Two developers are teaming up to overhaul a prominent housing complex that will significantly extend the building’s affordable mandate and spark a major investment not seen at the property in over 40 years.
National affordable housing developer Community Preservation Partners announced last week that they have found a partner for what will be their first rehabilitation project in New Jersey. L+M Development Partners, the company behind large Newark renovation projects like Hahne & Co. and Walker House, have entered into a joint venture to revitalize the Norman Towers senior apartments on Walnut Street in East Orange.
The 406-unit complex was purchased by the companies for $94 million and they will collectively invest more than $29 million in improvements. The community was built in 1980 and has not received any major renovations since the original construction.
Upgrades planned for individual apartments include energy-efficient appliances, new cabinets, and countertops that hope to make the units new again. In addition, affordable housing mandates at the community that were set to expire in 2030 have been extended for 30 years as part of the purchase agreement.
“We’re proud to add another state to our growing Eastern portfolio and the Norman Towers project is a great way to make our New Jersey debut,” said Seth Gellis, Vice President of Community Preservation Partners. “In keeping with our mission of enriching lives and strengthening neighborhoods, we’re giving the Norman Towers a complete facelift in addition to new amenities and community activity areas to revitalize the quality of life for the senior residents.”
The revamp of Norman Towers was designed by Cedar Grove-based Inglese Architecture + Engineering and incorporates enhancements to common areas both inside and out, including an expansion of the community room. A new computer room and fitness center are included in the plans, as is new landscaping, lighting, built-in BBQs, and outdoor dining areas.
Work on projects with an affordable housing component has become a big part of the portfolio for L+M Development Partners. The company recently finished more than $30 million of work at Georgia King Village, a Section 8 complex in Newark’s West Ward. L+M is currently modernizing 268 units of Section 8 housing at Zion Towers in the city’s South Ward.
“Much of our work in Northern New Jersey is focused not just on revitalizing properties but also ensuring that those living in them can remain in their homes,” said Jeffrey Moelis, Managing Director of Preservation at L+M Development Partners. “We are proud to work with Community Preservation Partners, the City of East Orange, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Freddie Mac, HUD, and Wells Fargo to deliver essential upgrades and preserve affordability for seniors at Norman Towers.”
Construction on the East Orange project, which is visible to thousands of drivers daily from the nearby Garden State Parkway, is expected to be completed within two years.