More than 50 years after they were built, the 62-unit John F. Kennedy (JFK) apartment complex, (located at Cedar Bridge Avenue and South Clover Street), has been renovated in partnership with the Lakewood Housing Authority (LHA) and Community Investment Strategies, Inc. (CIS), a leading N.J.-based developer of affordable housing. The renovations were made through a pilot program called RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration), a division of the U.S. Dept. of HUD.
Under the development plan, 53 of the existing apartments were substantially renovated and an additional 10 apartments were newly constructed. Additionally, one unit was set aside for a live-in super; and a clubhouse was built with activity space, a catering kitchen, and management offices.
The renovations included all new siding, roofs, doors, and windows, updated unit interiors with new kitchens and baths, repaired and replaced flooring, the addition of laundry closets with washers and dryers, and a newly installed central heating and air condition system. Four of the rehabilitated units and two new units now meet ADA accessibility.
The plan also included significant site work to add parking, and improve vehicle and pedestrian traffic patterns. New landscaping, security cameras, and the addition of a “tot lot” completed the transformation of the site, enhancing the quality of life for all residents.
During construction, CIS helped existing residents relocate; some chose to leave. Once the renovation was completed, more than 30 families returned. The remaining apartments were leased, using the Lakewood Public Housing waiting list.
Mayor Coles said, “The end result of this project is that everyone who lives in the Chambers Crescent can be proud to call it their home.”
Foglio said, “This property is a major affordable housing resource for the residents of Lakewood. Restoring and modernizing it was crucial to the vitality of the entire neighborhood.”
Mary Jo Grauso, executive director of the Lakewood Housing Authority (LHA), said, “We currently have more than a three-year wait for family housing, but we will be able to retain affordable housing for families here in Lakewood.”
In addition to the RAD program, financing for the development includes equity provided by Alden Torch from the sale of Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and NJ State Economic Recovery and Growth (ERG) Credits from the NJ Economic Development Authority, construction and permanent financing from the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency (NJHMFA) tax exempt bond program, short term taxable bonds from NJHMFA, Federal Home Loan Bank – AHP funding, seller financing from LHA, and developer equity.
Last week, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the renovation.
Picture ID (left to right)
Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer; Christiana Foglio, CEO of CIS; Brian Loeb, Community Investment Research & Outreach Specialist, FHLBNY; Anthony Marchetta, Exec. Dir. of NJHMFA (N.J. Housing Mortgage Finance Agency); Eugenio Espinosa, Community Outreach Coordinator for STEPS; Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles; Senator Robert W. Singer; Housing Authority Commissioner Shabsi Ganzweig; Mary Jo Grauso, Executive Director of Lakewood Housing Authority; Miriam Medina. Chairwoman of the Board of Commissioners of the Lakewood Housing Authority; Michael McNeil, Exec. Dir. of STEPS; Maria Maio-Messano, Field Office Director of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development); and Kathryn Perry, CPA of Jump, Perry & Co.