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EAST ORANGE, NJ-RPM Development, based in Montclair, NJ, has broken ground for Dr. King Plaza, a five-story complex in the downtown area of this Newark-area city of 70,000. The property will incorporate 96 rental units with a ground-floor retail complex. Most of the apartments will be designated as affordable housing.

The project, which is expected to be ready in about a year, is being built with the help of sizeable state and local incentives and financial assistance. At the local level, RPM will make annual payments to the city in lieu of taxes, with East Orange initially receiving 12.5% of residential rents and 15% of commercial rents. The total annual amount is expected to be in the $225,000 range.

The bulk of the financing, some $9.4 million, is coming from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. Other state funding is coming from the Division of Local Government Services ($3.4 million through its Balanced Housing Program), and the New Jersey Redevelopment Agency ($1.4 million from a Federal UDAG award.

Finally, Essex County is chipping in some $800,000, the Federal Home Loan Bank is adding $720,000 and RPM Development is putting up $1 million of its own.

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