WinnCo begins work on unique $26m mixed use project in NJ


PATERSON, NJ– WinnDevelopment executives and the Argus Ellison Development team of Owen Tonkins and Daryll Tyson joined with Paterson Mayor André Sayegh and a host of New Jersey leaders to celebrate the start of construction on a $26 million project to develop 74 units of affordable housing centered around the site of the 19th century Argus Mill in Paterson’s Great Falls Historic District.

The Argus Ellison project will revitalize the historic mill building to create six affordable two-bedroom apartments; construct a new four-story apartment building nearby for 68 low- to moderate-income households; build a new parking deck in coordination with the Paterson Parking Authority; and create programming space for the Grandparents Relatives Care Resource Center (GRCRC), a Paterson non-profit that will provide supportive services to residents.

All 74 apartments will be Low Income Tax Credit eligible affordable- and moderate-income housing, with 52 units targeted to families earning below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) who hold vouchers from the Paterson Housing Authority. The remaining 22 units will be moderate-income apartments for families earning below 80% of AMI. Fifty-four (54) of the 74 new apartments will be two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, creating much-needed space and flexibility for larger families in Paterson. The development will have units set aside for multi-generational households, including grandparents raising grandchildren.

“With the support of city and state officials, the Argus Ellison development will showcase that it is possible through strong public-private partnership, historic adaptive reuse, and catalytic state financing to meet Paterson’s pressing need for affordable housing,” said WinnDevelopment Vice President David Ginsberg. “We’re extremely excited to start work on a development that has been a priority for the City of Paterson for many years and will stimulate economic opportunities for Paterson residents. We are also proud to partner with our local African American partners Owen Tonkins and Daryll Tyson and look forward to the day when our first residents move into their new homes.”

The project will be financed through construction and permanent financing from Citi Community Capital (Citi), tax-exempt bonds and 4% LIHTCs issued by the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), as well as Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA); a construction loan from Bank of America; Low Income Housing Tax Credits equities and Federal Historic Tax Credits equities from the Bank of America; an ERG bridge loan from New Jersey Community Capital and BlueHub Capital; ERG credit equity syndicated by Fallbrook Financial Services Company; HUD Project Based Vouchers administered by the Paterson Housing Authority; and HOME and Regional Contribution Amount funding from the City of Paterson.

“The Argus Ellison Development project is an example of how public-private partnerships can create innovative infill development that is both equitable and sustainable. My administration championed this project from the outset and was enthusiastic in allocating both ERG State Tax Credits, as well as additional resources to ensure the project’s success,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing portion of the Paterson population, so I am particularly pleased they are being targeted as future tenants. Also, the fact that the development team involves local Patersonians, makes this project a win-win.”

“Argus Mill’s comprehensive redevelopment will preserve and honor the historic and cultural significance of the properties while ensuring the site remains an integral part of the community for years to come,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Melanie Walter. “As families make their home in this new intergenerational housing, the historic structures, location, and proximity to transportation and Paterson’s Great Falls National Historical Park will create a new generation of memories for residents and ensure the continued cultural relevance of this unique corner of Paterson.”

“Supporting projects that provide resources to historically marginalized communities is central to Governor Phil Murphy’s vision for a stronger, fairer recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Argus Ellison development aligns with these goals by providing much-needed affordable housing to Paterson and new programming space for a valuable community nonprofit. The NJEDA is proud to partner with the NJHMFA and Mayor Sayegh to help this important project succeed.”

WinnDevelopment Senior Project Director Laura Manville is leading the effort as a partnership between WinnDevelopment, Tonkins, Tyson, and the GRCRC. Born and raised in Paterson, Tonkins and Tyson have also led successful development efforts in Maryland and Georgia, in addition to creating opportunities for high quality affordable housing and economic development in their hometown.

“Having done major projects in our current hometown of Baltimore, it’s gratifying to come back to the city that we grew up in and be a part of this great and much-needed project,” Owen Tonkins said. Added Daryll Tyson: “Paterson is our foundation! It has taken us three years to make this wonderful project come to fruition. It’s a part of our family legacy.”

The project will deliver new, state-of-the-art program and office space to the GRCRC, a long-time Paterson nonprofit that assists thousands of Paterson grandparents and kinship caregivers with services, meals, clothing, furniture and referrals to local service providers.

“The Grandparents Center is ecstatic to be part of the Argus Ellison Development,” said GRCRC Executive Director Lorenzo Carpenter. “After years of frustration and trying times, we are finally cementing our footprint in this awesome group. We are thankful for our relationship and our new start and location. We thank all involved for making this a dream come true for our organization! I can’t wait to get our new location and start a new chapter for our Center. Thank you all.”

Sixty-eight (68) new affordable units will be created in a new construction four-story, wood frame residential building, built with one podium of parking over an existing surface parking lot. Construction will be certified to Energy Star Homes standards, including energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and water-saving fixtures.

The work is expected to create 110 construction jobs paid at New Jersey’s prevailing wages. Qualified Paterson residents and local minority and women-owned businesses will be the top hiring priority during construction.

“The Grandparents is a much-needed project in the Paterson community. I’m proud to have been a part of making this project happen,” said Paterson City Council President Maritza Davila. “It’s especially gratifying to know that two local African Americans are the developers and that they are hiring other local contractors that will create much-needed jobs.”

The site is a priority redevelopment area located in central Paterson, convenient to nearby shopping, services and employment. It is less than a 15-minute walk to the city’s New Jersey Transit train station and adjacent to the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, with green space and recreational opportunities on the Passaic River.

“This is what development in the city is supposed to look like,” said Paterson’s Ward 1 Councilman Mike Jackson. “People from the community, providing true economic opportunities of inclusion, not just through employment, but local contractors and, most importantly, providing a service to the residents.”

The three-story Argus Mill, a brick and wood frame structure erected in the mid-1870s, will serve as the gateway to the development and house six apartments. Built as a warehouse for a nearby textile mill, it was later used to manufacture mosquito netting and, in the 1940s, became the Argus Yarn Mill. It was added to the National Historic Register in 1986 but has been vacant for many years.

Two other small historic structures dating back to the early 1830s, known as the Ryles and Thompson Houses, will be improved by the project. The Thompson House will continue as home to the Paterson Music Project a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts empowering children to achieve their full potential through the joyful pursuit of musical excellence. The Ryles House will provide an onsite management office.

“The Paterson Parking Authority (PPA) is excited to turn existing surface parking into innovative mixed-use development,” said PPA Executive Director Tony Perez. “By partnering with this winning team, we are able to fulfill our core mission, while also bringing creative housing solutions and much-needed support services to a neighborhood dramatically poised for positive change.”

O.A. Peterson of Montclair, NJ, will serve as general contractor. Coppa Montalbano Architects of Totowa, NJ, is the architect; Paulus Sokolowski and Sartor Engineering (PS&S) of Warren, NJ, will serve as the civil engineer; Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) will serve as historic consultant; Renaissance Groups will monitor hiring and MWBE goals; Friend and Wenzel of Clifton, NJ, is providing local legal counsel; and, Berman Indictor of Philadelphia is serving as transactional counsel.

Once completed, the property will be operated by WinnResidential, the leading manager of affordable housing in the United States. The company currently manages 13 multifamily properties throughout New Jersey, encompassing 1,955 apartments and 13,700 square feet of commercial space.