On December 9, 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the approval of support for the purchase and renovation of Hamilton Square, a 68-unit mill-style, two-building apartment community located in the Great Falls Historic District of Paterson, New Jersey.
The NJEDA Board approved Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) tax credits for co-applicants Hamilton Square Urban Renewal LLC and Soldier On Veterans Village VII, LLC (SOVV). The entities intend to purchase and renovate the property, which consists of a three-story brick historic building built in 1814 and a four-story brick building built in 1997.
“The decision by Governor Phil Murphy and the Legislature to extend the ERG program is enabling projects that will help communities and residents hit hardest by the pandemic recover while programs created by the ERA take shape,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “This project upholds several of the policy goals established under the ERA, particularly those that uplift our most vulnerable citizens by providing affordable and accessible housing options for veterans, and those with disabilities.”
The project, located at 20 & 21 Mill Street, is comprised of a mix of seven one-bedroom units, 54 two-bedroom units, and seven three-bedroom units, and parking spaces for tenants. Seven units within the property will be converted to full Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance as part of the planned rehabilitation. Fifty units (71 percent) are currently occupied.
SOVV is a subsidiary of Soldier On Inc., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit committed to ending veteran homelessness. Soldier On was organized in 1994 to provide a continuum of programs to ensure that homeless veterans and their families have access to immediate and long-term housing with an array of support services delivered to them where they live. Soldier On will provide veteran referrals and supportive services to the veteran population at Hamilton Square, including securing affordable housing units, when available.
“Reaching the homeless Veteran population is an enormously difficult task, but a crucial one,” said NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Brig. Gen. Lisa J. Hou, D.O. “Our dedicated Veterans Service Officers and the two existing state-run Veterans Havens do incredible work every day toward the goal of ensuring all New Jersey Veterans can access the benefits they have earned. The tremendous efforts of Governor Murphy, the Legislature, the NJEDA, private and public organizations together, affirm steadfast support for those who have served and sacrificed for our great state and nation.”
To support more projects like the Hamilton Square development, Governor Murphy committed an additional $125 million to the Residential ERG program through the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), a comprehensive package of economic development legislation to address the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy. This new commitment of funding is enabling projects that are ready to move forward now to advance while new ERA programs are under development.
The ground floor of 21 Mill Street has eight commercial spaces with a commercial parking lot that are not part of the Project. The land and buildings will be broken into two parcels with the applicants solely purchasing the residential portion and the commercial component remaining with the current owner.
Estimated renovation costs are $5.9 million and will include completely renovated kitchens and bathrooms, updated aluminum windows, new doors, and high-grade vinyl floor or hardwood floors.
Additionally, the project will include common area and exterior renovations such as: conversion of the 1,500-square-foot vacant commercial space at 20 Mill Street into a community room, creation of a small fitness center, repairs to the elevators, installation of a new security system with cameras, and execution of other repairs and upgrades to common areas, including the parking lot and fencing.
The applicants are eligible for a base award of 20 percent of eligible project costs, plus an additional 20 percent (for a total of 40 percent) since the property is located in a Garden State Growth Zone. The project was approved for tax credits of 37.57 percent of eligible project costs of $16.8 million, not to exceed $6.3 million.
The application for the residential ERG program reopened on June 1, 2021 and is administered based on pre-existing ERG regulations and statutes, as amended by the ERA, which added new prevailing wage and minimum wage requirements.
Photo courtesy of Hamilton Square Urban Renewal LLC.