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Housing System with Innovative Approaches to Increase Affordability, Create Homeownership Opportunities, and Add Critical On-site Services for Neediest Residents

Housing System with Innovative Approaches to Increase Affordability, Create Homeownership Opportunities, and Add Critical On-site Services for Neediest Residents

50% Affordable Housing Project Coming to Downtown Jersey City: 192 Affordable Public Housing Units Preserved 1:1, Additional 74 Senior Affordable Housing Units, Brand New Public Library & On-site Services, 1,000 Jobs Created with M/WBE Focus

Jersey City, NJ (February 2, 2023) – WinnCompanies, and Mayor Steven M. Fulop joins the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) to announce the unprecedented vision to revitalize the Holland Gardens public housing complex with 50% affordable housing to be built on-site in the flourishing downtown area of Jersey City.

The announcement follows last night’s unanimous vote by the JCHA Board of Commissioners to select WinnDevelopment to carry out Jersey City’s ambitious plan for the redevelopment of the 80-year-old public housing complex, using input from Holland Gardens residents throughout the entire process.

The winning proposal expands the already ambitious plans to redevelop Holland Gardens into a model mixed-income, mixed-finance, and mixed-use community that not only preserves all 192 existing public housing units with a right of return for current residents, but also expands affordability by adding 74 new affordable units for seniors, 309 market-rate units, and 56 two-bedroom condos - half of which will be affordable for families earning between 60% and 120% AMI. In addition to the added on-site resident services, a brand new public library will be built to serve the entire surrounding community.

“As housing affordability and public housing shortages reach crisis levels across the nation, in Jersey City, we are punching above our weight once again to increase affordability and provide pivotal, life-changing opportunities to help our residents achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency,” said Mayor Fulop. “Nearly half of the new units will be affordable housing with the addition of on-site services that are designed to fit the needs of our underserved residents who traditionally have limited accessibility. This redevelopment project is all-encompassing, and it serves as the standard bearer for what innovative public housing initiatives can accomplish.”

The revitalization project will add a 14,000-square-foot community building with a brand new Jersey City Free Public Library branch inside. It will also house offices for the JCHA’s Resident Empowerment and Community Engagement (RECE) Department, which partners with dozens of community organizations to connect residents with resources and programming, including afterschool programs, workforce development, senior services, and a digital inclusion program that has garnered national recognition.

In addition, the redevelopment project will create approximately 1,000 jobs, with prioritization for local hiring and minority- and women-owned businesses.

Every unit will be built equally in terms of the design and finishes to ensure residents of all income levels can equally experience high quality, equitable living with amenities such as in-unit dishwashers, and washer and dryer units.

The plan, which includes green energy and sustainable building practices, will also transform the surrounding neighborhood by reconnecting 15th street, creating a vibrant pedestrian plaza to foster community by adding amenities for all residents and the surrounding neighborhood.

“The JCHA’s mission encompasses serving not just our current residents, but low- and extremely-low income residents throughout Jersey City. This groundbreaking project not only provides 1:1 replacement of all public housing at the site, but also significantly expands affordability, opportunity, and resource accessibility for residents citywide,” commended State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who has served as Chairman of the Jersey City Housing Authority for 15 years.

The four buildings approved under the updated Holland Gardens Revitalization Plan include the following:

  • Senior Building
  • •74 affordable units set aside for seniors on fixed incomes

  • For Sale Condominium Building
  • •56 homeownership units, half of which will be affordable

  • Retail and Community Building
  • •14,000 square foot community space
    •12,000 square foot public library branch, including media center
    •2,000 square foot office for JCHA’s Resident Empowerment and Community Engagement Department

  • North Residential Tower
  • •192 public housing units and 309 market-rate units

This groundbreaking redevelopment project comes just three months after Mayor Fulop announced the acquisition of the Webb Apartments to convert the 40-unit Bergen-Lafayette building on MLK Drive to 100% affordable JCHA units. The Fulop Administration’s strict rent control laws, vacancy decontrol, strong databases of affordable units, and critical inclusionary zoning laws are all part of the Fulop Administration’s broader solution to ensure affordability and quality of life for all residents, regardless of income.

Originally built in 1944, all five existing low-rise Holland Gardens buildings will be demolished and redeveloped. Current Holland Gardens residents will be provided with relocation services during construction, with a right to return once the new buildings are habitable.

The JCHA directly involved Holland Gardens residents throughout the entire revitalization process. Beginning in 2019, the JCHA sponsored a six-month charrette process with Holland Gardens residents to develop the Holland Vision that will be realized through this plan, held ongoing community meetings to provide information, and, for the first time, included a resident to serve as a voting member of the JCHA Evaluation Committee.

“This is the first time a resident has been part of the procurement process, and we as residents worked hand-in-hand with the Housing Authority,” added Holland Gardens Resident Bernadine Taylor, who serves as a resident representative and voting member on the JCHA’s Evaluation Committee. “In this plan, they made sure to fit our needs as residents, specifically for the seniors. When they gave us a choice to live in the new senior building or stay in the parcels that was a big plus to me.”

The $500 million project will provide approximately $28 million in ground lease payments to the JCHA over the next 30 years. Resident services payments to the JCHA totaling $10 million will support the work of its RECE Department. PILOT payments totaling $61 million over the next 30 years, including $20M in Redevelopment Area Bond (RAB) repayment and $10M in RAB interest, will circulate back into the community to strengthen and expand Jersey City’s affordable housing stock and critical services to help residents in need.

“WinnCompanies is honored to be selected to bring the re-imagined Holland Gardens to life,” said WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn. “We look forward to partnering with the tenants, the Housing Authority, and the City to develop a mixed-income and mixed-use community that will foster economic opportunity and connection to resident services, and be a beautiful place to call home.”

“By working closely Holland Gardens residents, listening to their concerns and their dreams, the JCHA co-created a transformative vision with them to attract public-private investment that not only benefits public housing residents who will return to a new, revitalized home, but also enriches the surrounding neighborhood,” said JCHA Executive Director Vivian Brady-Phillips. “We believe this project will improve opportunities for residents who have made Holland Gardens their home and for generations to come.”

The revitalization of Holland Gardens is Vivian Brady-Phillips’ last major initiative as JCHA’s Executive Director before she departs to join the World Economic Forum as its new Head of Strategic Initiatives for Urban Transformation, where she will focus on supporting innovation in cities across the globe. Ms. Brady-Phillips has led the JCHA since 2018, after serving more than four years in the Fulop Administration as Deputy Mayor. She will leave behind an enduring legacy of progress to the betterment of Jersey City, especially the thousands of residents JCHA serves through expanded housing resources and innovative community programming under her thoughtful leadership.

Kimberly Scalcione

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