Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Bringing New Housing Options to Newark Neighborhoods

Smart Growth Award Category: Infill Strategies for Adaptive Re-Use
Winners: City of Newark, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, RPM Development Group


Smart Growth Challenge: How can small-scale infill redevelopment projects that have been stalled by a difficult economy be reinvigorated so they meet community needs and revitalize their neighborhoods?

In the midst of large-scale downtown redevelopment and despite the recent economic downturn, small-scale infill revitalization projects can provide high-quality housing opportunities and enliven their neighborhoods. Through dedication, imagination and flexible financing arrangements, RPM Development Group has been instrumental in developing three such projects, each different and each tailored to the neighborhood and the residents it will serve. Two of the projects are complete and are fully leased. The third is expected to come online in spring 2012.

Roseville Commons, a joint infill venture between RPM and New Community Corporation, is a new-construction project in the Roseville neighborhood intended to serve low- and very low-income families and homeless veterans. It is also intended to serve as a starting point for neighborhood revitalization. It boasts 50 units, and 5,000 square feet of neighborhood commercial space to house needed services. Of the units, almost half are reserved for homeless veterans and two are set aside for blind or visually impaired tenants. RPM provides a range of social services for the residents.

The project was constructed with sustainable and reclaimed materials, and features a rooftop garden, rooftop solar panels and energy-conserving amenities. Its efforts to increase sustainability and reduce energy use and waste will allow RPM to learn how best to teach residents to take their own steps toward more sustainable lifestyles.

Studebaker Lofts restores a well-known neighborhood building in downtown Newark into a mixed-income project, intended to help bring greater income diversity to the area as well as to provide affordable housing. Located within walking distance of Newark Museum, Riverfront Stadium, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Broad Street NJTransit station and Washington and Branch Brook parks, the project has transformed a former Studebaker service center into 34 market-rate and 34 affordable units. The front façade and first two stories have been restored and three stories were added. Community and retail spaces occupy the first floor.

The city of Newark was instrumental in securing the necessary funding to enable RPM to complete the project, which was financed with a combination of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax Credit Exchange funds, a loan from the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency, Downtown Living Funds from the state Department of Community Affairs, HOME funds from the city and a construction loan from TD Bank.

Richardson Lofts, a distressed project in the heart of Newark, is the redevelopment of a former light industrial building a short walk from Newark Penn Station, the Prudential Center, City Hall and neighborhood restaurants and retail. The city played a key role in structuring RPM’s acquisition of the foreclosed property and provided the necessary funding support through property tax abatements, HOME and community development block grant funding.

When completed, the project will offer 67 residential units, 45 percent of which will be affordable. Three units will be available to veterans. The building will include a green roof, private parking and shared community spaces. RPM will seek LEED certification.

Supporting Partners: Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, New Community Corporation, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Rock Properties and TD Bank


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