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Groundbreaking for 86-Unit Affordable Apartment Building in Montgomery Township on Oct 23

By Barbara A. Preston | October 19, 2019

PIRHL Developers, LLC (PIRHL), in partnership with H.E.L.P. Development Corp (HELP), announced they will start construction on October 23 of "The Apartments at Montgomery Crossing," a $22 million, 86-unit development for working families, senior citizens, and professionals who earn incomes at or below 60 percent of the local median income.

Developers have cleared the trees from the future Montgomery Crossing site on Hartwick Drive — near the intersection of routes 518 and 206.

PIRHL and HELP are celebrating this achievement with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, October 23 at 11 am at the site: 9 Hartwick Drive, Montgomery Township.

The four-story multifamily apartment building will contain 86 one, two, and three bedroom affordable units. The site is identified in the Montgomery Township Settlement Agreement with Fair Share Housing Center. The 86 units will have 132 off-street parking spaces, with overflow parking along Hartwick Drive.

This event is open to the public. Representatives from the NJ Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency, the Township of Montgomery, and the county will be speaking at the event.

“We are proud that the Apartments at Montgomery Crossing will offer living options that are affordable, as part of Montgomery Township’s continued commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. We are pleased to support initiatives that build a stronger, more resilient, more equitable Montgomery,” Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer said in a press release from the developer.

The Apartments at Montgomery Crossing will feature two-story apartments as well as stacked flats. Community amenities include a community room, fitness and activity rooms, bike storage, on-site management, social services, a playground, and dog run.

A supportive service program will be implemented for the development with a constant sensitivity to each family’s immediate needs, but also with an eye on their respective progress and ability to achieve personal development. An on-site empowerment services coordinator will be hired to place focus on the day to day service needs of the families living in the development.

“With financial resources for affordable housing being so limited, PIRHL is grateful to our exceptional financial and development partners for making this day possible. We look forward to celebrating the grand opening next year and look forward to being a part of the Montgomery community,” says Lara Schwager, vice president of development at PIRHL.

A variance was required for the minimum front yard setback from Hartwick Drive in certain areas where 30 feet is required and 24 feet was proposed. A variance was also requested to permit two freestanding signs where one is permitted.

One sign will be at the corner of Village Lane (formerly Research Road) and Hartwick Drive and the other at the entrance of the parking lot.

The Montgomery Township Planning Board approved this development on May 21, 2018 in with yes votes from the following members: Campeas, Conforti, DeRochi, Matthews, Sarle, Wilson, Glockler, and Conry. Nays: None.

Srinivas Nakka, of Hartwick Drive, the Hillside HOA Board President, testified at the May 2018 meeting that Hillside residents "were not told about the project" when they purchased their houses. "The project will add more traffic and exasperate the current conditions," he said.

Francine Pfeffer of Mystic Drive, testified that she was "concerned the affordable housing as proposed is segregated and sticks out. It should be integrated into the Sharbell townhouse community."

Ratnakar Chemudu of Hartwick Drive had testified he was concerned with the impact to the traffic. He said he "moved to Montgomery a few years ago to enjoy the lavish greens and spacious houses. Development is being concentrated in this area." When he purchased his house, he said "the facts were hidden and Sharbell should have disclosed these developments to him."

"With the additional homes proposed, the roads in the area will be packed," Chemudu said. "When he travels across Route 206 into Rocky Hill, it (already) takes one or two lights to get through the intersection."

The Montgomery Planning Board replied that a proposed loop road network will help to disperse some of the traffic throughout the County Route 518 and State Route 206 intersection area. and will help to alleviate congestion at the intersection.

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Founded in 2004, PIRHL is a full-service investor, developer, general contractor and owner of affordable and workforce family housing with offices in Hamilton and Chicago, Illinois.

To date, PIRHL has developed more than 6,000 units in over 60 properties (including both new and renovation), serving the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast regions of the U.S.

Financing for the development leverages the 9 percent LIHTC from the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), with equity raised through Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Additional sources include a loan through Montgomery Township, an Affordable Housing Program grant secured through the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, as well as HOME funds secured through Somerset County. NJHMFA also provided sources through the Money Follows the Person Housing Partnership program to set aside housing units for qualified individuals transitioning from nursing facilities to community settings.

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