New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

DCA & HMFA Break Ground, Announce Opening of Affordable Housing Projects in Franklin Township

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2009
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055

Two Projects to Provide 160 Units of Afordable Housing

FRANKLIN TWP., N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Marge Della Vecchia today joined local officials to break ground on Franklin Boulevard Commons, a 66-unit affordable housing building at 721 Franklin Boulevard, and commemorate the upcoming opening of Berry Street Commons, a 94-unit affordable housing complex at 42-44 Berry Street. Both projects are the first two phases of a large multi-stage housing development in the Churchill-Millstone redevelopment area of Franklin Township, Somerset County. The DCA and HMFA are providing an estimated combined total of $12.23 million in support from various resources for the projects.

"Berry Street and Franklin Boulevard Commons will create high-quality affordable housing close to public transportation and jobs in a developing area of Somerset County for those New Jersey residents who need it," said Acting Commissioner Richman. "The DCA and HMFA are proud to be involved in projects such as these because they advance Governor Corzine's laudable goal of making affordable housing a reality for more and more families."

Berry Street Commons, which is the first phase of the housing project, features two newly constructed four-story buildings containing a total of 94 apartments. Both buildings have a combined 6 one-bedroom, 59 two-bedroom, and 29 three-bedroom apartments. Berry Street Commons is projected to be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-certified affordable housing project in New Jersey because of its energy-efficient design, which uses sustainable construction materials in accordance with the EPA Energy-Star Program requirements. The Berry Street apartments are affordable to residents earning less than 60 percent of area median income and are located near hospitals, Rutgers University, and other facilities in New Brunswick.

HMFA is providing permanent loan financing in the estimated amount of $3.3 million and the DCA has awarded $6 million to Berry Street Commons through its Balanced Housing Program. Funding for the project is also coming from federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank, and Franklin Township, which donated a portion of the land.

"The critical need for more affordable housing for low and moderate residents was clearly demonstrated with the receipt of over 900 applications for the 94 apartment units at Berry Street Commons," said Richard E. Barber, Sr., Chairman of the Franklin Township Redevelopment Agency. "We will now move forward to start the construction of the Franklin Boulevard Commons."

Franklin Boulevard Commons, which is the project’s second phase, will consist of one four-story building containing a total of 66 apartments as well as 21,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The new building will be family housing and will have a combined 3 one-bedroom, 42 two-bedroom and 23 three-bedroom apartments. The units will be affordable to residents earning 60 percent or less of area median income.

HMFA has provided a mortgage commitment of approximately $2.9 million in permanent financing. The project will also receive funding from LIHTC, the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank, and the Franklin Township Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

"HMFA understands that housing has to be developed within a community context. In order for affordable housing to work, it has to contribute to the health, safety and vibrancy of the community at large," said HMFA Executive Director Marge Della Vecchia. "These projects meet that standard."

The 160 units will help Franklin Township meet its affordable housing obligation under the township’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) plan. The project will also help transform underutilized sites along Franklin Boulevard into a mixed-use, mixed-income downtown district.

"I am happy and proud to be working with the state in partnership with private business and the community to bring affordable housing to future Franklin residents," said Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine.

RPM Development LLC, the project developer, has developed approximately 2,000 affordable housing units in New Jersey. The company has received wide recognition for its efforts to assist in the revitalization of inner cities by renovating old, vacant and historic properties and developing abandoned vacant parcels in many communities in New Jersey.

"These two affordable housing projects represent not just an expansion of affordable housing options in the Franklin redevelopment area, but are also environmentally-sustainable and will serve as an asset to the surrounding community," said RPM President Ed Martoglio.

For more information on HMFA programs, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or 609-278-7400, or log on to