Tagliareni Plaza Offers Transit-Oriented, Mixed-Income Rental Housing in Bayonne
Tagliareni Plaza is a few steps away from 45th Street station on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line. Image courtesy of Jose Carballo Architectural Group. Bayonne, New Jersey, the southern-most in a line of historically industrial cities along the Hudson River opposite New York City, shares with its neighbors in Hudson County a need for affordable rental housing. The city’s efforts to remedy this situation have recently produced Tagliareni Plaza, a transit-oriented, mixed-income development, set to open July 2013. Named after the late Joe Tagliareni, a staff member of the mayor’s office who helped many city residents with housing and other needs, the 46-unit building will provide workforce and special needs housing, as well as market-rate apartments and ground-floor commercial space.
Bayonne Encourages Redevelopment
The Hudson County 2010-2014 Five Year Consolidated Plan identifies a “critical [need for] affordable rental housing” in the area, which includes Bayonne. According to John Fussa, city planner and director of the Department of Community Development, Bayonne proactively encourages affordable multifamily and mixed-use development through such efforts as the Scattered Site Redevelopment Project, which identifies blighted sites for new construction or rehabilitation. Tagliareni Plaza occupies one of a dozen sites developed since the project began in 2005. The Bayonne Affordable Housing Trust Fund, financed by fees levied on residential, commercial, and industrial construction in the city, provided approximately $2.8 million in financing for Tagliareni Plaza.
“Tagliareni Plaza was developed because it was the perfect marriage of factors,” says Fussa. The site is steps away from the 45th Street station on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line, which will provide Tagliareni Plaza residents with access to three other stations in Bayonne, as well as to 20 more stations in Hudson and Bergen counties and to other rail, bus, and ferry service covering northern New Jersey, New York City, and beyond. The site’s transit-oriented location offers residents the possibility of substantially reducing their transportation costs. The development will also remediate the brownfield site, removing soils that had been contaminated by a gas station and eliminating the legacy of the burned-out gas station/convenience store that once stood on the site. Tagliareni Plaza will replace those blights with uses the neighborhood needs in an attractive building.
Tagliareni Plaza’s developer, Regan Development Corporation, worked closely with the city to provide much-needed affordable housing in the mixed-income development. Twelve units are designated for disabled veterans or people with physical disabilities who earn up to 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), and 28 units will be rented to workforce households earning between 50 and 60 percent of AMI. Rents for the one-, two-, and three-bedroom units will range from approximately $550 to $900 per month (49% to 54% of HUD’s FY 2013 fair market rents for Hudson County). The remaining six apartments, all two-bedroom units, will be rented at market rate. The five-story building will also include 820 square feet on the ground floor for a neighborhood store or delicatessen.
Affordable Units in Tagliareni Plaza
|1 bedroom||10||635 – 767|
|2 bedroom||22||907 – 1,064|
|3 bedroom||8||1,190 – 1,519|
Jose Carballo Architectural Group of River Edge, New Jersey designed the state-of-the-art building to be both energy efficient and elegant. The building features energy-saving equipment, appliances, windows, lighting, insulation, and heating and cooling systems, meeting the standards of the federal ENERGY STAR® program and reducing utility costs for residents. Tagliareni Plaza also includes amenities such as an elevator and a 43-space parking garage for residents in a part of the city where parking is needed. Apartments facing east have views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor.
Development of Tagliareni Plaza relied on federal, state, county, and city funding. Approximately $11.3 million in low-income housing tax credit equity was combined with a $900,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, a $1.4 million loan from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage and Finance Agency (HMFA) as well as a $1.2 million loan from HMFA’s Special Needs Housing Trust Fund. Hudson County provided a grant of $4.2 million in HOME Investments Partnerships program funds. In addition to providing the $2.8 million grant from the Bayonne Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Municipal Council exempted the affordable housing units from real estate taxes, although the owner will pay the city a fee in lieu of those taxes.
A Model of Transit-Oriented, Mixed-Income Development
Bayonne’s public information director, Joseph Ryan, emphasizes the city’s vision for “underutilized properties that can be transformed into something useful.” The city’s vision, supported by the Scattered Site Redevelopment Plan and the housing trust fund, accomplished exactly that with the Tagliareni Plaza project, which removed an urban blight while meeting a critical need for affordable housing in a mixed-income development with excellent access to transit. Tagliareni Plaza now stands as a model for a community’s vision becoming a reality. The city has recently designated a neighboring property for redevelopment, according to Fussa.