PEEK Properties (PEEK) has secured $9,750,000 in construction financing for the first of three new-construction Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) multifamily properties in the City of Orange, N.J. PEEK, a commercial real estate investment, development and management company, focuses on traditional development as well as recently approved opportunity zone projects throughout New Jersey’s urban submarkets.
The loan, which was arranged by Meridian Capital and Bogota Savings Bank, is designated for the construction of 50 Class A market-rate units at 276 Reock St., in the city’s Reock Street Redevelopment Area (RSRA). PEEK Reock I QOF, LLC kicked off its initial fundraising last summer and recently concluded its final phase of equity and debt fundraising.
“Underway site work at 276 Reock St., is focusing on clearing and grading in preparation for pouring the foundation and footings,” said PEEK Managing Partner Emanuel Klein. “We expect development to take about 14 months, with lease up slated for the winter of 2022.”
The Class A property is the flagship for the company’s newest urban residential enclave Orange Crossing, to be developed in three phases. Branded Apex Orange Crossing, 276 Reock St., features a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartment units. On-premises amenities and lifestyle conveniences include a gym, parking garage, automated parking system and automated package delivery system as well as car-charging stations.
Strategically situated just one block from NJ Transit’s Orange Station and the Main Street Business District, Orange Crossing aligns with the city’s efforts to revitalize land and property parcels between the NJ Transit railroad right-of-way and Freeway Drive/Interstate 280. The area is bounded by South Essex Avenue to the west and South Center Street to the east.
“Bogota Savings Bank is proud to be the financier for a project designed to elevate the quality of life for those in the communities we serve,” said Kathleen Pless, senior vice president of commercial lending. “We are pleased to collaborate with local developers like PEEK and their partners to enhance the urban and suburban commercial landscape statewide.”
PEEK also recently secured site plan approvals from the City of Orange Planning Board for Reock II (99 units at 49 S. Day St.) and Reock III (91 units at 72 S. Essex Ave), located next to Apex Orange Crossing. Branded Summit Orange Crossing and Pinnacle Orange Crossing, respectively, all three properties are planned to come online within six months of one another. Combined development costs are expected to surpass $59 million.
“This is an exciting time for PEEK Properties, a leader in streamlining some of the first QOZ projects in New Jersey—from initial-to-final fundraising and pre-construction approvals to ground-up construction and lease up,” said PEEK Managing Partner Phillip J. Evanski, who noted the firm is finalizing the remaining equity for PEEK Reock II QOF, LLC by year end while launching initial funding for PEEK Reock III QOF, LLC. “All of this comes on the heels of completing our first joint venture development—475 William St. in the Brick Church neighborhood of East Orange—since forming PEEK in late 2018.”
Like many transit-centric/high-walk-score cities in North Jersey, the City of Orange is leveraging its NJ Transit train station to attract today’s upwardly mobile professional tenant base seeking citified suburban living. Located at 75 Lincoln Ave., the station is a major transit artery for the Morris & Essex Lines with connections to Secaucus Junction and NY Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan with service to Hoboken Terminal.