Township officials cut the ribbon on the new complex, located at 3206-08 Pleasant Ave., Thursday, bringing 11 new units for low income residents. The existing building was purchased and refurbished by the non-profit Weehawken Senior Housing Rehabilitation Corporation at the cost of $1.4 million - all of which came from grants and low-interest loans.
It marks the second refurbished structure on Pleasant Avenue that was earmarked for affordable housing. In 2002, the same Senior Housing Rehabilitation Corporation restored a structure at 3200 Pleasant Ave., giving the township nine units for residents who meet the income standards. Now, there are 11 additional units - two efficiency apartments, three one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments.
"We started this latest project in 2003 and it took that long to acquire the funds to get the work done," Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said. "This was an unoccupied building that was an eyesore to the neighborhood and now becomes an asset to the neighborhood by preserving more affordable housing."
Turner said that the new units have already been assigned to residents who applied through the Weehawken Housing Authority and appeared on a waiting list. To be eligible to reside there, they needed to meet the income guidelines established by the federal government ($27,000 annually for single occupancy, $39,000 for a family). Turner said that about two-thirds of the residents of the complex are senior citizens.
"They're all rented out," Turner said. "We had a waiting list once the other one (3200 Pleasant) was built."
Turner said that the Weehawken Senior Housing Rehabilitation Corporation received $610,000 from the Hudson County Home Improvement program, $451,000 from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' Balanced Housing Division, $225,000 from the Council of Affordable Housing, getting money from the town of Wyckoff that was set aside for affordable housing and an additional $88,000 from a federal home loan program.
The renters will have to pay $600 per month for the efficiency and one-bedroom apartments and $800 monthly for the two-bedroom units.
The Weehawken Housing Authority will be in charge of collecting the rents and running the building.
"We would never have been able to afford to build a new building," Turner said. "This was the best option. It just took a tremendous amount of time because of all the necessary funding sources. The work that Dominic Facchini (the chairman of the Senior Housing Rehabilitation Corporation) and Bob DeVincent (the executive director of the Weehawken Housing Authority) did was tremendous. It really turned out to be a nice project."
Facchini was ecstatic to provide new affordable housing to the township.
"This was located at one of the main entrances to Weehawken and was really an eyesore," Facchini said. "This makes that whole corner look nice now. It did take a while, but we wanted to make sure that it was done right. The first resident has already moved in and the place is already fully booked. It's exciting to see. The contractor did a great job in making these units top of the line. They didn't cut any corners. It was nice to provide this for the residents."