SECOND PHASE OF WHITNEY CRESCENT IN GLASSBORO, N.J., NEARS COMPLETION
Community Investment Strategies Transforms Affordable Housing Project to Revitalize Community
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., Sept. 12, 2011 – Community Investment Strategies (CIS), Inc., a fully integrated real estate organization, is nearing completion of the second phase of Whitney Crescent in Glassboro, N.J. The affordable housing redevelopment is replacing 80 distressed units at the former Bentley Woods complex with modern apartment-rental homes.
Nine buildings were demolished in phases to redevelop the 9.5-acre Whitney Crescent site. When completed, the newly constructed community will include 80 new affordable housing units designed to meet the lifestyle needs of 80 local families. The first 40 units were completed in the spring and are now fully occupied. Two three-story buildings consisting of 20 units are currently under construction and slated for occupancy this fall. The final 20 units are expected to be completed by year-end.
“Residents were living in a severely distressed, dated housing complex that had fallen into a state of disrepair,” said Mark Issa, president of CIS Construction LLC, CIS’ affiliate. “Whitney Crescent was an opportunity for us to partner with the local township to build a sustainable, modern community for low-to-moderate income families.”
Revitalizing this Gloucester County community posed an unusual challenge for CIS because it involved the physical repositioning of a neighborhood. “We temporarily relocated residents, demolished old buildings, and rebuilt housing in a way that benefited everyone,” said William Dailey, president of CIS’s affiliate CIS Management Inc. “We are not just replacing old buildings, we’re recreating a community for children and their parents.”
The project received broad grassroots support from local government officials, residents and neighbors. When approached by Bentley Woods residents, borough officials negotiated with the former owners to acquire the property under the Fair Housing Act, through eminent domain. Since the complex was built prior to 1980, the borough did not receive any Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) credits. However, as a newly developed community, Whitney Crescent will be eligible for COAH credits.
In keeping with its “people first” philosophy, CIS worked with each Bentley Woods resident to find temporary housing while construction was underway. Each household is now receiving priority residency in the new buildings and assistance with relocating back to Whitney Crescent.
Whitney Crescent offers families an affordable, maintenance-free lifestyle along with numerous amenities. The energy-efficient apartments include hardwood floors, washers and dryers in each unit and dishwashers. Residents also benefit from 24-hour emergency maintenance and on-site property management. The project is situated near Rowan University and is within easy access to the Atlantic City Expressway.
Funding for the revitalization initiative is provided by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, JP Morgan Chase, Gloucester County HOME, Glassboro Affordable Housing Trust Funds and Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.
Since its founding as a for-profit woman-owned business enterprise in 1994, CIS has developed a broad spectrum of multi-family properties, ranging from multiplex apartments and townhomes to mid- and hi-rise complexes, valued in excess of $350 million. The company’s diverse portfolio includes more than 2,000 apartment-rental units, with a high concentration in New Jersey.