A mid-rise development in Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood has been acquired by the city as part of an effort to expand housing options and preserve existing affordable units.
Mayor Steven M. Fulop, in conjunction with Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) and the Division of Community Development (DCD), recently announced the acquisition of a 40-unit building at 450 Martin Luther King Drive. The move comes after the city council unanimously approved a resolution awarding $215,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to support the JCHA’s purchase.
The move will create 30 new public housing units and preserve ten affordable housing units already at the complex that are set to expire. Jersey City is adding a new property to the municipal public housing inventory for the first time since 1983.
“This acquisition will have a significantly positive impact on the property, helping countless residents for decades to come,” said Mayor Fulop. “To start, we are creating 30 additional affordable public housing units to offer our low-income families. Second, it will increase residents’ access to community services. Third, this will improve operations throughout the site. Lastly, it will reduce the amount of rent public housing tenants have to pay so that they can live in a quality home they may not otherwise be able to afford for their families.”
Formerly known as the Webb Apartments, the building contains residences spanning one to three bedrooms and substantial community space with a separate entrance from Oak Street. The development’s street level consists of a 6,200-square-foot commercial space along Martin Luther King Drive.
“Housing is a human right,” said State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who has served as Chairman of the JCHA for 14 years. “Leveraging federal dollars through this expansion of the City’s public housing stock and permanently dedicating these units as affordable is another example of the Fulop Administration’s commitment to ending homelessness in Jersey City.”
The first phase of work at 450 Martin Luther King Drive will entail the JCHA partnering with the DCD to convert 30 of the 40 units into federally subsidized public housing, which will maintain their affordability in perpetuity. The remaining 10 units will be converted into public housing when a previous HOME compliance period concludes.
The mayor’s office touted several city initiatives they claim have boosted affordable housing in an environment of escalating rents. Fulop pointed to the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance, rent control laws, and vacancy decontrol as all being part of the broader solution to ensure affordability and quality of life in the city.