Public officials joined representatives of BCM Affordable Housing and Ingerman on Friday, April 13, to mark the opening of the first phase of Jacobs Landing on Bunns Lane in Woodbridge. — Courtesy: Woodbridge Township
By Joshua Burd
Builders have delivered 84 apartments as part of a $23 million affordable housing development in Woodbridge, the first of a three-phase project that is replacing a defunct public housing complex.
Executives with the development team, BCM Affordable Housing and Ingerman, joined public officials last week to mark the opening of the community on Bunns Lane. Known as Jacobs Landing, the development is made up of seven buildings with layouts ranging from one to four bedrooms, rising in place of the aging Woodbridge Gardens complex.
At full build-out, Jacobs Landing will include 204 apartments, according to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, which helped subsidize the project.
“Today’s announcement represents yet another milestone toward achieving our goal of ensuring that Woodbridge Township residents have access to quality residential options that allow them to affordably continue to live in the Woodbridge community,” Mayor John E. McCormac said in a prepared statement, later adding: “It is important to note that no taxpayer funds have been used to construct Jacob’s Landing — the entire project is funded through federal and state grants, housing development programs and private investment.”
HMFA assisted the project by awarding 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are expected to generate $18.6 million in private equity. The agency also awarded some $17 million to the project from its Conduit Bond program, along with roughly $605,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank.
Of the 84 affordable units, 66 will receive project-based assistance under the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which will set rents at $626 to $1,377, HMFA said. Rents for the remaining units 18 units will range from $318 to $1,726.
“Jacobs Landing is a much-needed project to improve the quality of life for residents who have been living in older public housing,” said Charles A. Richman, the agency’s executive director. “The development’s complete makeover not only enhances the surrounding community, but also increases the number of affordable apartments for families in the area.”
According to local officials, funding for the project also includes transferred reserves from the Woodbridge Housing Authority and an Affordable Housing Trust Fund contribution from the Woodbridge Affordable Housing Corp.
The result is a new community that includes ample parking, apartments with modern finishes and community social services including mental health counseling, substance abuse programs and a host of medical and legal advocacy services, according to a news release. Officials also noted that Jacobs Landing is close to Woodbridge’s downtown district and to NJ Transit bus and rail service.
The second phase, which involves the demolition of 46 existing units and the new construction of 60 units, is expected to begin this summer and finish in summer 2019, HMFA said. Five units in phase two will be set aside for homeless individuals and/or families.
Construction on phase three is set to begin in 2019 and will include the development of 60 units, 38 of which are expected to be supported through the rental assistance program.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, BCM Affordable Housing President Bruce Morgan recalled meeting McCormac roughly 15 years ago when he was the township’s business administrator.
“At that time, he told me that his number one priority for redevelopment in Woodbridge was to redevelop the Bunns Lane public housing complex,” Morgan said. “Well, it has taken longer than I would have preferred to get to this day, but no one can say that we gave up on our goal.
“Today is the start of great things to come for the residents of Jacobs Landing and I could not be happier to finally see this project come to fruition.”