ORANGE, NJ - On September 23, 2014, the Orange Housing Authority (OHA) received the 2014 Governor's Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Award for Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village, Phases I and II in Atlantic City at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The project was recognized by New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) as the leading example in housing-related redevelopment throughout the state, winning the category of Leading Housing Revitalization - Rental.
The Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village, formally known as Walter G. Alexander Public Housing Complex was originally built in the 1950's. The 140-unit site was an attraction to crime, drugs, and vandalism. It was arguably considered the most dangerous community, ultimately resulting in the physical, social and economic isolation of the site from the surrounding neighborhoods.
In 2010, the OHA was awarded tax credits and financing from the NJHMFA with a total value of $27 million dollars to assist in revitalizing the blighted area of Orange. Designed by Kitchen & Associates of Collingswood, New Jersey, the aim of the first two phases of development at the Walter G. Alexander site was to replace aging and outmoded public housing infrastructure with high-quality, affordable rental opportunities for both families and seniors. In a six-month time period, the OHA was successfully able to provide Section 8 vouchers to 140 households to relocate anywhere in the country. The OHA's goal was to develop a new structure with less density in the area and act as a catalyst toward the future redevelopment of the local Orange community.
The $31 million dollar two-phase redevelopment has transformed from a deprived housing complex for families into a beautiful new residence that brings new energy. The first phase of the project focused on the creation of 66 new affordable family rental units in one to three bedroom configurations, while the second phase provides 48 new affordable housing units devoted to seniors.
In August 2013, the Authority was awarded $7.4 million in tax credits to complete Phase III of the redevelopment. Phase III is expected to include 42-family and workforce housing as well as a 4,500 square-foot community room. Located between Parrow Street and Wilson Place, the development has come to symbolize the turnaround in the city's east ward.