Housing options for veterans expanded in Hudson County at the start of this week with the completion of a 21,700-square-foot complex in Jersey City.
On Nov. 30, Tantum Real Estate celebrated the grand opening of 526 Ocean Ave. with a ribbon cutting ceremony including local stakeholders and elected officials. The property includes 20 units for veterans, and some set aside for homeless individuals who served in the military.
Housed in a four-story building, the property also includes 1,500 square feet of ground-level commercial space for social support services.
“I’m overwhelmed and humbled to finally open our doors to residents, including many that have bravely served our country. Today is a culmination of a years-long endeavor for Tantum, and a victory for our broader mission to foster a greater quality of life in communities throughout the region,” said Debra Tantleff, founding principal of Tantum. “The redevelopment of this property through public-private-partnership provides a roadmap for how governments and developers can collaborate to execute a new class of boutique affordable housing initiatives that address a significant societal need.”
In 2016, the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority purchased the property from the city for $1.
Tantum Real Estate was then granted a Jersey City Affordable Housing Trust Fund contract, which provides funding for affordable housing development throughout the state, in addition to funds through The HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which comes from both the municipality and Hudson County.
According to Jersey City-based Dresdner Robin, the project was approved by the Jersey City Planning Board in 2017. The land-use consultancy said it provided engineering design analysis and expert testimony for site planning and design, secured municipal entitlements and regulatory land-use permits, and supplied construction drawings and administration services.
“This is an excellent addition to the city, and it’s fulfilling to have the opportunity to provide our services on a project like this,” said Dresdner Robin’s associated director of land development, who also served as project manager for 526 Ocean Ave., Mark Vizzini. “The facility’s amenities will go far beyond just housing. It will provide counseling and support to our local veterans, and strengthen the Jersey City community as a whole.”
Dresdner Robin completed civil engineering, landscape and lighting design services for the low- and moderate-income housing facility.
Peer-led, not-for-profit Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey – which provides services for food access, unemployment, mental health assistance, and support groups – will occupy the ground floor at 526 Ocean Ave.
Community Enterprise Corp., CSPNJ’s housing affiliate, will manage the property, and worked with the Hudson County Continuum of Care to find residents in need of housing.
Tantum collaborated with the Jersey City Mural Arts Program to secure concepts for a street-level mural along Ocean Avenue titled “Red Tales,” by artist Vincent Ballentine, which decorates the building as a tribute to veterans. The piece depicts two pilots and World War II aircraft as an homage to the Tuskegee Airmen who served the U.S. during the war.
“The early success of this property sends a clear message: ending homelessness in Hudson County is an achievable goal, and it starts with access to affordable housing,” said CEC Chief Executive Officer Carol Sainthilaire.