Hat City Lofts in Orange is complete, HANDS announces

Housing and Neighborhood Development Services Inc. announced recently the completion of Hat City Lofts, the adaptive reuse of a former hat factory which has been transformed into condos and commercial space.

At the ground-breaking ceremony on May 31, Luther Flurry, HANDS executive director, was joined by Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr.; Orange Township Mayor Dwayne Warren; Wayne Meyer, New Jersey Community Capital president; and Patrick Morrissy, HANDS founder; along with government officials, partner organizations, residents and business owners.

“Throughout the United States, we are seeing a resurgence of local communities,” Payne Jr. said. “The Hat City Lofts project is the cornerstone for Orange’s arts community. This development, which my father worked hard to boost, will help revitalize the neighborhood and make the Valley Arts District a creative hub for entrepreneurship and artistic expression.”

HANDS transformed — with the help of a 2016 New Jersey Future Growth Award — a vacant hat manufacturing industrial complex into 32 loft condominiums and 10 commercial arts and studio spaces. It will now house 800 to 1,200-square-foot units.

“The story of the Valley, and of renovating the Berg Hat Factory, is one of community. Working together, neighbors created a vision for the Valley. Working with community partners, HANDS, ValleyArts, the township and others are creating vibrant places for people to live, work, raise their family, meet and play,” Flurry said.

“The Berg Hat Factory was the most visible eyesore, the most pivotal property. Hat City Lofts, as it is now called, anchors the Valley. Today the Valley, and Hat City Lofts are places where artists, makers, entrepreneurs, and residents from around the world build homes, businesses and community. The neighborhood vision is being realized today.

The Hat City Lofts and adjacent Powerhouse will house over 30 full time jobs at full occupancy, HANDS said.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of Hat City Lofts,” Meyer said. “We are proud to be a partner in this cornerstone project, creating this thriving center of culture, arts, and community. Congratulations to HANDS. Without their vision, perseverance, and leadership, none of this would be possible.”

NJCC was a co-developer on the project, it said. Through its nonprofit real estate subsidiary, Community Asset Preservation Corp., NJCC said it helped HANDS find financing for the project and complete the construction.

“HANDS has been a shining example of the power of collaboration and of partnership by bringing people together to create projects that make a difference in neighborhoods in places like Orange,” said Director Janel Winter of Division of Housing and Community Resources.

The project was financed by the State of New Jersey Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program, U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development-Economic Development Initiative Special Project Grant, NeighborWorks America, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Community Housing Capital and New Jersey Community Capital.