By Emily T. DeMasi
NJBankers has partnered with the New Jersey League of Community Bankers to offer NJBankers member banks participation in a well-established, successful program to help them participate in Community Reinvestment Act lending. The Thrift Institutions Community Investment Corp. of New Jersey (TICIC) is now an endorsed vendor of the NJBA Service Corp.
Organized by the league in 1991, TICIC’s purpose was to form a lending consortium to originate affordable housing loans throughout the state which, in addition to providing an important service to low- and moderate-income citizens, would augment banks’ compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act.
TICIC seeks out significant projects, conducts the underwriting process and solicits banks to participate in the loan. The consortium is a valuable and advantageous approach, since many of the loans may be too large or perceived as more risky for a single financial institution to take on. TICIC is an innovative approach for banks to impact their local communities, get CRA credit for the participations, and spread the risk on projects that are experiments in socializing and revitalizing communities.
Though TICIC’s primary focus remains affordable housing, business has expanded to include loans or investments that promote and enhance community development. In addition to affordable housing for low- or moderate-income individuals, TICIC offers loans that facilitate community services targeted to these individuals, activities that promote economic development, activities that revitalize or stabilize low- or moderate-income geographies and activities that support designated redevelopment districts and transit villages. For 17 years, those who benefited from TICIC’s work included the physically disadvantaged, special needs citizens, seniors and low- to moderate-income citizens and families. TICIC is open to funding any facility that will benefit the economic development of a community. It is focused on the positive way that a project can impact, change and revitalize a community. TICIC’s business includes profit and nonprofit organizations, new construction, suburban neighborhoods, urban neighborhoods and rehabilitated buildings.
TICIC has been a rousing success for development in New Jersey. Since its pioneering beginning, TICIC has closed over $400 million in loans, about $160 million of which were permanent loans, with the remainder construction loans. And TICIC’s pipeline is now about $175 million, the majority of which are construction loans.
The very first loan TICIC closed financed a 22-unit apartment complex in Newark of affordable housing for low-income families. Since then, TICIC has financed almost 800 affordable family housing units in this urban community. TICIC has also financed affordable family housing in Irvington, Jersey City, Orange, Trenton, Elizabeth, Paterson, East Orange, Camden, Morristown and Eatontown. In total, TICIC has financed over 3,000 affordable family units throughout New Jersey.
In addition to housing for families, TICIC has also financed age-restricted housing for independent senior citizens. The 1,400 units financed in projects such as Cranford Senior Housing, Siena Village at Wayne, Cedar Street Commons in Livingston, North Bergen Renaissance, Morningstar Senior Citizens in Linden, Raritan Renaissance and Cortlandt Apartments in Perth Amboy, Lincoln Hill Village in West Milford, Pewter Village in Collingswood, Salem Senior Village and Buena Gardens Senior Apartments continue to enhance the lives of senior citizens throughout the state.
In addition to independent senior housing, TICIC has financed construction of 600 assisted-living units in Boonton, Tinton Falls, South Brunswick, Bordentown, West Orange and Teaneck. These facilities afford residents the ability to age in a place with levels of care that increase to accommodate a resident’s needs. These facilities also include special sections set aside to care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Working With The Community
TICIC also works with community-based organizations to facilitate projects they see as necessary and important to various communities in New Jersey. For example, TICIC worked with New Community Corp. (NCC), one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit housing providers, to finance a Workforce Development Center consisting of a 24,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art vocational training/career counseling facility and a placement agency located at 201 Bergen St. in Newark. This partnership between NCC and the loan consortium assembled by TICIC to provide this financing was selected by the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and the Federal Housing Finance Board to receive a “Community Partnership Award” on May 25, 2000 in Washington, D.C.
Also in conjunction with NCC in Newark, TICIC financed the construction and ongoing operation of a centralized health care training center for a health care work force of approximately 400 employees. At this facility, on a 10,700-square-foot parcel of land located on the southeast corner of the intersection of South Orange and Littleton avenues, health care trainees of all levels – including nursing students, certified nurses aides, home health care workers and home friends – have the opportunity to utilize the training facilities and perform internships and clinical rotations at a 180-bed extended care facility and the adult medical day care center adjacent to the site.
The building also houses the Essex Valley Visiting Nurse Association and the Family Service Bureau of Newark. NCC Founder Monsignor William J. Linder, in remarks offered at the dedication ceremony, said this facility allows New Community Corp. “to move to the next level in providing community-based health care services to residents and in offering real economic development” for inner city health care professionals.
Then New Jersey Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey pointed out that it “consolidates and centralizes vital health care services for Newark residents while providing employment opportunities offering a good career ladder for minority residents and their families.”
In Perth Amboy, King Plaza is nearing completion. Consisting of 249 residential units, 66,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and a four-deck parking garage with 500 parking spaces, King Plaza will revitalize the downtown shopping area of the city.
Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas commented during the groundbreaking ceremony, “This is a project we believed in since its inception. The onset of site work is a testament to the redeveloper’s commitment to the city and the city’s commitment to its residents and merchants.
“This project will ensure the continued success and growth of our downtown in the years to come,” Vas continued.
In a meeting with banks considering participation in the project’s loan, Vas emphasized the city’s resolve to partner to finance this project. He referred to it as a prototype for urban redevelopment.
TICIC closed a loan in 2007 for the third phase of the Fairview Village Redevelopment in Camden. At the center of the Fairview neighborhood is Yorkship Square, a traditional high-density, mixed-use town center. In 1974, Yorkship Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Camden City Council established the Yorkship Village (Fairview) Historic District on May 11, 1995.
The homeownership phase of this project has focused on the renovation of over 100 vacant single-family homes throughout the Fairview neighborhood. Through the first two phases of this redevelopment project, referred to simply as Fairview Village I and Fairview Village II, 70 homes were completely renovated and sold to qualified buyers in this community. The complete rehabilitation of an additional 35 homes in Fairview Village III is underway. And discussions are underway to start Fairview IV.
TICIC also closed a loan recently to enable the acquisition of an approximate 9.5-acre tract designated as The Broadway Arts Center in Long Branch, on which will be developed over 500 residential units, 330,000 square feet of retail space, and the restoration or replacement of the Paramount and Clem Summers theaters. This project is a multi-phase development plan conceived to meet the demands of a “Hometown Downtown” by meeting the needs of Long Branch’s residential base. It will create a diversity of job and housing opportunities in order to achieve Long Branch’s “Walk to Work City” objective; provide student housing to reinforce the idea of an “Urban Campus” centered on the local learning institutions; and re-establish Long Branch as a regional downtown by supplementing the city’s commercial and entertainment enterprises. Construction is scheduled to commence in the fall of this year.
Emily T. DeMasi is communications manager of the New Jersey League of Community Bankers. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on TICIC and how to join the consortium, contact Gordon Ur at (908) 272-8500, ext. 620 or via e-mail at email@example.com.