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Camden Celebrates Groundbreaking For Phase Iii Of Branch Village

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City officials join Michaels to celebrate the groundbreaking of Phase III of Branch Village.

The revitalization of Camden’s Centerville neighborhood reached another milestone today, as The Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) and The Michaels Organization officially broke ground for Phase III of the $120 million Branch Village Townhomes redevelopment at 1800 South 9th Street in Camden. All 77 townhomes being built in Phase III will remain 100% affordable, serving households who earn less than 80% of the Area Median Income.

Camden Mayor Frank Moran, Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr., State Senator Nilsa Cruz- Perez, representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Donald Norcross, and other city and community leaders were among those to join Centerville residents for the ceremony celebrating the next phase of modern, high-quality affordable housing to be built on the site of Clement T. Branch Village, the last traditional public housing development in the Mt. Ephraim corridor.

“Embarking on Phase III for Branch Village Townhomes has been incredibly exciting for all residents of Camden’s Centerville neighborhood,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “The project is yet another example of how Camden is bringing prosperity to all of its neighborhoods. Many thanks today to all of our tremendous partners, who have leveraged significant public and private dollars to help us upgrade the City’s aging public housing.”

The third phase will include 14 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom, and 31 three-bedroom apartment homes. Each apartment will have a full kitchen, living, and dining areas, full baths, generous bedrooms and ample closet space, with each unit also having efficient Energy Star- rated heating and cooling systems and appliances. Branch Village management and social services will be conducted in a state-of-the-art community building which was constructed in 2014. This 3,000-square-foot facility includes a large multi-purpose room, various management suites, and a computer laboratory for residents.

Branch Village Townhomes, like the Branches at Centerville Apartments which opened in December 2017, is made possible in part by a CHOICE Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, a comprehensive funding program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that focuses on three core priorities: housing, people, and neighborhoods. By leveraging significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies, HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program addresses struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.

HUD had awarded a $13.2 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant to HACC as the lead awardee and the City of Camden as the co-awardee in 2016 for the revitalization of the Mt. Ephraim South Corridor. Of that $13.2 million, $1.5 million was made available for the development of Branch Village Townhomes. When all phases of the comprehensive redevelopment of Clement T. Branch Village are completed, some $220 million overall will have been invested in Centerville’s revitalization.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Centerville neighborhood,” said Victor D. Figueroa, Executive Director of HACC. “The new and improved Branch Village Townhomes will better serve our residents, neighbors, and the entire city, as this $100 million redevelopment of Branch Village will complement the $120 million previously invested in Centerville.”

“We’re so proud to partner with HACC in bringing high-quality affordable housing to Camden families and helping to strengthen the Centerville neighborhood,” said Nicholas Cangelosi, Vice President of Michaels Development. “Without the inspired leadership of the Housing Authority, the vision of the city’s political leadership, and the incredible partnerships we have formed with local community groups, stakeholders, and residents, none of this would have been possible.”

In addition to the $1.5 million in Choice Neighborhoods’ grant funds, financing for the $21.5 million development includes $15.5 million of private equity raised through the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. TD Bank invested in the tax credits, which were syndicated by Riverside Capital. TD Bank is also providing a construction loan of $13.4 million and Berkadia Commercial Mortgage is providing a $4.15 million construction loan. Michaels Construction is serving as the General Contractor. Michaels Management will provide property management services.

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