Conifer expects word on funding for Middle Township projects

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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — A developer looking to build two large affordable housing projects in Middle Township is expecting word today (Thursday, Aug. 1) on whether the project will be awarded loans and tax credits.

Conifer wants construct 48 units at Railroad Avenue in Cape May Court House and 112 on Rio Grande Avenue in Rio Grande.

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is slated to give a $1.86 million loan and a $1.28 million tax credit for the Rio Grande site and for the Railroad Avenue a $1.91 million loan and a $1.32 million tax credit, according to Conifer senior vice president Charles Lewis.

The bulk of the money — $25.3 million — is expected to come from investors, who will seek a tax benefit by investing in affordable housing projects.

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is expected to approve the loans and tax credits Aug. 1. The Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency administers the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program on behalf of the IRS.

Conifer is also looking to receive $5 million to be put toward each site in Middle Township from Hurricane Sandy federal funding.

Conifer will also receive loans from the township. For the Railroad Avenue, the developer will get $766,000 and $747,000 is being earmarked for the Rio Grande location.

The money from the township’s affordable housing trust fund has not been received yet, Lewis said. Middle Township business administrator Connie Mahon was unavailable Thursday to provide more information on the township’s affordable housing funding.

In 2012, municipalities were forced to commit affordable housing trust fund money or risk forfeiting the money. Middle Township Committee approved an affordable housing plan last summer.

Also last year, area residents protested plans to build at the Railroad Avenue site, citing environmental concerns. The property in Cape May Court House is within the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge acquisition boundaries, and nearly all of the property is surrounded by land owned by the refuge.

The Conifer plan is moving forward.

The Middle Township Planning Board has approved the final site plan for the Railroad Avenue site, and Lewis expects the plan for the Rio Grande location to be up for a vote in August.

If all goes according to plan, Lewis said, ground would be broken on the sites in October and would open a year later.

Conifer owns and manages more than 12,000 multi-family units in 200 apartment communities, one of them senior apartments in Cape May, according to its website. Conifer, a real estate company headquartered in Rochester, NY, specializes in the development, construction and management of affordable housing communities. 

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