Cooper Plaza Townhomes preservation set to begin

The Michaels Organization's latest Camden development will rehabilitate 64 historic affordable housing units

Cooper Plaza Townhomes in the Cooper Plaza Historic District is set to undergo a major renovation and be preserved as affordable housing for families in Camden.

Cooper Plaza Townhomes — a housing community in the Cooper Plaza Historic District that has provided affordable housing to Camden families for decades — is set for a major renovation following a successful financial closing by the developer, The Michaels Organization.

“We are excited to preserve this affordable housing community, which is centrally located to employment, schools, and the Walter Rand Transportation Center and which is a critical component of the comprehensive revitalization of the Historic District,” said Nicholas Cangelosi, Vice President of Development for Michaels. “We are grateful to the Mayor and the City Council, as well as Cooper University Health Care, our lenders and investors, and a host of partners committed to Camden’s future, whose support has made this rehabilitation possible.”

The $14 million substantial rehabilitation will modernize both the interiors and exteriors of the 64 town homes. Major upgrades to the building systems will include new HVAC and mechanical systems, new roofs, new windows and porch improvements, and the construction of new drainage and waterproofing systems throughout the community to address water infiltration issues. Interior improvements will include renovated kitchens and bathrooms, new appliances, and new luxury resilient flooring throughout all homes.

“Revitalizing and rebuilding neighborhoods in need of investment is imperative to transforming the city and providing moderately priced housing for Camden County residents,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said. “These improvements will further build on a solid foundation in the community and play a vital role in the ongoing renaissance Camden has been experiencing over the last five years.”

The preservation by Michaels means that all 64 town homes will remain permanently affordable, serving households who earn less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Of the 64 units, 32 are two bedrooms, and 32 are three bedrooms. In addition, Cooper Plaza Townhomes are located in a designated promise zone, which means that residents of the town homes can access the various success centers in the neighborhood sponsored by the Center for Family Services.

Financing for the rehabilitation and preservation of Cooper Plaza includes $4.1 million in private equity raised from the sale of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $6.8 million in permanent conduit bond financing, both allocated by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs provided $1.6 million in assumed mortgage funding and Camden County provided $300,000 in Trust Funds to the preservation. Additional funding includes a $3.1 million permanent mortgage provided by Berkadia and a $6.9 million construction loan from TD Bank. Fulton Bank invested in the tax credits, which were syndicated by Riverside Capital.

“This is another great example of how public-private resources are being leveraged to ensure investment takes place within Camden’s neighborhoods,” said Camden Mayor Francisco Moran. “I am grateful to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Camden County, Berkadia, Riverside Capital, TD Bank and The Michaels Organization for being incredible community partners. Not only are these beautiful historic homes being rehabilitated but our Camden residents will now have greater access to quality housing within their community.”

“NJHMFA is proud to be part of the Cooper Plaza Townhomes redevelopment, which preserves historic properties as affordable homes for families who live and work in the community,” said New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “This project also helps the city’s ongoing revitalization in an area which will continue to see growth that will have a positive impact.”

“TD Bank is proud to partner with The Michaels Organization on this very important redevelopment of historic homes which will provide affordable housing for those who need it most,” said Brian Gallagher, Vice President at TD Bank. “This project further enhances the bank’s commitment to support low and moderate-income families by helping to build and sustain strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential.”

The majority of the 64 town homes are occupied, but Michaels plans to renovate the dozen or so vacant units first, so that those units can then serve as “hotels,” for current residents while their homes undergo renovation. The “in-place” relocation, as it is called, will be managed by The Michaels Organization’s management company, Michaels Management, and is designed to provide the least disruption to current residents during the construction process. Michaels Construction will be serving as the general contractor. Kramer + Marks is serving as the Architects.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for Cooper Plaza Townhomes is scheduled for April 26 at 10:00 a.m. Construction is expected to be completed before year’s end.

About The Michaels Organization

Michaels is a national leader in residential real estate offering full-service capabilities in development, property management, construction, and finance. Serving 145,000 residents in more than 400 communities nationwide, Michaels is committed to crafting housing solutions that jumpstart education, civic engagement, and neighborhood prosperity and to creating Communities That Lift Lives.