Middlesex County officials were joined by representatives from Pennrose, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) and others to break ground on The Residence at Roosevelt Park, an 84-unit affordable senior housing complex overlooking the County’s beautiful Roosevelt Park.
Once complete, the project will restore the historic Roosevelt Hospital. Residents age 62 and over will enjoy modern amenities within the one- and two-bedroom apartments, while living within an historically significant building.
Middlesex County and Pennrose are developing the project jointly.
“Today we begin a new chapter in the life story of this grand building and in Middlesex County’s commitment to caring for our residents,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “This majestic building will help us welcome seniors into homes they can afford. It will help us help our veterans, who will have preferred status for 25 percent of the units. And it is one more project that will help the Board of Chosen Freeholders meet its goal to end homelessness in the County, as units will be set aside for homeless individuals and couples.”
“Middlesex County has demonstrated tremendous foresight in re-purposing this beautiful historic structure,” said Jacob Fisher, senior developer, Pennrose Properties, LLC. “The revitalization will provide quality affordable housing to seniors and veterans in a desirable location.”
The revitalization will include one- and two-bedroom units. Six apartments will serve individuals with physical disabilities, and five will be reserved for homeless households. A full menu of supportive services will be provided to all residents.
“As we all know, housing costs represent a significant portion of our disposable income,” said Freeholder Blaquita B. Valenti, Chairperson of the Community Services Committee. “For older adults, most of whom are living on a fixed income smaller than what they had when they were working, this percentage can become overwhelming – causing them to give up or skimp on other necessities in order to pay their housing costs. The affordable rents at The Residence at Roosevelt Park will help older adults to avoid having to make the difficult choice between paying their rent and having other essentials– such as health care, prescription drugs and food.
The HMFA, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), awarded the project the extremely competitive 9% federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits which will generate nearly $14 million in private equity. Total development cost for the project is approximately $24.9 million.
“Built during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal, Roosevelt Hospital opened its doors in March 1937 and provided health services to Middlesex County residents for decades,” said DCA Commissioner Charles A. Richman, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “This historic red brick Colonial Revival style structure remains architecturally significant and, when renovations to the original building are complete, seniors will be able to enjoy all the modern conveniences and lifestyle advantages that come with a professionally managed community.”
Roosevelt Hospital was originally built as part of the New Deal through the Federal Public Works Administration, which enabled architecturally significant and structurally enduring construction.
In recent years, the facility became obsolete. Other skilled nursing facilities were built within the county, and all residents of Roosevelt Hospital, were relocated to these facilities.
The modern units will be equipped with Energy Star appliances, carpeted bedrooms, tiled bathrooms, cable/internet hookups, and air conditioning. The revitalized facility will also include an on-site management office, community room, fitness room, common laundry rooms, a resident site superintendent, security cameras and card/FOB entry systems, an outdoor patio and resident gardening area.
“I am so very proud that we are able to support our veterans,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “And that all the residents of this restored, historic building will be able to enjoy the most modern of amenities, easy access to premier shopping and restaurants, as well as a beautiful view of Roosevelt Park.”
Anthony L. Marchetta, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), said: “We are especially pleased to be involved in the renovation and adaptive re-use of such a historically significant and architecturally prominent building with a rich legacy of community service. To be able to revitalize and repurpose this magnificent landmark to serve today’s seniors, almost 80 years after it was built to provide medical treatment for those in need, helps us to advance the HMFA mission to making quality housing available at costs affordable to New Jersey residents.”
Pennrose will provide on-site management and professional maintenance, as well as a Supportive Services Coordinator who will work with the residents of the five special needs units. Follow up supportive service coordination/case management, linkages to mainstream resources including entitlement programs, and with healthcare and treatment programs will be provided on-site and in the community on an as-needed basis. For the special needs units, the homeless will be provided with resources and referrals to case management, health management, counseling, and financial literacy/budgeting advice.
Situated on 11 acres adjacent to what is now Menlo Park Mall and Roosevelt Park, the Residence at Roosevelt is near several senior healthcare facilities, public transportation, major roadways such as the Garden State Parkway, Route 1 and Interstate 287.
The approximately $24.9 million development cost of this community provides affordable housing opportunities for seniors, but will continue to have a positive economic impact on the Middlesex County locale. HMFA estimates that the Residence at Roosevelt Park will generate approximately $39.5 million in one-time economic output, defined as the total value of industry production, such as sales and business revenues. During construction, the project will support 237 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs. When completed, the project will continue to add value to the community by providing more than $4.4 million in ongoing economic output and 25 direct and indirect/induced full-time equivalent jobs.