Philadelphia-based developer Pennrose LLC and administrators of the Township of Edison recently broke ground on a 172-unit affordable and veteran housing development at the former U.S. Army Camp Kilmer. The project, known as Truman Square, will be delivered in two phases and will reuse a portion of the former military camp that at one time processed over 2.5 million soldiers during WWII.
“Camp Kilmer’s redevelopment is a key component of Edison Township’s court-approved affordable housing plan,” Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said.
Pennrose’s development broke ground May 15 and will span a 23-acre site. The first phase of the project, estimated to cost $18.9 million, will deliver 86 one, two and three-bedroom units for moderate-income occupants. Resident amenities will include community spaces and a fitness center.
The developer said 25% of the units will be designated for veteran housing while 25% will be set aside for formerly homeless occupants. 22 units at the lowest annual median income will receive funding from the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“Providing access to high quality, affordable housing and tailored supportive services on a historic military site is a really special opportunity to bring an underutilized site back to productive use,” Jacob Fisher of Pennrose said. “We always build to the needs of the local community.”
Pennrose secured financing through a Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit loan, First Mortgage, County Housing First Funds, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, County HOME and Housing First Capital Funds and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and TDC.
The developer opened the Residence at Roosevelt Park in Edison last year at the site of the former Roosevelt Hospital. Pennrose is also at work at the Old Brick Towers site in Newark – now known as Ashton Heights – where it will deliver 151 units with 7,000 square feet of retail space.
The Edison township council approved a similar redevelopment of a seven-acre site in Camp Kilmer by two non-profits in 2014. The town granted a 15-year PILOT to the same 120-unit project, which helped it meet requirements set by the federal government as part of the transfer of ownership of the site.
According to MHN, Camp Kilmer was opened in 1942 and named after a WWI veteran and poet native from New Brunswick, Joyce Kilmer. The camp consisted of 1,120 buildings across 1,500 acres in Edison and Piscataway. Pennrose acquired the 23-acre site for Truman Square in 2007 just two years before the camp officially closed. MHN said most of the 1,500-acres were traded to Rutgers University, a property-tax-exempt organization.