New Brunswick Considers Tax Relief for Senior Housing Project

A rendering of the proposed affordable housing project at 75 Neilson St.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Plans for 66 affordable housing units in a building near the city’s downtown could include tax relief for the company overseeing the project.

The New Brunswick City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance to cement the tax abatement for Hoffman Housing Urban Renewal Associates, a subsidiary of Pennrose, at its 6:30 p.m. April 5 meeting in City Hall.

The precise agreement remains under review by the city attorney’s office. But city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw said the general terms call for Pennrose to pay 5 percent of gross revenues—meaning all rents, rent subsidies and commercial gains—to New Brunswick for 30 years.

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“They are standard to abatement agreements that the city has entered into in the past,” Bradshaw told TAPinto New Brunswick.

The project received the green light this week from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Plans call for 61 one-bedroom units and five two-bedroom units to be built at 75 Neilson St., the former site of the Hoffman Pavilion housing project, which was demolished in 2010.

If the project moves forward, work on the six-story building could begin as early as next spring, Thomas Kelso, Pennrose’s attorney, has said.

In addition to the apartments, the structure would house 14 underground parking spaces, two elevators, indoor trash storage, a community room and laundry facilities on each floor. Its exterior would consist of stone, brick and paneling.

The New Brunswick Housing Authority owns the land on which the building would stand. Pennrose would manage the property with several full-time staffers, its representatives have said.

The two parties attempted to push forth a similar, albeit larger, project seven years ago. But they hit a setback when Pennrose failed to secure the necessary capital funding from the state.

Since then, a culvert that’s responsible for clearing storm water has altered the design of the proposed building.

It’s not immediately clear how much the city’s proposed tax abatement differs from any sort of financial agreement that might’ve previously been in place.

Most of the building’s residents would be selected from the housing authority’s waiting list. Some would apply for housing directly to Pennrose. All would need incomes that are considered to be low or moderate under state guidelines.

According to the proposed ordinance, the City Council found that the affordable units would “benefit the city and its residents when compared to the cost of the tax abatement.”

New Brunswick officials also determined that tax relief is “essential to the project,” which wouldn’t be feasible otherwise, according to the ordinance.

A nearby church, Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, has come out in opposition to the project due to what congregants said is its potential to worsen parking on neighborhood streets that are already tight.

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