A new development could bring housing to a property located just across the street from one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest correctional facilities.
A project called the Cedar Meadows Supportive Housing Apartments is moving forward for the tract at 1426-1468 Rahway Avenue in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township. According to a legal notice issued in late 2017 by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), when completed, the $25,111,732 development will include a four-story building with 100 residential rental units, all of which will be designated as affordable housing. Parking and new stormwater infrastructure will also be installed.
New Brunswick Today reported in 2016 that the project was expected to be developed by Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia and that 25 units will be reserved for residents who are elderly or have a disability. Community rooms, libraries, a courtyard with a garden, and supportive services will also be provided inside, while an athletic field will be located on the outside, according to the publication.
The property, located between Randolph Avenue and Omar Avenue, is situated directly across the street from the East Jersey State Prison and next door to the Avenel Flea Market. 10 acres of this 16 acre site will be used for the development, according to the notice, which states that ownership of the tract “was transferred by the state to Woodbridge Township in 2015 specifically for the development of special needs housing.”
Previously, the property was known as the New Jersey State Reformatory Staff Housing Complex. The residences on the site were used by employees of the New Jersey Department of Corrections who were assigned to the facility across the street, which was previously known as the Rahway State Prison and the New Jersey Reformatory. In fact, the Warden’s house was among the buildings. Today, six houses remain, but all of them are scheduled to be demolished in order to construct the Cedar Meadows project.
Part of the site is considered to be within a wetlands area, and although a Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is required, the notice says that the DCA found that “this project will have no significant impacts on the human environment.”
According to the State, the project is receiving $4.2 million in financing from the Superstorm Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund and $15.6 million from the Conduit Bond Program of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Pennrose could also receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
Residents of the new development will be a short drive away from the Ernest L. Oros Wildlife Preserve, Downtown Rahway, and the New Jersey Transit train stations in Avenel and Rahway. However, there are no existing public transportation options along Rahway Avenue near the site.