Senior housing at St. Mary’s moves forward

City Council introduced an ordinance last month to create a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), the first step for a four-story, 50-unit affordable senior housing facility adjacent to St. Mary’s along Esterbrook Avenue, just in from Central Avenue. A public hearing and final adoption of the PILOT is scheduled at the council’s regular meeting on May 12.

Representatives from Domus Corporation, affiliated with Catholic Charities of the Newark Archdiocese, came before the governing body in December with their plan. The existing structure, (photo left), the former convent building, would be demolished and the new facilty would extend slightly into the existing parking lot.

Once City Council approves the PILOT, Catholic Charities will need approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which would finance the project, before even going to the Planning Board. There was some concern among council members after the December presentation about parking and the size of the new structure which is expected to be addressed when the project ultimately comes before the Planning Board.

The 40-year PILOT, which must coincide with the duration of financing, would pay the city 15 percent of net proceeds. The 15-percent figure is fixed but the total sum would increase as rents for individual units increase, said Phil Frese, president and CEO of Domus. Since the property is owned by the Newark Archdiocese it is tax-exempt.

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NJ Transit, which is reporting increased ridership this year, will enact schedule changes May 11 (next Sunday). The new schedule includes adding several weekend trains to the Northeast Corridor line service.