Fairstead and LIHC Investment Group have announced plans for a six-story mixed-use development at 127 Orchard Street in Newark, New Jersey. Part of Essex Plaza, a 13-building residential complex, the new structure will replace a surface-level parking lot and yield 365,000 square feet with 241 units. Forty percent of these will be set aside as affordable units for households and individuals at 60 percent area median income (AMI). In practice, that equates an annual income of $64,400 for a four-person household.
Available floor plans will range from one- to four-bedroom layouts with in-unit washer and dryers. Amenities will include a resident lounge, a fitness center, a package room, a bike room, and a roof deck. Additional components include ground-floor commercial space and an underground parking garage.
“To support the future of our cities, we need a variety of housing options serving affordable workforce and market-rate renters,” said Brett Meringoff, managing partner of development at Fairstead. “Having a sustainable place to live is the foundation everyone needs to work in and give back to their communities. Fairstead and LIHC are preserving and revitalizing the existing housing stock at Essex Plaza and proposing a new vision for additional housing at the site to further our investment in and partnership with the Newark community.”
As depicted in the rendering, the structure will be clad in various shades of earth-toned masonry with an orthodox grid of windows surrounded by metal paneling. Portions of the façade step back in a staggered pattern, adding variety to the otherwise understated design.
Fairstead and LIHC acquired the Essex Plaza portfolio in November 2021 in a $27 million deal. In addition to 1060 Broad Street, the building next to the parking lot, the portfolio included 12 buildings and a total of 691 affordable housing units, many of which are reserved for seniors.
As part of the acquisition, the developers are completing an extensive renovation project, which includes the installation of new Energy Star appliances and upgraded finishes, the replacement of existing windows, flooring repairs, amenity and security enhancements, new signage, and updated elevators. The project will also bring uniform internet and cable access to the apartments.
To finance the renovation project, the developers have partnered with the State of New Jersey, the City of Newark’s Department of Economic and Housing Development, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The new building is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification. The property will have an alternative address, but the developer has yet to confirm those details.