Housing Authority of Plainfield breaks ground on $19.3 million project

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PLAINFIELD — On Sept. 17, the Housing Authority of Plainfield broke ground on a $19.3 million project to celebrate the new construction of Elmwood Square, an ambitious redevelopment plan that will bring 58 new apartments to the community. The ceremony took place in partnership with Plainfield, the Premier Community Development Corporation, Union County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Alpert Group.

Elmwood Square will be a 58-unit, 43 two-bedroom and 15 three-bedroom townhouse design on 3.68 acres. The apartment complex will have individual entrances and take into consideration defensible space, new urbanism design, the concept of “eyes on the street,” open space, passive recreation and a free-standing community building with a community room, office space and maintenance space. There will also be supportive housing in the design, and 5 percent of the units will meet Section 504 requirements. All ground-floor units are adaptable dwellings. All units will have Section 8 project-based assistance.

Adrian O. Mapp, mayor of Plainfield, commended this addition to the Plainfield community. “I want quality of life for every Plainfield resident. This development ensures that any resident, regardless of income, can stay in Plainfield and have affordable, decent housing. I am very appreciative of this joint effort that will have a lasting effect for low-income families in our city. Progress such as this ensures opportunity for all residents.”

The idea is to replace Elmwood Gardens, a three-story conventional low-income public housing complex in Plainfield that had become obsolete. The high-density Elmwood Gardens had become problematic, and rehabilitation of the site would have cost too much.

Randall M. Wood, executive director of the Housing Authority of Plainfield, stated, “We have been dedicated to fulfilling the need for more affordable housing in our community and have been working diligently to replace the outdated Elmwood Gardens public housing project for more than seven years.”

He added, “In partnership with HAP’s qualified nonprofit arm, Premier Community Development Corporation, we are making this vision a reality.”

The Housing Authority of Plainfield’s Board of Commissioners played a pivotal role in the development of the project. Their diligence and dedication during the past seven years has been fundamental to the progress of the new Elmwood Square apartment complex.

A total of $120,000 in site demolition costs was supported by Community Development Block Grant Funds from Union County.

The Housing Authority also received Section 18 approval from HUD in 2012 for the demolition of the 120-unit Elmwood Gardens public housing project. It received Section 18 clearance for the relocation of tenants, which was accomplished with capital grant funds in 2013. Two years later, the Housing Authority obtained CDBG funds and demolished the complex.

Elmwood Square Urban Renewal has received a 9-percent tax credit designation from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to develop Elmwood Square on the site of the Elmwood Gardens location. Elmwood Square Urban Renewal is an equal partnership between two limited-liability companies formed by Premier Community Development Corporation and the developer, the Alpert Group.

“As a company that specializes in redeveloping sites in urban areas, we are honored to be part of this project to provide homes that will serve the community for years to come,” said Joe Alpert, president of the Alpert Group.

The project has received final site plan approval from Plainfield.

For more information on Elmwood Square, visit www.hapnj.org or call 908-769-6335, ext. 600.

Photos Courtesy of LisaMarie Gaeta