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JERSEY CITY-Developers officially broke ground recently on Margaret S. Herbermann Manor, which consists of 45 new affordable and workforce housing units located in the Heights section of Jersey City. This is the second groundbreaking here in as many weeks.

A host of state and federal officials including Marge Della Vecchia, executive director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and Kathleen Naymola, director of community planning and development for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, joined Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, Hudson County executive Thomas A. DeGise, Ward D Councilman William Gaughan, Jersey City Redevelopment Agency executive director Robert Antonicello and other dignitaries from the city’s business, real estate and civic sectors at ceremonies held at the site of the new community located at the intersection of Secaucus Rd. and Summit Ave.

The five-story, all-brick elevator building will be constructed to meet LEED’s Silver certification and will comprise five low-income units, ten moderate-income units and 30 workforce housing units, according to developer Franklin Development Group. There will also be a ground-floor commercial component comprising two retail stores. Anticipated completion is spring of 2010.

“We’re excited about this project because it not only creates sustainable housing for our residents, but it also provides quality affordable and workforce housing,” said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. “Affordable housing is a vital component of building a greater city, and gives all of our residents the ability to achieve their piece of the American Dream.”

Margaret S. Herbermann Manor is the first project of its kind in the Heights section of Jersey City and is a critical component in a ten-year effort to redevelop the area, points out the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s Robert Antonicello. “This is the first affordable and workforce housing created in the Heights that’s not dedicated to seniors,” he says, adding that the project completes what was started more than 10 years ago with the creation of the Summit Plaza retail development and it represents a continuation of the agency’s mission to retain vital workers in Jersey City, including postal workers, retail managers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, clerks and others–some of whom commute up to two hours a day. “We want to entice people to stay in Jersey City and become involved in the community and neighborhood while also allowing them to spend more quality time with their families,” Antonicello says.

The $11-million project will be financed by a combination of New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s CHOICE program and M & T Bank. CHOICE was conceived to encourage the development of for-sale housing in Smart Growth areas throughout the state. With its focus on home ownership, the program is designed to stabilize targeted neighborhoods and stimulate economic growth.

“We’re proud to continue our long-standing partnership with Jersey City and the various local and state agencies involved in this project, which is rising in an area with arguably the greatest need for workforce housing in the city,” says Paul DeBellis, Sr., president of Franklin Development Group.

Named after the Jersey City-born physician and disabilities advocate, Margaret S. Herbermann Manor will comprise four stories of residential condominiums built over one floor of parking. The units will feature approximately 1,100 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, a living room, a dining area and a kitchen. Approximately 50% of the homes will be on one level and the balance will be duplex layouts.

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