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LumberYard Construction Could Begin This Month

Approval of the site plan for the property at the December borough Planning Board meeting cleared the way for construction to begin as early as this month.

With the borough Planning Board having approved its site plan Dec. 10, the Ingerman Group expects to close on the back building of the LumberYard property, and could begin construction there later this month.

Collingswood Mayor James Maley said that once the deal is completed, build-out of the existing 34 units could be completed within four to five months. They could be up for lease in the summer of 2013, although possibly not all at once, he said.

Work on the new, five-story apartment building that is now a vacant lot (see images above) would take a little longer. Additional state and county permitting processes are expected to put closing on that property at anywhere from April to June 2013, with an expected 12 to 14 months of construction to follow. That new building could be available for occupancy by the fall of 2014.

“They’ll probably be renting units in the back building four to six months after construction starts,” Maley said. “Even while they finish working there, they’ll be renting units out.”

Not a low-income housing project

Even though Maley has stated at previous Borough Commissioners meetings that the borough has satisfied its Section 8 housing requirements elsewhere in town, the question has been raised whether the new buildings would offer low-income housing.

An Ingerman representative confirmed to Patch that the LumberYard build-out is a market-rate housing project that has no Section 8 housing units associated with it. Furthermore, Camden County residents that qualify for Section 8 traveling vouchers would still be several hundred dollars short of affording rents in the one- and two-bedroom units.

According to this chart, the fair market rent for such units is $929 and $1,119, respectively. The cheapest rents available on the site are expected to be $1,300 to $1,400. The six or seven townhouse-style units that will be created in the completion of the existing LumberYard building are expected to rent for somewhere in the mid-to-low $2,000s.

“As far as I know, that’s the numbers,” Maley said. “You can see what the monthly vouchers would be and it’s not enough. Camden County vouchers wouldn’t pay that rent.”

One retail unit, a leasing office and the Ingerman Group

If Collingswood residents want additional evidence of its commitment to the project, Ingerman will also relocate its corporate headquarters to the ground floor of the new construction property.

Plans provided by Collingswood Borough Hall (above) show that the first floor of the new building additionally will house one 1,500-square-foot corner retail property (for which no tenant has yet been identified) and a leasing office. There will be no other commercial space on the property.

Ingerman oversees 5,000 housing units in four states and employs 200 people in its property management business. Part of the value proposition in taking on the cost of building rental and leased properties lies in maintaining them as revenue-generators, in which Ingerman will be aided by a 25-year PILOT agreement. 

Finally, Maley pointed out, the overwhelming consensus from existing tenants at the property supports completing the project as soon as possible.

“Everybody that’s part of the LumberYard unit is thrilled to death to get it going,” Maley said, “as are we. It’s time to build."

