Officials cut ribbon on new affordable senior housing developed by Michaels Organization in Camden’s Cramer Hill neighborhood

A number of top Camden-area officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the Harrison, the second of four phases in the $165 million redevelopment of Camden’s oldest public housing community, Ablett Village.

The Harrison is a $16.3 million development that integrates 55 mixed-income senior apartments with numerous amenities, including medical exam rooms staffed by nurses from Virtua Health and Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, a multipurpose room, craft lounge, healing garden, fitness center and more.

The third and fourth phases of redevelopment, which will include 297 new homes, are expected to begin in summer 2024.

Officials from the Housing Authority of the City of Camden, the Michaels Organization and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency cut the ribbon — joined by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.) and Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen.

“The Harrison and other reimaginings of Ablett Village represent what Camden can accomplish when we come together as a team,” Carstarphen said. “This certainly didn’t happen overnight — it required great vision, hard work and collaboration from a lot of different Camden partners, many of whom are here today. Congratulations on a job well done, everybody, and to those moving in, welcome home.”

Five units in the Harrison will be set aside for seniors facing homelessness; two units will be leased at an unrestricted market rate; and the rest will be for seniors who are at or below 80% of Area Median Income.

Ablett Village is the eighth affordable housing community that Michaels has redeveloped in Camden over the past 12 years.

Nicholas Cangelosi, senior vice president of development at the Michaels Organization, said the group was thrilled to be able to help once again.

“Michaels is honored to have been entrusted with building yet another beautifully equipped, energy-efficient and affordable community for Camden’s older adults,” he said. “We strive to make all of our homes more than just a place to hang a hat. The Harrison, in particular, is geared towards individuals who want to stay active and connected while having easy access to some of the best medical care around. We thank our long list of partners who made today possible — we couldn’t have done it without you.”

HUD awarded Camden with a $35 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant in 2021 to transform the Ablett Village community and Cramer Hill neighborhood. In addition, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency provided $13.9 million in tax credit equity for the project through federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

“As the statewide leader in providing and advocating for affordable housing and homeownership, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency knows that development and preservation of quality homes is critical to achieving equitable outcomes for Camden residents,” NJHMFA Executive Director Melanie Walter said. “This ribbon-cutting is the culmination of what can happen with a vision of equity and opportunity.”

Norcross said it’s a win-win for all involved.

“This was a much-needed investment to improve Camden’s affordable housing and access to opportunity,” he said. “Everyone deserves an affordable, safe place to call home and access to good-paying jobs. This ribbon-cutting represents our shared vision of improving the quality of life and the health and safety of Ablett Village residents.”