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Groundbreaking for $45.8 Million Montgomery Heights II Celebrated in Newark, N.J.

July 28, 2017

The beginning of construction of the $45.8 million Montgomery Heights II in Newark’s Central Ward was celebrated today by federal, state and local officials, including Senator Cory Booker and Mayor Ras Baraka.  Montgomery Heights II will complete the redevelopment of the former Brick Towers by Newark Housing Authority and Pennrose-One (a partnership between Pennrose Properties, LLC and One Real Estate Development).

The new Montgomery Heights II development will include a combination of 154 mid-rise and townhome-style apartments in six total buildings. The community will feature a community room, fitness center, nearly 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and 154 parking spaces. Like the first phase, the development will be an iconic building that embraces elements of the neighboring historic buildings, but also symbolizes the future potential of the area by integrating more modern materials into the architecture.

“Since my early days in Newark, my primary objective as an advocate, councilman and Mayor was to create better living conditions for the people of Newark and my neighbors in Brick Towers,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker when asked about the project.  “Housing projects like this have a tremendous impact on the ability of people to lift themselves up and live the American Dream.  Today represents another step of moving Newark forward and cementing its status as a national model for urban revitalization.”

“This is more than a groundbreaking for a housing complex in Newark…this is a groundbreaking policy for all of America.  I congratulate all of our partners in creating this development,” said Mayor Baraka.

“Pennrose is honored to have been a development partner with the Newark Housing Authority to help them bring to fruition a vision created more than a decade ago,” said Timothy I. Henkel, senior vice president, Pennrose Properties, LLC. “The Montgomery Heights redevelopment is the perfect example of a neighborhood transformation that Pennrose has at the root of its mission.”

The five-story elevator building will include 132 units, with the remaining 22 units in five townhouse-style buildings. The 59 one-bedroom, 70 two-bedroom, and 25 three-bedroom units will feature modern kitchens with dishwasher, laundry hookups, resident controlled heating and air-conditioning, and tile bathrooms.

“Montgomery Heights II is another success for the City of Newark and the Newark Housing Authority to invest in our families and improve the level of affordable housing available,” said Morris Warner, chief development officer, Newark Housing Authority. “These new apartments will raise the housing at this location to a new standard and enhance the surrounding neighborhood.”

Speakers at the event included Ras J. Baraka, mayor, City of Newark; Ellen Harris, acting executive director, Newark Housing Authority; Maria Maio-Messano, field office director, Newark field office, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Anthony Marchetta, executive director, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, Central Ward councilwoman, City of Newark; Timothy I. Henkel, senior vice president, Pennrose Properties, LLC.

“Developments like these need multiple sources of financing to come to fruition, and Pennrose-One accessed the HUD Capital Fund Financing Program through the Newark Housing Authority, that allows a portion of its future funding to be paid towards financing.  This makes Montgomery Heights II an excellent example of what can be achieved using public-private partnerships,” said Maria Maio-Messano, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development New Jersey field office Director.  “HUD will also provide Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers making it possible for low-income families to live in the heart of Newark.” 

New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency allocated $1.5 million of 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the project with equity provided by Capital One and Hudson Housing Capital, LLC. The remainder of the funding came from Bellwether Enterprise, and loans of Up Front Grant Funds and CFFP funds from the Newark Housing Authority. The site was designed by Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC and is being constructed by S.B. Conrad, Inc.

The former Brick Towers consisted of two 16-story high-rises built in 1969. The privately-owned twin buildings were originally an appealing place to live, but over time fell into disarray and disrepair, due to neglect by ownership. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration foreclosed on the buildings in 2000 and transferred ownership to the Newark Housing Authority for $1 in 2002. The buildings were in condition too poor to save at that point and attention turned to redevelopment plans for the site. NHA made plans for redevelopment in conjunction with a group of former residents and affordable housing advocates. Demolition of the buildings was completed in 2007.