Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State Backs Special-Needs Housing Plan in Tenafly

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State Backs Special-Needs Housing Plan in Tenafly

Article excerpt

TENAFLY -- Bergen County's United Way has secured funding for an affordable special-needs housing project that has faced challenges obtaining financing.

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency's Board of Directors recently approved funding for the project, said Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County United Way, a co-developer with Madeline Corp.

The project, in the works since 2011, will be a one-story building at 311 Tenafly Road containing six units for residents with a diagnosed developmental disability who can live independently with some service support.

The brick-and-wood apartment complex will cost nearly $1.5 million to build, Toronto said.

The funding comes in the form of an unamortized (no computation of interest) mortgage commitment lasting 30 years.

"We are obligated to pay back 25 percent of any net operating income -- income from rent -- to HMFA on an annual basis," Toronto said. "If we have no net operating income in a given year, we don't pay anything. The mortgage commitment is just over $1.1 million."

United Way is hoping to close on HMFA's financing within 60 to 90 days and to begin construction shortly thereafter, Toronto added.

Because affordable housing complexes are among institutions that customarily don't pay full taxes, United Way has signed a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program agreement with the borough. The council passed a resolution in support of the program calling for the non-profit to pay $2,000 a year to Tenafly, Mayor Peter Rustin said.

Residents in the units, meanwhile, will pay approximately $600 a month in rent to cover costs of utilities, landscaping and other upkeep.

Rustin said he's happy with the progress.

"I am very pleased that not only does the project have the financing in place to move forward, but by the awarding of the financing, recognition of the value of the project has been acknowledged."

A groundbreaking for the independent living facility was held in June and occupancy is anticipated for mid-2015. All site plan, land use and environmental permits have been approved.

Bergen County United Way has developed 13 such projects around North Jersey, including in Allendale, Emerson and Woodland Park. …

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