GOVERNOR CHRISTIE, ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO, BELLEVILLE MAYOR KIMBLE AND MILL STREET DEVELOPMENT URBAN RENEWAL LLC ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS HOUSING FACILITY
Complex Will Be First-Ever Senior Residence in Belleville
Belleville, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble and representatives from Mill Street Development Urban Renewal LLC joined with Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday, May 29th for a ceremonial groundbreaking to announce plans to develop the first-ever senior citizen residential facility in Belleville. Creating senior housing in the Township has been talked about for generations in Belleville, and today’s announcement brings that vision one step closer to becoming reality.
“Seniors shouldn’t have to leave the place where they raised their family to find affordable housing. All of this will be incredible for our seniors who will live here, meet here and recreate here,” Christie said. “This project is so worthy and so long overdue. It would not have happened without the persistence of County Executive DiVincenzo and Mayor Kimble,” he pointed out.
“Belleville has been trying to bring senior housing to the township for as long as I can remember. The senior building will be a tremendous asset and create a vibrant senior citizen complex when paired with the adjacent Belleville Senior Center building,” DiVincenzo said. “Finally moving this project forward is an example of what can be accomplished to promote economic development and enhance our residents’ quality of life when all levels of government and the private sector work together. We thank Governor Christie for working with us to move this project forward,” he added.
“We have a very diverse community with a vibrant and active senior population. Unfortunately, for generations, many of our seniors have been forced to move out of town when they retired because there was no affordable housing opportunities for them locally,” Kimble said. “This facility will address a serious housing need. In today’s economy, it is essential for local governments to seek out partnership to get projects like these done. We are fortunate to have leaders in the County and State who are ready and willing to work with us to enhance our community,” he added.
“This project is transforming an unused and unproductive piece of property into an asset for the community,” said Paul DeBellis from Franklin Development Group, which is part of Mill Street Development Urban Renewal LLC. “It’s great to be part of a partnership with so many people working together for a common goal,” he added.
Mill Street Development Urban Renewal, LLC is the developer of the project that will be located at the intersection of Franklin Street and Mill Street in Belleville. The front of the property at 125 Franklin Avenue is occupied by a one-story brick building, which is the Belleville Senior Center. This building will remain open. Mill Street Development Urban Renewal has entered into negotiations to purchase township-owned property and unused railroad property owned by Norfolk Southern railroad located behind the senior center site.
The proposal includes the first phase development of 86 units and a second phase of development of 51 units of senior housing. The building will have a community room, bocce courts, patio and garden area. Senior citizens who have a low to moderate income are eligible to apply for residence in the complex. "Since the project is located in one of the nine counties most impacted by Sandy, the project may assist senior citizens affected by the storm." An application and process is currently being created and will be handled by the Mill Street Development Urban Renewal LLC. Construction is anticipated to start at the end of 2013.
Land acquisition and construction are estimated to cost about $18 million. The developer is seeking grant funding from the State of New Jersey Community Development Block Grant program, federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency and the Essex County HOME program to subsidize the project.