RAMSEY, NJ-Partner Engineering and Science has established a national HUD Due Diligence group under the direction of Frank Romeo, which will be headquartered here in the firm’s Tri State operations.

Due diligence requirements for the purchase or refinancing of a variety of multifamily projects under HUD’s Multifamily Accelerated Processing program require an additional level of expertise as well as familiarity with HUD requirements, according to Romeo. “Inspection requirements are much more stringent and the review process is longer and more detailed,” he tells “A HUD Phase I Environmental Site Assessment requires an evaluation of surrounding properties not only for typical environmental concerns but also for historic preservation, proximity of floodplain, noise impact to the property from nearby roadways, airports or railroads, evaluation of coastal management zones and endangered wildlife,” he adds.

“These assessments require a great amount of detail, but when the conduit market was thriving they were typically pushed to the side in favor of easier, more profitable work,” continues Romeo. “However, as HUD has revamped what was once an inefficient mortgage approval process, more and more borrowers are seeking long-term loans for recently constructed or substantially rehabilitated, self-sustaining properties under the MAP program.”

The engineers and architects in the new HUD group are MAP and LEAN Certified–important qualifications in the universe of HUD due diligence, adds company president Joe Derhake. Joining Romeo in Partner’s new HUD practice are technical director Jerl Smith; senior project manager Sean Daly; environmental scientist Joseph Selinger; and national client managers Summer Gell, Kimberly Houston and Rob Vaughn.Collectively, the group has more than 35 years in performing HUD Phase I andII ESAs and Project Capital Needs Assessments on multifamily, senior housing, assisted living and nursing care properties.