Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village Receives 2014 Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Award

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Jeffrey Miller No Comments

Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village

09.08.2014 — Phases I and II of Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village, a new transit-oriented, affordable housing community located in The City of Orange Township, New Jersey recently received a 2014 Excellence in Housing and Economic Development Award from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Designed by Kitchen & Associates of Collingswood, New Jersey, the aim of the first two phases of development at the Walter G. Alexander site was to replace aging and outmoded public housing infrastructure with high-quality, affordable rental opportunities for both families and seniors, and act as a catalyst toward the future redevelopment of the local Orange community. For these efforts, the project was recognized by NJHMFA as a leading example in housing-related redevelopment throughout the state, winning in the category of Leading Housing Revitalization (Rental). This year’s honorees will receive their awards at the 2014 Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development on September 22-23, 2014 in Atlantic City.

The original public housing community, known as The Alexander Public Housing Towers, was an obsolete high-rise apartment development built in the early 1950s and managed by the Orange Housing Authority until the site’s demolition in June 2010. The properties consisted of two seven-story apartment buildings containing a total of 140 units of low-income affordable housing. Throughout the resident population, the buildings were notorious for rampant crime, violence and drugs, and were considered one of the most dangerous areas within the local community. Distressed by the unrelenting crime and associated vandalism, the Orange Housing Authority, along with a number of motivated public stakeholders and private development partners, worked with Kitchen & Associates to formulate a long-term, multi-phased revitalization plan for the neighborhood. The plan’s intent was to replace the two aging buildings with a new, lower density, mixed-use/mixed-income housing community that would offer affordable rental opportunities to families, workforce and senior populations.

Building upon the strategies developed in the revitalization plan for the neighborhood, the new Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village replaces the two towering apartment complexes with a lower density community. This new community is designed in three-story townhome configurations in an architectural style that is in keeping with the surrounding neighborhoods. The first phase of the project focused on the creation of 66 new affordable family rental units in both one- and two-bedroom configurations, while the second phase provides 48 new affordable housing units devoted to seniors. Both phases received their certificates of occupancy in April of 2012, and were placed into service shortly thereafter. A third phase of the project, expected to offer an additional 42 units of family and workforce housing, recently received Planning Board approval and is anticipated to be completed within the next 18-20 months.

With a final cost close to $27 million, the newly redeveloped site, now known as Dr. Walter G. Alexander Village, was made possible through an initial award of $23.3 million in financing and tax credits from NJHMFA, and represents the first affordable housing complex to be built by the City of Orange since the 1950s. The new community is located in what is known as the Transit Village District East district of the City of Orange Township, as established in the city’s recently adopted Central Orange Redevelopment Plan. The adjacent neighborhoods consist predominantly of single-family homes with a sprinkling of small-scale commercial properties, including local businesses, civic organizations, places of worship, and a school—the Oakwood Avenue Elementary School. Due to the site’s proximity to the Central Avenue Commercial Corridor district, as well as a variety of transit options, including the Orange Transit Station and Brick Church Station in neighboring East Orange, it is anticipated that the Dr. Walter G. Alexander neighborhood and surrounding area will serve as a cornerstone to the long-term, multi-phased revitalization efforts of the Orange community.


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