$35 Million will Support Michaels’ Redevelopment of Ablett Village
Camden, NJ -- The Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) along with its co-applicant, the City of Camden, have been awarded $35 million in Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) funding for the transformation of Ablett Village, an obsolete public housing community located in the historic neighborhood of Cramer Hill in East Camden. As the Housing Authority’s private sector partner in the redevelopment, The Michaels Organization will now begin working on the first phase of the four-phase comprehensive transformation which includes 425 new, high-quality affordable homes, new community amenities and abundant green space.
“Ablett Village residents have for years been dreaming of, and advocating for, this community transformation, and now that transformation is becoming a reality,” said Michaels’ Vice President of Development Nicholas Cangelosi, who is serving as lead developer on the transformation effort. “We have extraordinary plans for this development, but our plans include more than just bricks and mortar; they include robust supportive services for residents, as well job training, educational and career development programs.”
The announcement of the CNI award was delivered personally to the community by Marcia Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, accompanied by the state’s senior Senator, Bob Mendendez (D-NJ), and Representative Donald Norcross at an event held at Ablett Village on June 2nd.
“It’s moments like this that remind us what is possible when we come together as a team,” said Victor D. Figueroa, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Camden. “For years, HACC, the Cramer Hill community and our many partners have been working around a shared vision for a more equitable future in Ablett Village, one that especially benefits its residents with low to moderate incomes. And now with HUD’s generous support, including the Jobs Plus Program that has been in place at Ablett for three years this August, we are excited to put our carefully developed plan into action.”
The transformation plan includes four phases equaling 425 mixed-income homes for families and seniors as well as health and wellness facilities, a fitness center, multipurpose rooms, recreation areas and facilities for community organizations. The largest phase will be constructed on the current Ablett Village site. The remaining phases will be constructed throughout the Cramer Hill community providing existing and current residents with tremendous access to the robust community amenities located throughout the Cramer Hill neighborhood.
Along with Michaels Development, other members of the development team include Michaels Management and Michaels Construction, along with Michaels supportive services partner, Better Tomorrows. Urban Practice is serving as the Architect.
All four phases will have a mix of incomes with units for returning Ablett Village residents, affordable units and units set aside for households making middle income.
Phase I will be built on three noncontiguous assemblages within the Cramer Hill target neighborhood. Families that live at these off-site locations will have several amenities within a quick walk from their front steps. The 75 units will sit across from a Camden City Public School, across from the Kroc Center, two blocks from the Veterans Memorial Park, and just one block from a stretch of River Avenue’s high commercial activity. The Phase II community building will have space for St. Joes Carpenter Shelter to coordinate their home buyer’s education and preparation program.
The on-site phase will have 220 units of mixed income housing, including market rate units spread throughout the site. The community will blend a range of family housing opportunities with a mix of services and an attractive network of indoor and outdoor community amenities. The configuration prioritizes pedestrian safety along street frontages with dynamic building facades, individual front doors, porches and elements that encourage pedestrian activity and community life. The redevelopment of the Ablett Village site will serve as a catalyst for the complete transformation of East State Street into a safe, pedestrian and bike friendly neighborhood corridor with wider sidewalks, improved lighting, a planting strip for trees and stormwater management and clearly designated parking lanes.
The off-site senior phase will consist of 55 units of age restricted housing in a low-rise structure. This senior community will have dedicated space for visiting nurses from the Rutgers School of Nursing to provide check-ups and other health assessments for residents. In addition, the building will have a wellness clinic that will be run by staff from Virtua Hospital. The clinic will provide more advanced health screenings and general healthy living education. The building’s central location two blocks from River Road and across from the Kroc Center, avails residents to a plethora of services within their doorstep that will help them sustain healthy lifestyles.
The last off-site family phase is situated across the street from the Senior building and will benefit from the proximity to the Kroc Center and Harrison Park, two multi-acre recreational assets in the neighborhood. In addition, residents of this community will be down the street from the new 62-acre Cramer Hill Waterfront Park. This phase, as well as the other off-site phases, represent great infill housing opportunities that cure large blocks of blight and make for a safer pedestrian experience.
Construction on the first phase is anticipated to start approximately 8 months from now.
The Michaels Organization is a national leader in residential real estate offering full-service capabilities in development, property management, construction, and finance. From single communities to comprehensive neighborhood revitalizations, Michaels has spent the last four decades crafting viable and financially successful housing solutions for a variety of markets including affordable, student, market-rate, and military housing communities. Serving 146,000 residents in more than 400 communities nationwide, Michaels is committed to crafting housing solutions that jumpstart education, civic engagement and neighborhood prosperity, and to creating Communities That Lift Lives.
The Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) has been serving city residents since 1938, when its first development, Westfield Acres opened with 514 public housing units to meet the “household needs” of those times. Today, the Housing Authority serves over 9,000 residents through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs. Our portfolio has grown to include 16 Asset Management Properties (AMPs), two Rental Assistance Development Program (RADs) sites, as well as, HCVs scattered throughout Camden City and County.
We are the proud recipients of three HOPE VI awards (McGuire Gardens, Baldwin’s Run formerly Westfield Acres, and Roosevelt Manor), two CN Planning Grants (Branch Village and Ablett Village), and now two CNI Grants (Branch Village and Ablett Village). We also run various supportive services programs including the Watson Street Assisted Living Program (WSALP), where senior residents can age in place, and the Success Learning Academy, to name a few under the Watson Street Management and Development Corporation (WSMDC) a 501(c)3.Back to News Next article