N.J. Redevelopment Authority assists with mixed-use project in New Brunswick

TRENTON – The state Redevelopment Authority today approved a $1.5 million commitment to a developer to help acquire land in New Brunswick to build a mixed-use project containing apartments and commercial properties.

The project, called Somerset Mews, calls for a 14-story building with 200 apartments, of which 100 units will have one bedroom and one bathroom; 58 will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and 42 will have three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

There would be five affordable housing units and the remainder would be market rate housing. Rents for the market-rate units would range between $1,600 and $2,800.

Although there used to be a 20 percent requirement for affordable units in such housing projects, Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa, who runs the authority meetings, said that statutory requirement has been lifted.

The project’s developer is Boraie Development, which was established in 1985 and has redeveloped several properties in New Brunswick.

Roy Sutherland of the Redevelopment Authority said the requirement by the developer to provide some affordable units “does take some money out of their pocket.”

In addition to the apartments, the project also calls for 12,000 square feet of retail space and a health club.

The $82.6 million project is already benefitting with public funds made possible through more than $70 million in Urban Transit Hub tax credits it has received, made possible by the Economic Development Authority.

Caryn Franzini, who heads the state EDA and also sits on the Redevelopment Authority, abstained from voting on the loan commitment at Thursday morning’s meeting.

The commitment of $1.5 million in a loan from the USA Program is contingent upon the developer, Boraie Development, providing a market feasibility study.

The loan would help provide $4.5 million in equity, according to authority officials. They said that the $1.5 million is simply a commitment and not a “closing.”

To see an artist’s rendering of the project, visit the developer’s Web site at www.boraie.com/development.html. N.J. Redevelopment Authority assists with mixed-use project in New Brunswick