NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Fairstead, a purpose-driven, vertically integrated real estate company committed to sustainable development and the creation and preservation of high-quality housing, and LIHC Investment Group today announced the acquisition of the Essex Plaza portfolio, a 691-unit, fully affordable housing portfolio in Newark, New Jersey that is home to seniors and families. In partnership with government officials and community organizations, Fairstead and LIHC will invest more than $27 million for sustainable renovations and improvements, as well as on-site support services, for the 450-unit senior housing residence at 1060 Broad Street, also known as Essex Plaza One, with more improvements to come for the remaining twelve buildings in the portfolio.
"Part of our commitment to a stronger and fairer New Jersey has always been to provide basic necessities to those in need," said Governor Phil Murphy. "Fairstead's acquisition and renovation of affordable housing stock in Newark will go a long way toward ensuring that residents of the state's largest city, in particular its senior citizens, have a reasonably priced place to call home."
Last week, Fairstead announced a new equity commitment of $500 million to strategically grow the company's operations, including expanding its multi-family housing portfolio and enhancing the firm's prop tech, sustainability, and community impact programming for residents across the country. Fairstead will serve as the lead developer, general contractor, and property manger for Essex Plaza One.
"Cities across the country are grappling with the crisis of affordability so that residents – especially vulnerable neighbors – can stay in their homes and in their communities. Fairstead is stepping up to this challenge. We are making major commitments to create and preserve sustainable housing and drive innovation that will revitalize our cities," said Jeffrey Goldberg, CEO of Fairstead.
"We are proud to join Fairstead in revitalizing hundreds of homes for working families and seniors in line with the City of Newark's affordable housing strategy," said Charlie Gendron, Principal of LIHC Investment Group. "We are grateful for the support of our public and private partners in preserving and expanding safe and affordable housing opportunities for those who need them most."
To kick off Fairstead's partnership with the community, a job recruitment fair will be held on November 17th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Newark City Hall. Anyone interested in construction jobs can attend to learn more about opportunities including general labor, masonry, carpentry, tile, sheetrock/taping, painting, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work. Fairstead will also host a Thanksgiving celebration and Community Day for Essex Plaza residents on November 20th with food, entertainment, and access to community resources.
"At the Essex Plaza portfolio, we are providing hundreds of seniors and families with beautiful, safe, stable homes for generations to come thanks to our partnership with the community and the dedication of our elected leaders Governor Murphy and Mayor Baraka," said Brett Meringoff, Managing Partner, Development, at Fairstead.
The revitalization of the Essex Plaza portfolio is being done in partnership with the State of New Jersey, the City of Newark's Department of Economic & Housing Development, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, with financing for Essex Plaza One provided by the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) and Berkadia.
"The Essex Plaza portfolio of all-affordable housing is an important part of the housing stock that Newark residents can afford. It is especially good news that Fairstead has purchased these buildings and intends to invest more than $27 million for renovations and support services at Essex Plaza One, an important home for seniors. This is a valuable contribution toward reaching Mayor Baraka's Five Year Equitable Housing Goals," said Allison Ladd, City of Newark Deputy Mayor and Director, Economic and Housing Development.
"Goldman Sachs is proud to partner with Fairstead on this project, which advances the firm's longstanding commitment to the city of Newark," said Yarojin Robinson, a Vice President in the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. "Essex Plaza One responds directly to community demand by expanding the stock of affordable, high-quality, dedicated senior housing, aiming to ensure that many of Newark's longest standing residents can continue to thrive in the city they call home."
"Berkadia is thrilled to reunite with the expert team at Fairstead to preserve Essex Plaza, such an important asset to the Newark community," said Matthew Napoleon, Senior Managing Director at Berkadia. "Once again, the Fairstead team utilizes the full breadth of our debt solutions delivering over $104 million in debt financing through three separate products for this important portfolio deal," said Gemma Geldmacher, Senior Director at Berkadia.
"The creation and preservation of affordable housing is one of HUD's top priorities, and the improvements to Essex One, Two, and Three will ensure housing and financial stability to 691 Newark families," said Justin Scheid, HUD Newark Field Office Director.
"The transformation that we are seeing in downtown Newark reflects years of work by local and state leaders to cultivate an inviting climate for local investment by industry leaders like Fairstead. This investment involves not just acquisition, but a commitment to undertaking substantial rehabilitation and improvements, ensuring that the seniors who currently live at 1060 Broad Street can remain in their homes to enjoy the benefits of this redevelopment," said Melanie Walter,Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.
Dane Global represented the buyer and seller in the transaction.
"The rehabilitation of hundreds of units of affordable housing to high-quality standards will further enhance the homes of these Newark seniors and families. The level of renovations that Fairstead & LIHC will complete will most definitely be life changing for the residents. Dane Global was honored to work with all sides of this important acquisition in preserving affordable housing while connecting residents with the services they need to continue to enhance their lives," said Heidi Burkhart, President of Dane Global.
The Essex Plaza portfolio is located in the Lincoln Park Historic District of Newark, just steps away from Newark City Hall, Newark Symphony Hall, and the Prudential Center.
Essex Plaza One at 1060 Broad Street will undergo a substantial $27 million renovation expected to begin by the end of the year. Seniors will get brand new Energy Star appliances, upgraded finishes including quartz countertops, new window treatments, flooring, and more to make their apartments look and feel brand new. Fairstead will also provide internet and cable access to all units with service included in residents' rent. A portion of the units will be brought up to UFAS accessibility standards so that residents with mobility challenges can have accessible homes.
Across the site, new lighting and signage will be installed as well as new security cameras, new windows, upgraded elevator equipment, and sidewalk repairs. The community room and accompanying kitchen will be completely refurbished and a brand new fitness center will be created for resident use. A full-time resident services coordinator will be on-site to provide access to health, medical, and other social services as well as curate events and programming for residents.
The rest of the portfolio includes 241 units of family housing across 12 buildings in the surrounding blocks that will undergo future improvements that will also be financed through the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency. The portfolio is supported by a rental assistance contract with HUD.
About Fairstead Fairstead is a purpose-driven vertically integrated real estate developer specializing in creating sustainable, high-quality housing. Since 2014, Fairstead has acquired or developed more than $4 billion in property. With offices in New York, Maryland, and South Carolina, Fairstead's team manages 90+ communities across the country and runs its comprehensive real estate platform, which includes acquisitions and development, venture capital investments in prop tech, design and construction, energy and sustainability, property management, marketing, and leasing. The firm also administers one of the industry's most proactive community impact programs to provide on-site support services to residents. For more information, visit www.fairstead.com.
About LIHC Investment Group Led by Charlie and Andrew Gendron, LIHC Investment Group has grown to become one of the most respected real estate investment groups in the industry. The firm holds an ownership interest in more than 38,000 units of multifamily housing nationwide, the vast majority of which is affordable. Our expertise in preservation transactions means we know how to work creatively and deliver results that benefit owners, investors, tenants and the community. To learn more, visit: https://lihc.com/