PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Housing Authority of Plainfield (HAP) broke ground on a $19.3 million project Thursday to celebrate the new construction of Elmwood Square, an ambitious redevelopment plan that will bring 58 new apartments to the community. The ceremony took place in partnership with the City of Plainfield, the Premier Community Development Corporation (PCDC), the County of Union, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and The Alpert Group.
Elmwood Square will be a 58 unit townhouse design, with 43 2-bedrooms and 15 3-bedrooms, on 3.68 acres. The apartment complex will have individual entrances in a design that is very conscious of defensible space, new urbanism design, eyes on the street concepts, open space, passive recreation, and a free-standing community building which has a community room, office space, and maintenance space. There will also be supportive housing in the design, and 5 percent of the units meet 504 requirements. All first floor units are handicap adaptable. All units will have Section 8 project-based assistance.
Randall M. Wood, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Plainfield stated, “We have been dedicated to fulfilling the need for more affordable housing in our community and have been working diligently to replace the outdated Elmwood Gardens public housing project for more than seven years.” He added, “In partnership with HAP’s qualified nonprofit arm, Premier Community Development Corporation, we are making this vision a reality.”
The Housing Authority of Plainfield’s Board of Commissioners played a pivotal role in the development of the project. Their diligence and dedication over the past seven years has been fundamental to the progress of the new Elmwood Square apartment complex.
Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp commends this addition of apartments for the Plainfield community, “I want quality of life for every Plainfield resident. This development ensures that any resident regardless of income can stay in Plainfield and have affordable, decent housing. I am very appreciative of this joint effort that will have a lasting effect for low-income families in our city. Progress such as this ensures opportunity for all residents.”
The previous Elmwood Gardens, conventional low-income public housing, was an obsolete three-story public housing complex.
Because of its design obsolescence, three-story walk up, and high density, it had become a problematic apartment complex. Rehabilitation of the site would have been more than 50 percent of allowed per unit total development cost.
A total of $120,000 in site demolition costs was supported by Community Development Block Grant Funds from the County of Union.
The Housing Authority also received Section 18 approval from HUD in 2012 for the demolition of the 120-unit Elmwood Gardens public housing project. It received Section 18 clearance for the relocation of tenants, which was accomplished with capital grant funds in 2013. Two years later, the Housing Authority obtained CDBG funds and demolished the complex.
Elmwood Square Urban Renewal, LP has received a 9 percent tax credit designation from the NJHMFA to develop Elmwood Square on the site of the Elmwood Gardens location. Elmwood Square Urban Renewal, LP is an equal partnership between two limited liability companies formed by Premier Community Development Corporation and the developer, the Alpert Group.
“As a company that specializes in redeveloping sites in urban areas, we are honored to be part of this project to provide homes that will serve the community for years to come,” said Joe Alpert, President of The Alpert Group.
The project has received final site plan approval from the City of Plainfield.
For more information on Elmwood Square, visit www.hapnj.org or call 908-769-6335 ext. 600.
Photography by Brian Branch-Price/theFotoDesk: Check out more of his work.
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