The former Elizabethtown Gas building will be acquired for $1 million but the Rahway Residence for the Arts planned for the site is on hold until the next application round of federal housing tax credits, which might not be until next year.
The Redevelopment Agency on May 1 authorized the acquisition of the property at Central Avenue and Hamilton Street for $1 million, with $400,000 of that in escrow for additional remediation of the property “to standards that will permit the property to be developed for residential use.” The closing will be subject to the RRA entering into a redevelopment agreement with the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation (AFHDC), which would be required to provide funds for the acquisition of the property, Redevelopment Agency Attorney Frank Regan said. The agency passed a separate resolution extending the conditional designation of AFHDC as the redeveloper.
The existing two-story building at 219 Central Ave. (Block 167, Lot 1) has been proposed for 60 units of affordable housing for people who work in the arts and entertainment field.
The state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) accelerated the application deadline for low-income housing tax credits to the end of May instead of June, and the AFHDC was unable to meet the new filing deadline, according to President and CEO Scott Weiner. AFHDC plans to file for the next round of HMFA funds at the next available opportunity, he said, adding that they are “fully committed” to the project. AFHDC had planned to come before the Planning Board this summer but Weiner said that will be scheduled once the next filing deadline and precise requirements of the HMFA are determined.
The low-income housing tax credits typically are approved only once a year but because of Hurricane Sandy and other issues, Regan said it’s possible the next round could be November; if not, it could be April 2014. The project is on hold until the next time AFHDC can apply for the tax credits. The letter of intent for the sale has dates that go into 2015, if necessary, to allow time to line up the funding, he said.