Artist housing to include three-bedroom units

Rahway Residences for the Arts.renderingA proposed 58-unit affordable housing project focused on those working in arts and entertainment will include some three-bedroom units to satisfy requirements for low-income housing state tax credits.


The Redevelopment Agency at its April 1 meeting approved two resolutions related to the Rahway Residences for the Arts, planned for the former Elizabethtown Gas Co. building on Central Avenue.

Resolution 14-15 amended the redevelopment agreement, changing the effective date from Sept. 30, 2014 to April 1, 2015. Resolution 15-15 approved construction of three-bedroom units as part of the plan. Three-bedroom units are required to qualify for low-income housing tax credits through the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA).

d3ce5-img_4864The project will seek $15 million to $20 million in tax credits, according to Redevelopment Director Leonard Bier, with the next funding round coming in June, and awarded in July.

It’s unclear exactly how many three-bedroom units might be included in revised plans but in the original concept plan, presented three years ago, 10 percent of the 60 units were three-bedrooms. The plan grew to 71 units but has since been reduced to 58. Over the years, downtown development has focused on one- and two-bedroom apartments, eschewing three-bedrooms to reduce the possibility of adding more children to the school district’s enrollment.

a4f5b-etowngas-3drenderingThe developer reduced the number of units at the agency’s request, Bier said, and the number of units were in discussions but not included in the redevelopment agreement.  They also increased the number of on-site parking spaces, adding that three-bedroom units were part of the contemplated project all along, he said. Originally, the plan proposed 32 parking spaces, which were increased to 60 after discussions with the city.

Developers want to be before the Planning Board in April or May, senior planner and Redevelopment Agency secretary Cynthia Solomon told commissioners.

Acquisition of the site has been deliberate, seeking environmental approvals and paperwork necessary before taking title. Redevelopment Agency attorney Jeanne McManus explained that the agency will retain title to the building but the developer, Collingswood-based Ingerman, will have to subdivide part of it.

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