ATLANTIC CITY – WinnDevelopment, the development arm of national multifamily property developer and manager, WinnCompanies, announced it has acquired 153 units of affordable housing in Atlantic City, NJ, as the first step toward a planned rehabilitation project designed to rejuvenate the community.
Sencit Liberty is a scattered site complex featuring 153 units of income-restricted family affordable housing located in the three historic properties previously adapted for residential use:
- Liberty, 67 apartments at 1519 Baltic Ave., formerly the Liberty Hotel originally built in 1924;
- Schoolhouse, 66 apartments at 61 North Martin Luther King Blvd., formerly the Illinois Avenue School originally built in 1906; and,
- Disston, 20 apartments at 1711 Arctic Ave., formerly the Northside YMCA originally built in 1927.
As the new owner, WinnCompanies is committed to keeping Sencit Liberty affordable for the next 30 years while simultaneously upgrading the complex as part of a substantial occupied rehabilitation. WinnDevelopment hopes to rehabilitate the properties through a variety of funding sources, including developer loans, private equity investment, private lender sources, and local and state resources.
“With the community’s support, we are happy to take a big step toward what we hope will be a brighter future for the neighborhood,” said WinnDevelopment Senior Vice President Brett Meringoff, who led the acquisition team. “We believe the successful rehabilitation of these three properties would not only improve the quality of life for the residents, but also positively impact the entire community and signal major investment in this area of Atlantic City.”
“In the spirit of the local and State policy objective to drive more investment in Qualified Opportunity Zones, we were fortunate to be able to structure our equity investment through our own Qualified Opportunity Fund and take advantage of the benefits that this new program offers,” Meringoff added.
The $17.3 million purchase was financed by BlueHub Capital, formerly known as Boston Community Capital, using Capital Magnet Funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury, and by Citi Community Capital, using a combination of Affordable Housing Catalyst funds and acquisition bridge debt financing. The broker for the transaction was Dane PCG.
“Affordable Housing is a right not a privilege. We are excited that WinnDevelopment will be rehabbing affordable homes in Atlantic City,” said Mayor Frank Gilliam. “Improving the quality of life for all of our residents is a high priority for my administration.”
The City of Atlantic City, including the City Council and the Planning & Development Department, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority provided planning and financial support for the acquisition. WinnDevelopment hopes to have assembled all the financing needed for the rehabilitation project by later this summer, at which time the exact details of the work will be announced.
“The acquisition of the Schoolhouse, Liberty and Disston properties are a signal and promising occurrence for the residents of those properties, the surrounding area, and the city as a whole,” said Atlantic City Councilperson Kaleem Shabazz, who represents the Ward 3 neighborhood. “Because of the track record and credibility of WinnDevelopment, I am excited for the future of these properties and the improvement of the quality of life for our residents. I salute and thank all of the public and private partners who have cooperated in this venture.”
WinnCompanies owns more than 100 multifamily housing properties in 11 states and Washington, DC, totaling more than 13,000 apartments. The company is known as a long-term owner that invests not only in the maintenance of its communities, but also in the services provided to residents.
In New Jersey, WinnCompanies owns City Crossing, a 131-unit scattered site property in Jersey City, and Bridgeton Villas, a 156-unit property in Bridgeton – both of which have undergone extensive rehabilitations in the past three years. The City Crossing project won a 2017 Green Building Award from the New Jersey Apartment Association.
“During this transaction, both parties demonstrated great patience and were focused on their collective mission to preserve all the units for affordable housing,” said Heidi Burkhart, president of Dane PCG. “I am always proud to be part of transactions like this one because they will benefit the community and residents for many years to come.”
Since July 2014, WinnCompanies has overseen the completion of more than 17 occupied rehabilitation projects – totaling approximately 3,000 units – at its owned properties in six states and the District of Columbia, with total development costs of $335 million. The company currently has more than 500 units under rehabilitation in five states, with an additional 1,000 units set to undergo upgrades through 2020.
The Sencit Liberty properties will be managed by WinnResidential, the nation’s largest operator of affordable housing. The company manages 2,310 apartments and 19,500 square feet of commercial space at 17 multifamily properties in New Jersey.