New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds

For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2014
Lisa Ryan
Sean L. Conner
Third Phase of Woodrow Wilson Commons in Long Branch, Monmouth County Helped by CDBG Disaster Recovery Funds

LONG BRANCH, NJ – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) today announced two milestones of Woodrow Wilson Commons, a three-phase, 173-unit affordable housing development in Long Branch, Monmouth County. The HMFA marked the grand opening of the first and second phases of the project, as well as the groundbreaking of the third phase, which was awarded federal Sandy Recovery funds.

The HMFA, an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to all three phases of Woodrow Wilson Commons, providing close to 88% of the total funding for the development. Additionally, the affordable housing project’s’ third phase has received HMFA financing and $3.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing (FRM), which provides for-profit and non-profit housing developers an opportunity to secure zero-interest and low-interest loans to finance the development of affordable housing in the nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“We are extremely pleased to help support Woodrow Wilson Commons, which will provide affordable housing opportunities for working families, including those with special needs,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “The project will help replenish the stock of affordable rental housing lost to Sandy so that storm-impacted households, especially those of limited financial means, can return to live in or nearby their home communities. It will also help Long Branch, which itself was significantly impacted by Sandy with more than 1,000 homes that sustained major or severe storm-related damage.”

Woodrow Wilson Commons’ first and second phases consist of 122 apartments and a 2,500-square-foot community building. The third phase will include 51 housing units, ten of which will be set aside for individuals with physically disabilities, as well as families that have experienced homelessness. Once completed, the development will include a total of 51 residential buildings situated on nearly 14 acres. The units will include a variety of amenities, including central air conditioning, electric ranges, and Energy Star appliances.

The third phase of Woodrow Wilson Commons is the first 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit project that was a recipient of CDBG Disaster Recovery funding to break ground. This phase will feature a mix of ten one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units and 18 three-bedroom units. Ninety percent of the units will be available to families and individuals at or below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). During the first three months of lease-up, priority will be given to individuals who registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance or who rented an apartment or owned a primary residence that was no longer habitable because of Sandy damage.

“Woodrow Wilson Commons is a transformational project that will deliver significant social benefits and new investment to Long Branch. It will provide vital housing opportunities to working households struggling to make ends meet as well as families affected by the storm,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. "Additionally, the Low Income Housing Tax Credits program, which helped finance this project, is the nation’s most successful mechanism for the production of affordable housing that creates jobs and ratables for our cities and municipalities.”

“These milestones are the result of our four-year effort to help revitalize this section of Long Branch, thanks to the help of many dedicated community, state and federal leaders, and Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funds,” said Tim Henkel, senior vice president of Pennrose Properties. “We’re thrilled to provide beautiful, new energy-efficient homes to his hard-working community that has suffered such hardship in the last few years.”

Collectively the total development cost for Woodrow Wilson Commons is approximated to be $45.6 million. It will not only provide high-quality affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey families, but will also have a positive economic impact on greater Monmouth County. HMFA estimates that Woodrow Wilson Commons will generate approximately $72.3 million in one-time economic output and create approximately 433 full-time jobs and $2.6 million in state and local taxes. Once completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $8 million in ongoing economic output, 46 full-time jobs annually, and approximately $456,000 in state and local taxes. Other funding sources for the development of Woodrow Wilson Commons included the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Wells Fargo Bank, Red Stone Equity Partners, JP Morgan Chase Bank, and Bank of America.

The redevelopment of the Woodrow Wilson site is the result of efforts by Pennrose Properties, LLC and Maestro Community Development Corporation, the non-profit instrumentality of the Long Branch Housing Authority. Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennrose Properties, LLC, is a leading developer of multifamily and affordable housing. Pennrose has developed more than 12,000 housing units in over 180 communities across 10 states.

For more information on HMFA programs, including the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or (609) 278-7400, or visit

Christie Administration Marks Groundbreaking of Affordable Housing Project Assisted with Federal Sandy Recovery Funds
High Res Photo

Front row (left to right):  Dr. Mary Jane Celli, Long Branch City Council; Anthony Marchetta, Executive Director for NJMFA; Tyrone Garrett, Executive Director LBHA; Sonia Burgos, Director, Office of Public Housing, Newark Field Office.
Back row (left to right):  Micheal Winnick, LBHA Commissioner; Donald Covin, LBHA Commissioner; Carl Jennings, Chairman, LBHA Board of Commissioners; Timothy Henkel, Sr. Vice President, Pennrose Properties, LLC; John Pallone, Long Branch City Council; Jacob Fisher, Sr. Developer, Pennrose Properties, LLC.