The Woodbridge Housing Authority, Ingerman Development Company, LLC and BCM Affordable Housing joined forces to redevelop Woodbridge Gardens – an existing, outdated 150-unit public housing complex – into a three-phase, 202-unit $56.7 million affordable community for families. The Woodbridge Housing Authority was notified by HUD on April 1, 2015 that they were the recipient of a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) award for the redevelopment of Woodbridge Gardens. To further offset the Town’s COAH obligation, we added an additional 52 affordable units to the site, bringing the total number tax credit unit count to 202. Woodbridge Gardens is a long, rectangular, approximately 11 acre site situated along Bunns Lane in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. To phase this project, the rectangle was divided into three parts: Phase I, 82 affordable LIHTC units and the community building/management offices located at the northern portion of the property. Phase II consisted of 60 units and is located at the southern end of the site, while Phase III, also consisting of 60 residential units, is located at the middle of the site to accommodate the most efficient prosecution of the utility disconnections at the site.
This project was particularly difficult because we had to redevelop the new buildings on a tight site, work around an existing resident population that could not be relocated until the new units were completed, contend with contaminated, excess soil conditions and staged utility disconnections. Additionally, each phase of the project had to be financed with its own tax credit application/award which necessitated the management of three separate and unique tax credit application cycles.
Construction of the project begin in the first quarter of 2016 and is scheduled to be completed toward the end of 2021. Financing for this project was provided through a combination of equity from the syndication of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, transferred reserves from the Woodbridge Housing Authority, an Affordable Housing Trust Fund contribution from the Woodbridge Affordable Housing Corporation, HOME funds from Middlesex County and a permanent mortgage from the NJHMFA.
Incomes of the residents were restricted to those who earned no more than 60% of the Middlesex County median. As noted above, 150 units will be tied to a RAD subsidy, ensuring deep affordability for low- and very-low income households. The current availability in Woodbridge for affordable family housing is very limited. The existing housing stock consists mainly of well-maintained single-family homes along with some market rate apartment buildings none of which provide the degree of affordability that the proposed project will provide to our residents. Additionally, there are very few opportunities in Woodbridge for additional new residential construction in that there is very little undeveloped property.
The existing structures sit on approximately 11 acres of land. The housing stock is old, obsolete and poorly maintained and thus is being demolished. The reputation for Woodbridge Gardens is one of “the Project” and that is where the “poor people” live. The goal of the new development is to transform this reputation by providing the residents with new energy-efficient buildings that are architecturally pleasing and will all front on a street. Ample parking will be provided (a ratio of 1.5 spaces/unit) which are situated very close to the residences. The roofing material consist of three-dimensional asphalt shingles. The interiors feature wooden base board, mini-blinds, oversized windows, masonite six panel doors, vinyl composite tile in the kitchen and foyer, ceramic tile baths, hardwood floors in the living rooms and wall-to-wall carpeting throughout the remainder, air conditioning and gas fired HVAC systems, washer and dryers and grab bars. Kitchen amenities will include a full appliance package including a dishwasher, microwave oven and a garbage disposal.
A short distance from the site is the Woodbridge shopping district which features physician’s offices, houses of worship, an abundance of shopping and dining opportunities. The site is serviced by a New Jersey Transit bus service which is less than ¼ mile from the site and train service that is approximately ½ mile from the site. A short drive from the site is the expansive Woodbridge Mall. Finally the building are one mile from the intersection of the Garden State Parkway and the NJ Turnpike.
The community also offers the residents a complete social service package. The social services will include a part time case manager who is be responsible for instituting linkages with area service providers, including mental health counseling, substance abuse programs and counseling, transportation, legal advocacy and host of medical services provided through local providers. All of these services are being provided within the social services suite, or in the resident’s apartment, whichever is more appropriate.