Genesis Companies, a minority-owned developer of affordable housing, alongside New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, city, state and federal officials, and community leaders today opened the Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments, a five-story, 64-unit affordable housing development in Jersey City. The building, located at 455 Ocean Avenue, is 100 percent affordable with five units set aside for homeless veterans. Building amenities include a laundry facility, community room, bike storage and parking.
The Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments were conceived by Genesis Companies and Jersey City to redevelop formerly vacant sites and to spur continued investment in the local community. A former brownfield site, Genesis and Jersey City worked with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to remediate the site, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The city and the State of New Jersey provided substantial support to fund the development of the Dr. Lena Edwards Apartments. The New Jersey Redevelopment Authority provided early pre-development funds in the amount of $500,000. Jersey City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund committed $1.5 million and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) provided $15.6 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which Bank of America purchased to provide construction financing.
“The Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments fulfills one of our deepest commitments—creating a community that celebrates the diversity and vitality of a neighborhood,” said Karim Hutson, founder and managing member at Genesis Companies. “As a former brownfield site, we’re proud to have worked with the state and federal agencies necessary to make a development like this happen and deliver affordable housing for Jersey City. We have never shied away from engaging in difficult to develop projects and we take considerable pride in advancing this model of public-private partnership to bring more high-quality affordable housing to urban communities.”
“The Dr. Lena Frances Edwards apartments are the result of a well-managed partnership forged between State and federal agencies and private investors that have worked together for the greater good,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge the success of this partnership while paying tribute to a legendary woman who was a champion for the underserved.”
“I am incredibly proud to celebrate the opening of the Dr. Lena Frances Edwards Apartments today, and I want to thank Genesis Companies for their commitment to Jersey City and dedication to providing affordable housing to our residents. Aside from being 100% affordable, this project includes several units reserved for homeless veterans, which is an issue we have continued to champion here. We are fortunate to have partners like Genesis Companies who share our mission of a more inclusive and affordable Jersey City,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
“Since 1997, EPA has awarded 20 Brownfields grants to Jersey City, totaling almost $5.3 million to help revitalize communities across Jersey City,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Jersey City’s Brownfields program empowers its communities, making them a partner in forging a new future, and EPA is proud to have supported the assessment and cleanup needed for this project with nearly $900,000 in funding.”
“The Dr. Lena Edwards Development exemplifies the commitment of the NJRA to provide creative investments in urban New Jersey. This project is truly a wonderful legacy for a woman who dedicated her life to the Jersey City community,” said Leslie A. Anderson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority.
All units are affordable to residents with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), including seven units that are restricted to households earning 30 percent and less of AMI. Supportive services are available through multiple agencies, including Central Jersey Community Development Corporation and Women Rising, a local Jersey City nonprofit. In addition, Genesis Companies will work with various homeless and veteran organizations to extend services to homeless individuals.
The building is named in honor of Dr. Lena Frances Edwards, a prominent physician in Jersey City. Dr. Edwards dedicated her medical practice to the city’s working poor for nearly three decades and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work in 1964. Members of the Edwards family were present for the building opening.
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