NJEDA board approves tax credits for Trenton residential development project

Money houses on wooden table, close up

120 new, energy efficient, one- to three-bedroom housing units — representing over $73 million in investment in an underserved downtown Trenton neighborhood — was approved for Aspire Tax Credits last week by the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

“One of Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s objectives when signing the (Economic Recovery Act) was to provide high-quality, transit-oriented, mixed-use housing options for families at all income levels. Today’s approval demonstrates the ability of the Aspire program to catalyze investment in communities that need it most,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “This new construction project will provide a support system to help residents sustain quality of life in line with the standards for a stronger and fairer economy on which the Aspire program is based, while also helping to preserve the city’s history and reinvigorate the Broad Street business corridor.”

Situated on a 1.35-acre site at 150-170 Broad St., on the edge of Trenton’s Mill Hill neighborhood, the new, five-story building will preserve iconic elements, such as the façade, of the original Van Sciver Building, currently located at the project site.

The multifamily development will offer 70 market-rate residences, 48 will be affordable and two will be rent-free superintendent units.

Aspire is a place-based economic development program created under the ERA, which was signed by Murphy in January 2021. The Aspire program supports mixed-use, transit-oriented development by providing tax credits to commercial and residential real estate development projects that have financing gaps.

RPM Development is the lead development entity. Services that directly benefit residents of the project will be offered by co-applicant Life Management Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The proposed residential amenities include a top-floor resident lounge, Wi-Fi-connected workstations, laundry rooms, a fitness center, an amenity terrace on the second floor, a roof deck overlooking the historic Assunpink Creek on the fourth floor, electric car charging, bike storage and two levels of parking with 168 spaces.

Also included is a 7,500-square-foot retail plaza overlooking a creek across from the Mercer County Courthouse. Two smaller commercial spaces will incorporate retail such as a coffee shop, and a larger corner space will be marketed as a restaurant.

“When we created the Aspire program, it was with the intention of facilitating greater investment in our communities, with a focus on creating more affordable housing,” said Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark). “This project will do just that, developing both affordable and market-rate housing, in addition to retail space. As we face housing shortages and rising rents, projects like this are critical to uplifting our communities and ensuring families have suitable places to live within their budgets.”

The project was approved for up to $29.13 million in Aspire tax credits, which represents 45% of eligible project costs of $64.75 million. Financing for the project also includes a $10 million loan from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit proceeds in the amount of $20.9 million, provided through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.