Proposed affordable housing project in Newark comes with distinction: It’s being developed by Black women

Bayoh, Frazier-Porter have applied for LIHTC loan for 40-unit complex in South Ward

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Adenah Bayoh, who has forced many to rethink how they build community, is doing it again.

This week, the restaurateur/developer announced she is partnering with community organizer Octavia Frazier-Porter on Southside View, a 40-unit multifamily housing complex for low-income residents, at 654-668 S. 11th St. in Newark’s South Ward.

Adenah Bayoh.

Bayoh and Frazier-Porter have applied for a 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, or LIHTC, for the affordable housing community. If they get the award from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Southside View would be the first woman-owned and Black-owned real estate development entity in New Jersey to receive this beneficial funding.

Bayoh said she is eager to make a statement.

“I am compelled to use my platform to bring attention to the lack of Black women in affordable housing development,” she said. “It is my hope that, by receiving this tax credit, I can inspire other women and girls to enter this sector and change the lives of families across the country. The affordable housing crisis isn’t just a New Jersey issue, it’s an American issue.”

One that is not being fully addressed in the state, Bayoh said.

“Affordable housing finance in New Jersey has a blind spot when it comes to race and gender,” she said. “Newark needs projects like Southside View, both to help the city reach its five-year plan of creating 6,660 new affordable housing units and to bridge the disparity, especially the racial disparity, of who gets to decide what gets built in our community and how.”

Other members of the development team include architectural firm Thriven Design, Grant Engineering and Construction Group, municipal attorney Connell Foley, professional property management MMS Group and housing consultant Monarch Housing Associates.

Affordable housing hero

Since 2012, Adenah Bayoh has successfully developed 373 units of rental housing, including 251 restricted affordable units financed by federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Affordable housing represents 67% of Bayoh’s total development portfolio to date. However, Southside View would be the first project on which Bayoh is the lead developer.

Restaurants, too

After opening four IHOP franchises in northern New Jersey, Adenah Bayoh teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Zadie B. Smith to develop concepts for two original restaurants: Cornbread, a fast casual purveyor of farm-to-table soul food, and Urban Vegan, which serves affordable, plant-based comfort food made with locally sourced ingredients.

The proposed five-story, 100% affordable housing community will transform an underutilized parcel near the corner of Springfield Avenue, a major Newark corridor, into homes for 40 families with low and very low incomes and advance the ongoing revitalization of the Kent-Brenner-Springfield Redevelopment Area.

The community will comprise six one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom apartment homes. Thirty-four apartments will be reserved for households with incomes of 60% Area Median Income or less, five apartments will be reserved for homeless households and one superintendent’s unit will be non-income restricted.

Bayoh said Southside View’s design and programming have been tailored to the needs of the community. Supportive services offered to residents will include job training, financial management and credit counseling, as well as health, wellness and counseling programs. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, having reliable access to high-speed internet has become a growing equity issue. To address this hurdle, residents of Southside View will have access to free high-speed internet on-site and in-unit.

Each unit will include central heating and air conditioning and luxury vinyl flooring. Residents will have access to free on-site parking and laundry facilities as well as a beautifully designed community center for programmed activities and an on-site management/leasing office.

To foster a healthy living environment for residents and lower operating costs and maintenance needs, energy saving measures will be incorporated into the building’s design. These will include energy-efficient refrigerators, stovetops, ovens and dishwashers. The development is expected to earn green building certification through the New Jersey Energy Star program.

When it comes to affordable housing, Bayoh knows of what she speaks.

Bayoh escaped civil war in Liberia and grew up living in public housing and attended public schools in Newark, before building a real estate development and restaurant portfolio and becoming the second-largest employer in Irvington.

Bayoh’s real estate portfolio includes major residential and mixed-use urban redevelopment projects across northern New Jersey, including 280 Park Place, the first phase of a multiphase development that is transforming the former Irvington General Hospital Site into a vibrant, mixed-income residential community, and 722 Chancellor Ave., an affordable housing community developed in a joint venture with the NRP Group.