Winn Development Acquires $40 million, 131-Unit Brunswick Estates in NJ

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BOSTON–Winn Development, the development arm of award-wining national multifamily property developer and manager, WinnCompanies, announced it has closed on the financing to acquire and renovate 131 units of affordable housing in Jersey City, NJ.

The $40.2 million acquisition and rehabilitation project will deliver an extensive interior and exterior upgrade to Brunswick Estates, a 32-year-old income-restricted community of nearly 400 residents. It will address substantial deferred maintenance needs, including lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy, as well as a lack of community space, adequate security, ADA compliance and energy efficiency.

Lawrence-Curtis_largeThe public-private partners in the Brunswick Estates project are: The City of Jersey City, including the Jersey City Department of Community Development; the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA); the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA); Citi Community Capital; The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation; New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC); Boston Community Capital; and, Greater Bergen Community Action, Inc. The deal was brokered by Dane PCG, based in New York City.

“The completion of this acquisition is the first step in what we believe will be an important development not only for the residents of Brunswick Estates, but also for the community of Jersey City,” said Lawrence H. Curtis, president and managing partner of WinnDevelopment. “We worked hard with our public and private partners to get to this point, and we look forward to a March 10 groundbreaking to celebrate the start of these renovations.”

Brunswick Estates is a townhouse-style complex featuring 14 clusters of buildings with apartments units ranging from two to five bedrooms, as well as a central building. There are 396 bedrooms in total.

“We are pleased to provide $2 million of Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars toward the renovation of these 131 units of affordable housing so residents have quality, affordable housing for years to come,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve M. Fulop. “By investing in affordable housing, we are investing in the entire community and providing first rate affordable housing that complements the ongoing revitalization of neighborhoods throughout Jersey City.”

No residents will be permanently displaced during construction, which be performed in phases during weekdays on a building-by-building basis. The residents of eight units that need to be made ADA compliant will be temporarily relocated off site but within the neighborhood for approximately two weeks.

“The closing of financing to rehabilitate Brunswick Estates is a critical step toward modernizing these moderate income residential units,” said EDA CEO Melissa Orsen. “The long overdue rehabilitation will include ‘green’ elements to increase energy efficiency, and will create amenities such as community and green spaces, a playground, a garden and enhanced security – all elements that will improve quality of life for residents, and advance key objectives of the residential Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program.”

The project is expected to spur additional investment and beautification along the Montgomery Street corridor, which serves as a visible gateway to Jersey City’s downtown.

“We are delighted to contribute to the success of Brunswick Estates by providing nearly $28 million in construction and permanent financing for the project,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “By utilizing our innovative Conduit Bond program, developers also get the added benefits of HMFA’s tax-exempt financing and the 4% federal Low Income Tax Credits. As the Agency continues its key mission to provide quality, safe and affordable rental communities across the state, we look forward to adding Brunswick Estates’ 131 rehabilitated family units in Jersey City to our growing portfolio of affordable housing success stories.”

In addition to the physical improvements planned for the property, WinnDevelopment has partnered with Greater Bergen Community Action, Inc. a New Jersey non-profit, to provide intensive financial literacy services to Brunswick Estates residents. GBCA is Jersey City’s Head Start provider and also serves the city with a variety of other programs geared to improve the lot of low and middle-income families.

“We look forward to using our expertise to support this community by educating them on a variety of topics regarding their finances,” said Robert F. Halsch, Jr., Executive Director, Greater Bergen Community Action. “True financial independence begins with learning about money – and learning how to manage it in what can be a confusing environment.”

The renovation work will create approximately 70 construction jobs.

“We were excited when WinnDevelopment approached us to support their bid to purchase Brunswick Estates because we knew that they are the right organization to perform a high quality rehabilitation and effectively preserve this important affordable rental property,” Bernard Husser, Executive Vice President of The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation. “WinnCompanies is an extraordinary development and property management company with the right vision for this property and brought together a strong group of experienced financial funders. The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation, as one of the nation’s largest affordable housing tax credit syndicators, has invested in Jersey City for over 30 years. We are proud to partner with WinnCompanies on Brunswick Estates and continue to provide many more years of quality affordable housing to the residents of Jersey City.”

“New Jersey Community Capital is thrilled to be part of such a vital project that will provide safe, high-quality affordable housing to hundreds of residents,” said Wayne T. Meyer, president of NJCC. “The effects of this redevelopment will reach beyond this affordable housing project to bring stability and vibrancy to the surrounding community, allowing it to thrive.”

“Citi is committed to Jersey City and particularly pleased to have provided the financing for this project” said Bryan Dickson, Director, Citi Community Capital. “We look forward to seeing the rehabilitation of these affordable units that will benefit the families residing in Brunswick Estates.”

Heidi Burkhart, President of Dane PCG, said, “As a broker, we are the catalyst to the final product of the preservation of the housing units. To be a part of such a strong team of affordable housing professionals in the rehabilitation of Brunswick Estates is incredibly rewarding for all of us at Dane. Our desire is for the tenants to see not only new homes, but renewed hope in the great work WinnCompanies will do.”

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