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Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND) and Conifer Realty, LLC Hold Groundbreaking for $14.2 Million Affordable Rental Senior Housing Community

Anthony Marchetta, NJ Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Florence Township Mayor Craig Wilkie, Matt Reilly, Charles Lewis, and Sam Leone.
Anthony Marchetta, NJ Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Florence Township Mayor Craig Wilkie, Matt Reilly, Charles Lewis, and Sam Leone.

Duffy School Apartments Located at Historic Marcella L. Duffy Elementary School

Representatives from Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND) and its joint-venture development partner, Conifer Realty, LLC along with Township officials and other project partners held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of Duffy School Apartments - a 53-unit, $14.2 million affordable rental housing community for seniors - located at the historic Marcella L. Duffy Elementary School.

The project, designed to provide below-market rental units for low and moderate income senior citizens and adults with special needs aged 62+, is expected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2015. It’s anticipated that 133 full-time construction jobs will be created throughout the construction period.

“The start of construction at Duffy School Apartments is a perfect way for MEND to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of our founding in July 1969,” said Matt Reilly, President and CEO of MEND.  “We continue to vigorously pursue our affordable housing mission which is now needed more than ever.”

Duffy School Apartments will feature 35 units housed in the existing Marcella L. Duffy Elementary School Building and 18 units located in a new, three-story addition that will be attached to the eastern side of the former school.   Constructed using green building practices, units are equipped with Energy Star rated appliances and light fixtures, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and water-saving plumbing features.  Spacious and accessible floor plans, wall to wall carpeting in bedrooms and living rooms, and ceramic tile bathrooms are featured. 

Initial pricing for the 53 one-bedroom apartments are expected to range from $296-$813 per month but will not be finalized until the rent-up period begins in 2015.  Income restrictions apply.

The elementary school was initially built in 1924 as an expansion of structures that were built in the late 19th century.  The building has been vacant and unused since 2007 and will now be renovated and designated as a National and State Historic Landmark building. 

Key architectural elements of the school will be preserved, including the building façade, original main entry and the auditorium/gymnasium/stage area. Much of the building’s original tin ceilings will either be preserved or replaced with matching new tin ceilings.  Windows are being replaced with windows that are similar in appearance and design to the original windows.

According to Charles M. Lewis, Senior Vice President, Conifer Realty, LLC, “The conversion of the Duffy School into senior housing allows us to preserve an architectural treasure that has been an important part of the lives of so many people in Florence.”

The project is being funded through:  $12.9 million in low-income tax credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA); $1 million contributed from Florence Township’s municipal housing trust fund; and a $300,000 federal HOME loan from the Burlington County Community Development Office.

Additional key project partners include: Township of Florence; Red Stone Equity Partners/TD Bank; Kramer Marks Architects; Stout & Caldwell Engineers and Surveyors; MaGrann Associates; Conifer-LeChase Construction; and Gary F. Gardner, Inc.

Photo ID (left to right):
Anthony Marchetta, Executive Director, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), NJ Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Florence Township Mayor Craig Wilkie, Matt Reilly, President  & CEO, MEND, Charles Lewis, Senior Vice President, Conifer Realty, LLC, Sam Leone, Vice President, Conifer Realty, LLC.

About MEND
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development, Inc. (MEND) is a private, nonprofit, housing development organization founded by several Moorestown churches in 1969. MEND is a national and state award-winning developer dedicated to providing safe and affordable rental housing to senior citizens, disabled persons, and families of low and moderate income. MEND has developed 718 residential units at 29 locations in the Burlington County region. Over the last four decades, MEND’s affordable housing production efforts have represented a $150 million real estate investment in the region. Please visit www.mendinc.org for more information.

About Conifer Realty, LLC
Conifer Realty, LLC is a full-service real estate company specializing in the development and management of high-quality, affordable housing communities. Since its inception, the company has developed and/or acquired over 230 properties and over 17,300 apartment units. Conifer concentrates its business in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The company currently owns and manages over 13,000 apartment units throughout these regions. Please visit www.coniferllc.com for more information.

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