East Orange senior apartments to be redeveloped

EAST ORANGE, NJ — National affordable housing developer Community Preservation Partners announced Aug. 7 its first rehabilitation project in New Jersey: a $123 million overhaul of the Norman Towers senior apartments in East Orange in a joint venture with L+M Development Partners.

CPP and L+M purchased the property for $94 million and will invest more than $29 million in improvements. Affordable housing mandates for the community were set to expire in 10 years but will now be extended for 30 years as part of the purchase agreement.

Located on Walnut Street in East Orange, the 406-unit Norman Towers affordable housing community was built in 1980 and has not received any major renovations since the original construction.

“We’re proud to add another state to our growing Eastern portfolio and the Norman Towers project is a great way to make our New Jersey debut,” CPP Vice President Seth Gellis said. “In keeping with our mission of enriching lives and strengthening neighborhoods, we’re giving the Norman Towers a complete facelift in addition to new amenities and community activity areas to revitalize the quality of life for the senior residents.”

Upgrades planned for individual apartment homes will include energy-efficient appliances and functional upgrades such as new cabinets and countertops to make the units new again.

CPP also plans enhancements to the common areas both inside and out, including an expansion of the community room and the remodeling of additional spaces, a new computer room and fitness center, as well as new landscaping, lighting, built-in barbecues and outdoor dining areas.

Construction is expected to be completed in two years.

“Much of our work in Northern New Jersey is focused not just on revitalizing properties but also ensuring that those living in them can remain in their homes,” said Jeffrey Moelis, managing director of preservation at L+M Development Partners. “We are proud to work with CPP as well as our government and financial partners, including the city of East Orange, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Freddie Mac, HUD and Wells Fargo, to deliver essential upgrades and preserve affordability for seniors at Norman Towers.”

Mayor Ted Green said Norman Towers has been a staple residential community in the city for generations and a beacon along the Garden State Parkway for 40 years.

“This significant investment by Community Preservation Partners and L+M Development Partners is a game changer for the revitalization of residential properties in the city,” Green said. “This pandemic has reinforced the real value of living in a ‘home’ that nurtures the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of those who live in it. These planned renovations will set the standard for affordable and contemporary senior living in the city of East Orange.”

Fifth Ward Councilmembers Alicia Holman and Mustafa Brent said they are both looking forward to this highly-anticipated renovation project. 

“Norman Towers was very well maintained under the former owners and I am in full support of this project not only for the residents who live there, but for the Norman Towers Complex remaining open and accessible as a venue for communitywide meetings,” said Holman, who also said she appreciated the new owners listening to and incorporating resident feedback into the construction plans. 

“Providing the highest quality of service and living conditions are cornerstones of any successful community, and East Orange is working to become a leader in this regard,” Brent said.

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