The Argus Mill in Paterson’s Great Falls Historic District dates back to the 19th century, and a new project officially underway at the site will help extend its legacy into the future.
On Wednesday, construction started on a $26 million development that will bring 74 units of affordable housing to the Argus Mill site. The Argus Ellison project from WinnDevelopment and Argus Ellison Development will feature six two-bedroom apartments in the historic mill building and a new four-story, wood frame apartment building, parking deck and programming space for the Grandparents Relatives Care Resource Center.
The project is being led by WinnDevelopment Senior Project Director Laura Manville as a partnership with that company, Argus Ellison Development’s Owen Tonkins and Daryll Tyson, and the GRCRC.
Paterson natives, Tonkins and Tyson were on hand to celebrate the start of construction on Nov. 3, along with WinnDevelopment executives, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and other statewide leaders.
“Having done major projects in our current hometown of Baltimore, it’s gratifying to come back to the city that we grew up in and be a part of this great and much-needed project,” Tonkins said.
“Paterson is our foundation! It has taken us three years to make this wonderful project come to fruition. It’s a part of our family legacy,” added Tyson.
The Argus Ellison project will be certified to Energy Star Homes standards with the work expected to create 110 construction jobs, WinnDevelopment said. According to the company, qualified Paterson residents and local minority- and women-owned businesses will have top hiring priority.
The completed building will be operated by WinnResidential.
Originally built as a warehouse for a nearby textile mill – it later manufactured mosquito netting and yarn – the historic Argus Mill structure will serve as the entry to the development and feature six apartments, WinnDevelopment said.
The Ryles and Thompson Houses – additional historic structures on the property dating back to the early 1830s – will also see improvement from the project: The Ryles House will be an onsite management office and The Thompson House will continue to house the Paterson Music Project, a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts.
According to WinnDevelopment, O.A. Peterson of Montclair will serve as general contractor. Coppa Montalbano Architects of Totowa is the architect, PS&S of Warren will serve as the civil engineer, Public Archaeology Laboratory Inc. will serve as historic consultant, Renaissance Groups will monitor hiring and MWBE goals, Friend and Wenzel of Clifton is providing local legal counsel, and Berman Indictor of Philadelphia is serving as transactional counsel.
The parking deck project is being done in coordination with the Paterson Parking Authority.
Additional financing provided by:
- An Economic Redevelopment and Growth tax credit from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
- A construction loan from Bank of America
- LIHTCs equities and Federal Historic Tax Credits equities from the Bank of America
- An ERG bridge loan from New Jersey Community Capital and BlueHub Capital
- An ERG credit equity syndicated by Fallbrook Financial Services Co.
- HUD Project Based Vouchers administered by the Paterson Housing Authority
- HOME and Regional Contribution Amount funding from the City of Paterson are financing the project
According to WinnDevelopment, the Argus Ellison project is being financed through construction and permanent financing from Citi Community Capital, tax-exempt bonds and 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency.
“The Argus Ellison Development project is an example of how public-private partnerships can create innovative infill development that is both equitable and sustainable. My administration championed this project from the outset and was enthusiastic in allocating both ERG State Tax Credits, as well as additional resources to ensure the project’s success,” said Sayegh. “Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing portion of the Paterson population, so I am particularly pleased they are being targeted as future tenants. Also, the fact that the development team involves local Patersonians, makes this project a win-win.”
All units at Argus Ellison development will be Low Income Tax Credit eligible affordable- and moderate-income housing, WinnDevelopment said, with 52 apartments targeted to families earning below 50% of Area Median Income who hold vouchers from the Paterson Housing Authority.
That leaves 22 moderate-income units for families earning below 80% of AMI.
Two- and three-bedroom residences will make up more than two-thirds of the apartments, with units set aside for multi-generation households.
“With the support of city and state officials, the Argus Ellison development will showcase that it is possible through strong public-private partnership, historic adaptive reuse, and catalytic state financing to meet Paterson’s pressing need for affordable housing,” said WinnDevelopment Vice President David Ginsberg. “We’re extremely excited to start work on a development that has been a priority for the City of Paterson for many years and will stimulate economic opportunities for Paterson residents. We are also proud to partner with our local African American partners Owen Tonkins and Daryll Tyson and look forward to the day when our first residents move into their new homes.”
Long-time Paterson nonprofit GRCRC will occupy new program and office space at Argus Ellison. The group offers thousands of grandparents and kinship caregivers with meals, clothing, furniture, services and referrals to local service providers. At Argus Mill, GRCRC will also provide support services to residents.
Argus Mill was added to the National Historic Register in 1986.