Officials and stakeholders gathered this week to mark the groundbreaking of Truman Square in Edison. — Courtesy: The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
By Joshua Burd
Pennrose has broken ground on the first piece of a 172-unit affordable housing development in Edison, seeking to redevelop a former U.S. Army property that dates back to World War II.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which is helping to finance the project, announced Thursday that the developer has kicked off what’s known as Truman Square at the former Camp Kilmer site. Now underway is a first phase that calls for a four-story building with 86 apartments, which will include both flats and townhome-style units ranging from one to three bedrooms, for residents earning between 20 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.
The HMFA also noted that 22 apartments will be set aside for formerly homeless residents, while an additional 25 percent of the units will provide homes for veterans and may overlap with homeless residents.
“Truman Square is a community affordable for working families that is close to jobs, education and transportation,” said Charles A. Richman, the agency’s executive director. “It is also fitting that a site once used to house soldiers will also now provide affordable homes for our veterans.”
Camp Kilmer is a former U.S. Army staging area that was responsible for the movement of troops and supplies to Europe during World War II and has since been designated a redevelopment area, the HMFA said. An existing vacant building on the site was demolished to make way for the project, which is slated to be complete by July 2020.
HMFA’s financing for the project includes 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are expected to generate $13.6 million in private equity, according to a news release. The development also received $1.21 million in Middlesex County Housing First Capital Funds, $1.28 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank and $400,000 in Middlesex County HOME Funds.
Rents for the first phase will range from $555 to $1,163 for one-bedroom apartments, from $669 to $1,398 for two-bedroom apartments and from $768 to $1,610 for three-bedroom apartments, the news release said. The HMFA added that 22 apartments for the lowest-income residents will be supported through the state’s Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Meantime, the $18.9 million development will include laundry facilities, a fitness center and covered common patio area. A planned second phase would create an additional 86 apartments, on which Pennrose hopes to begin construction later this year.
In its announcement, HMFA noted that there are some 413,000 veterans in New Jersey, citing data from the New Jersey Veterans Service Office. Middlesex County has 620 homeless persons, including adults and children representing 430 households, as of January.
Triple C Housing, an organization focused on expanding affordable housing opportunities alongside supportive services, will provide direct skill training and services to all tenants, as well as support groups including veteran-to-veteran services. Intensive case management and programs will also be available to formerly homeless individuals and families.