Camden Mayor Frank Moran, Freeholder Carmen Rodriquez, The Michaels Organization, and TD Bank joined other partners and community leaders to celebrate the grand re-opening of Cooper Plaza Historic Homes, the townhouse community which has provided affordable housing to Camden’s working families for decades. $14 million was invested to bring significant upgrades to the community’s 64 units, which will remain permanently affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
“We are so grateful to the city’s leadership for their support and their commitment to preserving affordable housing as ‘Camden Rises,’ and we are privileged to make their vision for this historic and critically important housing resource a reality,” said John J. O’Donnell, Michaels’ Chief Executive Officer. “This community will remain a valuable housing asset for decades to come.”
The renovation and rehabilitation of Cooper Plaza Townhomes modernized both the interiors and exteriors of the 64 townhomes in the original community. Major upgrades to building systems include new HVAC and mechanical systems, new roofs and windows, porch improvements, new EnergyStar appliances, and the construction of drainage and waterproofing systems throughout the community, which will address current water filtration issues. Interior improvements include renovated kitchens and bathrooms and new luxury flooring throughout all homes.
“The Michaels Organization has done an outstanding job of renovating these beautiful historic homes in the Cooper Plaza neighborhood,” said Camden Mayor Francisco Moran. “So much of Camden’s success has been a result of collaboration and strong public-private partnerships; this project is no exception. The Cooper Plaza Townhomes offer residents energy efficiency while retaining their historical character and unique curb appeal. These units will be a nice addition to our City’s expanding variety of high-quality new and rehabilitated housing options.”
“In addition to tremendous job growth and improvements in city schools, parks, and public safety, Camden continues to make great strides in providing beautiful affordable housing, thanks to great leaders like Michaels,” said Susan Bass Levin, President & CEO of the Cooper Foundation. “Today marks another huge milestone for our community as we celebrate the opening of Cooper Plaza.”
Located just a short walk to employment, schools, and the Walter Rand Transportation Center, Cooper Plaza Historic Homes are also in a designated promise zone, which means that residents of the newly-refurbished townhomes will have access to various success centers in the neighborhood sponsored by the Center for Family Services.
“As someone who grew up in the city this project, including the renovation and construction of more than 1,000 new and renovated housing units, is a key component to Camden’s transformation,” Rodriguez said. “Providing affordably priced housing for Camden County residents is an integral component for maintaining our ongoing renaissance, and we look forward to continuing this important work.”
Financing for the rehabilitation and preservation of Cooper Plaza includes $4.1 million in private equity raised from the sale of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $6.9 million in permanent conduit bond financing, both allocated by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs provided $1.6 million in assumed mortgage funding, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York provided a $970,000 Affordable Housing Program loan, and Camden County provided $300,000 in Trust Funds to the preservation. Additional funding includes a $3.1 million permanent mortgage provided by Berkadia and a $6.9 million construction loan from TD Bank. Fulton Bank invested in the tax credits, which were syndicated by Berkadia.
“TD Bank is pleased to have provided financing for this important development; we are committed to helping improve communities across the region and are proud to be part of communities developed by The Michaels Organization that provide top-quality affordable housing to our most vulnerable populations,” said Brian Gallagher, Vice President at TD Bank.
Michaels Management will provide property management services, and Michaels’ co-developer, the nonprofit organization, Better Tomorrows, will provide supportive services. Michaels Construction served as the general contractor and Kramer + Marks acted as the Architect on the project.