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July.30.19

WinnCompanies Completes $34 Million Preservation and Rehabilitation of 156 Affordable Housing units in New Jersey

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Federal, state and local leaders laud $13.3 million rehabilitation at Ivy Square Apartments
BRIDGETON, NJ (July 30, 2019) – WinnCompanies, an award-winning multifamily development and management company, today announced the completion of $34-million project to preserve and rehabilitate a 156-unit affordable housing community in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Overseen by WinnDevelopment Senior Vice President Brett Meringoff, the project featured an acquisition and rehabilitation that preserved the community’s affordability for 30 years and completely modernized the apartments and exterior of community, improved energy efficiency and expanded the supportive services available to residents.

The two-phase, $13.3 renovation project included complete kitchen and bathroom upgrades to every apartment; new roofs on all eight residential buildings; new HVAC systems; the construction of a community building that includes a fitness room, a community room and management offices; new facades, exterior paint and entry ways for all buildings; improved landscaping; repairs to parking lots and sidewalks; a security camera network; and, a new playground. Formerly known as Bridgeton Villas, the community has been renamed Ivy Square Apartments to mark the improvements.

“When we acquired this site in early 2017, we promised to maintain this housing’s affordability for at least three more decades and to significantly improve the quality of life for the families who live here,” Meringoff said. “Today, we can say we have kept this promise, transforming the property into Ivy Square Apartments – high quality, modern apartment housing with a multitude of supportive services and a brand new community building. This once-neglected property is now a source of pride for residents and an asset to the community.”

In conjunction with the physical rehabilitation, five of the units at Ivy Square were made handicapped accessible and 10 units have been set aside as special needs housing for homeless individuals and families. WinnResidential, the property management arm of WinnCompanies, is partnering with Gateway Community Action Partnership (Gateway CAP) to deliver supportive services for residents of these units.

“Over 150 affordable housing units will offer energy efficient apartments with expanded services. This is the gold standard for affordable housing in New Jersey,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “The new housing opportunities address the real-life needs of working families in Bridgeton and will improve the quality of life for countless individuals in the years to come. I am deeply encouraged by the partnership between WinnCompanies and Gateway Community Action, and hope to see many more of these types of projects and partnerships around our state in the future.”

An innovative plan created by WinnDevelopment helped finance the project. In Phase 1, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) issued 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which generated $6.4 million of equity from AEGON; provided $1 million from the NJHMFA Special Needs Housing Trust; and issued construction and permanent tax exempt bond financing that was directly purchased by Citi. Citi provided subordinate loan from its Multifamily Catalyst loan program, a highly competitive one-time funding source to spur the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing.

“As Bridgeton’s mayor, I’m all about quality of life and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than WinnDevelopment in transforming the Villas into Ivy Square Apartments,” said Mayor Albert B. Kelly. “Beyond brick and mortar, this investment is an investment in the quality of life for our families. This is what makes the WinnDevelopment team special. I am also grateful to Senator Sweeney whose leadership and advocacy on behalf of Bridgeton was critical in bringing this and many other projects to completion.”

Phase 2 funding sources included NJHMFA long term taxable bond permanent financing; a tax credit equity investment from AEGON for the NJHMFA-awarded 9% LIHTC, and a construction loan and subordinate mortgage proceeds from Citi. The City of Bridgeton provided two long-term real estate tax abatements, one for each respective phase. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supported the project through Project-Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Program Contracts for 154 of the 156 units. WinnDevelopment contributed deferred development fees, capital and net operating income.

“The revitalization of Bridgeton Villas will set the stage for hundreds of families to thrive in a great community they are proud to call home,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator in New York and New Jersey.  “HUD Section 8 rental subsidies secure financial stability for low-income residents; and a 10-unit set aside for homeless families will finally provide critical housing for these truly deserving New Jerseyans.”

The project had a substantial local impact, creating 178 jobs. Of the new hires for this project, 51.9% were filled by local Bridgeton residents.  In addition, of the over 64,000 labor hours committed to this project, 53% were completed by minorities and 11% by women.  

“This redevelopment preserves housing that is affordable to working families in the community and is a true public-private partnership,” said New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “These renovations have significantly upgraded these apartments. Providing safe and stable housing opportunities helps promote a healthier standard of living and quality of life, and enhances the surrounding neighborhood. This apartment community also represents NJHMFA’s continued commitment to provide supportive housing for residents who need it.”   

Constructed between 1966 and 1969, the property features 28 one-bedroom, 92 two-bedroom, and 36 three-bedroom unit.

“Gateway CAP has a long history of partnering on developments that improve the quality of life and promote self-sufficiency. Ivy Square Apartments helps us achieve both goals. We assisted by making the units energy efficient and we will work with the tenants to create steps towards self-sufficiency and homeownership,” said Edward Bethea, Chief Operating Officer, Gateway CAP.

Designed to meet the Enterprise Green Communities standard, the project also significantly improved the community’s environmental sustainability. All attics received air sealing and insulation. High efficacy, low wattage LED lighting was installed in apartments and common areas. ENERGY STAR appliances, low-flow WaterSense plumbing fixtures, low-VOC finishes, ENERGYSTAR exhaust fans, and high efficiency heating and hot water systems were installed in all apartments and the community building. Weatherization assistance and oversight was provided by Gateway CAP. MaGrann Associates performed HERS (Home Energy Rating System) inspections and performance testing upon completion of the development to certify the energy efficiency of the rehabilitation efforts.

“We were delighted to participate with financing from acquisition through the permanent loan for the renovation and preservation of Ivy Square Apartments,” said Bryan Dickson of Citi Community Capital. “Now there are 156 beautiful homes reserved for an additional 30 years with affordable rents for residents with low to moderate incomes in Bridgeton.”

DiMarco Constructors of Rochester, NY, served as the general contractor and The Architectural Team of Chelsea, MA, served as architect for the project.

Ivy Square is managed by WinnResidential, the nation’s largest operator of affordable housing, which manages 2,310 apartments and 19,500 square feet of commercial space at 17 multifamily properties in New Jersey.

Ivy Square is one of three affordable housing communities owned by WinnCompanies in New Jersey. City Crossing, a 131-unit scattered site property in Jersey City, underwent an occupied rehabilitation that won a 2017 Green Building Award from the New Jersey Apartment Association. In May, the company acquired 153 units at the Sencit Liberty properties in Atlantic City, NJ, as the first step toward a planned rehabilitation project to be unveiled later this year.

Since July 2014, WinnCompanies has overseen the completion of more than 17 occupied rehabilitation projects – totaling approximately 3,000 units – at its owned properties in six states and the District of Columbia, with total development costs of $335 million. The company currently has more than 500 units under rehabilitation in five states, with an additional 1,000 units set to undergo upgrades through 2020.

WinnDevelopment Senior Vice President Brett Meringoff cuts the celebratory ribbon, surrounded by Citi Community Capital Executive Director Bryan Dickson, Bridgeton Mayor Albert B. Kelly, Gateway CAP COO Edward Bethea, Senate President Steve Sweeney, NJHMFA Executive Director Charles Richman, WinnDevelopment Senior Project Director David Ginsberg, WinnDevelopment President and Managing Partner Larry Curtis and local elected officials

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