FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 22, 2015

Christie Administration Breaks Ground on 32-Unit Affordable Condominium Community in Orange


Hat City Lofts to Provide Affordable Homeownership Opportunities on Former Hat Factory Site 

Orange, NJ – New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta recently joined local officials, community leaders, and representatives of HANDS, Inc. to break ground on Hat City Lofts, a 32-unit affordable housing community located in the City of Orange, Essex County. The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is providing a total of approximately $4.3 million in financing for the project through a construction loan and its Choices in Home Ownership Incentives Created for Everyone (CHOICE) program.

“Hat City Lofts is part of a 15-block area that is rapidly becoming a regional hub for art, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation along the Orange/West Orange border in Essex County,” said DCA Acting Commissioner Charles Richman. “We are supportive of these kinds of projects, which have a positive impact on the entire community through the creation of affordable housing and sustainable redevelopment.”

Hat City Lofts is a rehabilitation and conversion of two vacant industrial buildings of the former F. Berg Hat Factory into 32 loft condominium and commercial art space. Once completed, Hat City Lofts will consist of one substantially rehabilitated four-story building with 17 one- to three-bedroom condominiums, and one substantially rehabilitated, seven-story building with 15 two-bedroom condominiums. All 32 condominiums will be emerging market homeownership units priced between $144,600 and $255,539. The development is located adjacent to the New Jersey Transit rail lines, and a few blocks from the Highland Avenue Station.

The HMFA approved a construction loan of approximately $2.7 million for the project. The Agency also approved a CHOICE subsidy allocation in an amount not to exceed $1.6 million. The CHOICE program provides subsidy and construction financing for the development of single-family, for-sale housing units that meet the diverse economic development needs of New Jersey’s towns and cities.

HMFA estimates that Hat City Lofts, which will cost approximately $8.2 million to develop, will generate approximately $13 million in one-time economic output and create approximately 78 direct and indirect/induced full-time jobs and $476,000 in state and local taxes during construction. Once completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $1.4 million in ongoing economic output, approximately 8 direct and indirect/induced full-time jobs annually, and approximately $82,000 in state and local taxes. Other funding for Hat City Lofts came from DCA’s Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) Program, participating lender, and developer’s equity.

“The HMFA is dedicated to increasing the availability and accessibility of safe, decent and affordable housing to families in New Jersey and this development does just that,” said HMFA Executive Director Marchetta. “Hat City Lofts will encourage homeownership in Orange and help transform a post-industrial urban area into a vibrant place for folks to live, work, and raise a family.”

The developer of this project is HANDS, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the stability and vitality of residential neighborhoods in and around Orange, NJ, for families and community life through the high-impact development of vacant, troubled properties.

For more information on HMFA programs, including the CHOICE, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or (609) 278-7400, or visit

Tammori Petty or
Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055