FLORENCE, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner, Charles A. Richman, joined elected state and local officials and community leaders for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Duffy School Apartments, a 53-unit senior apartment community in Township of Florence, Burlington County. The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) that has generated approximately $10.1 million in private equity.
"The Duffy School Apartments project preserves one of the city’s most important historic buildings," said DCA Commissioner Charles A. Richman, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. "Projects like this help meet the high demands for senior affordable rentals in New Jersey while revitalizing key sections with minimal impact to the surrounding environment and open space."
The redevelopment involved the adaptive re-use of a historic school building, originally built in the late 19th century, into 35 affordable housing units, and the new construction of an additional building that contains 18 units. All units are either handicap accessible or handicap adaptable. Building amenities include a community room in what was the former school auditorium, fitness center, library, craft room, entertainment facility, and office space for the community manager in the existing historic school building.
One hundred percent of the project units are affordable to seniors, with seven units available to households with incomes at or below 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Five of these units are reserved for homeless seniors. Of the remaining units, 25 units are at or below 50% AMI, and 21 units at or below 60% AMI. Services for the homeless population are being provided by Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Services of the Diocese of Trenton, which provides for basic needs like food, clothing, drug services, mental health and legal support, and programs designed to help individuals become self-sufficient and independent. Moreover, a full array of social services for the general elderly population at the Duffy School Apartments are being provided by the Center for Family Services.
Annually, states are allocated Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the federal government on a per-capita basis. HMFA, as the administrator of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program in New Jersey, allocates approximately $20 million in 9% credits annually, which generates over $180 million in equity for the development of affordable housing in the state. The project developers Conifer Realty, LLC, and Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND) were awarded the very competitive 9% tax credits from the 2013 non-Sandy senior cycle. The tax credits provided more than 71% of the funding for the development of the Duffy School.
"I commend the development team for utilizing the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to get the financing they need to embark on this project, which is sure to be a community asset in Burlington County," said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta.
"It is very rewarding as a developer to see this building preserved so that it can continue to be an asset to the community for generations to come," said Sam Leone, Vice President of Development at Conifer.
The total development for this project, which cost approximately $14 million to develop, will not only provide affordable housing opportunities for New Jersey seniors, but will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Burlington County community. HMFA estimates that the project has generated approximately $22 million in one-time economic output, defined as the total value of industry production, such as sales and business revenues. During construction, the project supported approximately 133 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and approximately $1.1 million in state and local taxes. Now completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing approximately $2.5 million in ongoing economic output, 14 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs, and approximately $140,000 in state and local taxes annually.
According to Matthew Reilly, MEND President and CEO, "This project is a wonderful example of preserving our history by saving this facility and repurposing it in a manner that will serve the community. The Florence region needs affordable housing for our seniors so they can continue to comfortably live in in a high-quality apartment they can afford." Economic Impact Analysis figures were estimated using multipliers derived from a 2013 study entitled "Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s Investment in Affordable Housing," conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., a real estate and economic development consulting firm.
The Duffy School is a joint venture between Conifer and MEND, Inc. Conifer is a nationally ranked, full-service real estate company specializing in the development, construction, management and ownership of high-quality, affordable housing communities. Since its inception in 1975, Conifer has grown considerably – currently owning and managing over 14,000 multi-family units in 220+ apartment communities. MEND is a faith-based, community housing development organization that has worked tirelessly since 1969 to help meet a portion of the ever-increasing need for affordable housing in the Burlington County region of southern New Jersey.
For more information on HMFA programs, please visit www.njhousing.gov.