaking up the block of public housing buildings that isolated former residents from the rest of the neighborhood.
Michaels, a Marlton-based developer, and the Housing Authority of the City of Camden are partnering in the project. The HMFA provided the development with $2.6 million in financing and a 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit award, which is expected to generate $15.5 million in private equity.
Additional financing includes:
- $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CHOICE Neighborhoods grant program
- $13.4 million in construction financing from TD Bank
- A $4.1 million commercial mortgage from Berkadia Commercial Mortgage
Rents will range from $824 for a one-bedroom apartment to $994 for a two-bedroom and $1,234 for a three-bedroom, according to a news release. All 72 units will receive rental subsidies under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Project-Based Vouchers Program.
Residents were relocated by HACC and can opt to return to the new townhomes once completed. In December, the first phase of the redevelopment, financed in part by HMFA, opened with 50 affordable one- to two-bedroom rental apartments.
The nonprofit organization Better Tomorrows will coordinate supportive services for the residents of the five set aside apartments.