Jasomm January 07, 2013 at 02:03 PM
a few observations: 1) Good stuff, this is among the best options we could hope for in this spot. 2) the 'other' retail space is labeled as "Mangia," is there reason to believe Raymonds is coming back? 3) Floorplan B1 has a completely enclosed bathroom with no windows or doors 4) The Haddon Ave Facing facade on the top floor has a bit of a Second-Empire feel to it... I wonder if the Architects would be willing to taper the walls back at an angle around dormer windows and shingle the walls in grey to really bring out the style ... 5) duck and cover; here come the unappeasable detractors
Joe January 07, 2013 at 02:44 PM
With all respect, of course the "overwhelming consensus" of existing tenants would support completion; who wants to live in a perpetual construction zone? It pretty much falls in the "almost anything is better than this" category. Am I mistaken or is this going to be two stories taller than the existing buildings? Does the new building "mirror" the asthetic of the existing buildings? I worry that this is going to end up looking like an eternal reminder of the trials and tribulations suffered to get this project completed (i.e. it will look like it was completed by two different companies, years apart). Ingerman is getting a 25-year PILOT; what is available to everyone else in the building? The overall design is beautiful and I hope that this works out as anticipated. Ingerman moving its headquarters to the location should certainly provide tremendous assurance to anybody worried that this is going to turn into the Heights. BTW, it is fitting that they would use an establishment called "Mangia" as an example of a "retail" tenant. :)
TW January 07, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Instead of building another new building and spending more money. Why don't you finish the other units and make them complete. The location of the new building...is it really needed since 75% of the units are empty... make it a park and call it a day.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 04:40 PM
TW, completion of the other units is (the 34 in the back building) is what construction will begin on this month. Building the new structure and the other apartment rentals that will come along with them is what lends profitability to the project. I'm fairly certain that everyone involved hopes that once the buildings are finished, the townhouse properties also will move.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 04:53 PM
1. The "Mangia" storefront is an imaginary property that was created for the purposes of the mock-up, just to show where the retail space would go. (Can't imagine why they would use dummy copy of an Italian restaurant...). 2. I saw what you're pointing out about the B1 floorplan. I believe that's an oversight (similar units have the same walk-in-to-bathroom plan), but I remember thinking the same thing. 3. Not sure of any specifics about the dormers, but everything the borough Commissioners and Planning Board have said throughout this project is that the architectural feel is intended to look like it fits with the existing structure.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Joe you're of course right about the desire from residents to wrap this up. The height benchmark everyone at the borough offers about the new building is that it's comparable to the existing Verizon building on the property (it will max out at 70 feet, as shown here: http://collingswood.patch.com/articles/planning-board-approves-lumberyard-redevelopment). As far as what was available to LY tenants who bought the units, some of them received tax abatements; you can read more about them here: http://collingswood.patch.com/articles/meet-the-lumberyard-friends
Anne Carroll January 07, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I second TW's idea: "Make it a park and call it a day."
Will McGowan January 07, 2013 at 08:54 PM
This option would be considered "land banking". Basically the town sits on the real estate until "economic conditions" ( the mayor throws that around a lot )improve and the climate to build does not "force" you to build small, one bedroom units and you get to think more practical and long term. You out something "disposable" but aesthetic on there for a later date. While I am glad we are moving in the right direction with the older building, I would be in favor of a nice park until something more useful; like actual townhomes? come along to better the space.
Joseph Russell January 07, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Just out of curiosity, how many of the already built units are occupied? Like a good percentage?
kathy E. Beider January 09, 2013 at 04:03 PM
how about having the garage door on the 1st bldg during the Christmas holidays and NY holidays the garage door was open for at least 2 weeks. What's up there?
Giovanni Gino Caffarella January 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM
One of the many sensitive issues is the fact of low income housing. As I personally chose not to be a professional, I lack the funds to live in such a place, though I am very happy of my path. I do love the idea of this and whether or not this is a great thing for the town, I am not the one to say. Rather as said above, the low income issue can be a greater issue of not allowing this town to become a blight in this area. I know this truthful settlement may not be liked, nor the willingness to help our fellow man in any way we can. I love this town despite me being here for 6 years. Of the 43 states I have been, this has been a great place to live and enjoy life.
Will McGowan January 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM
@Gionanni. Please do not feel those of us against Section 8 or Fair Housing Choice are bad people with no compassion. It is an unfortunate but proven fact that the majority (NOT ALL!) of people who get something nice for a reduced rate (or free) are less likely to take care of it since they have no vested interest in it's ownership. Over time and usually a short time, the product falls apart, prices in surrounding parts decline and the place becomes blighted. If I were an owner in the original plan of the Lumberyard, i would be very cognizant of this as the units are already under the value that entry level buyers paid for them. When we talk about compassion for our fellow men then it should start there as those folks are not likely to see any equity in their homes in the near future.
Giovanni Gino Caffarella January 17, 2013 at 01:25 AM
I never thought that all people would feel that way but sometimes reality hits us hard. I always do wish well for the town and its decisions. I do not want to see blight in this town as it really has become my home(and I have lived in many great towns and I LOVE this town like my home town of San Diego!)
M January 18, 2013 at 05:57 AM
New town houses for low to mid 2,000's? How about one bedroom prices equivalent to center city rates? Who set these rates, because it seems above market for Collingswood. To me this plan is not sustainable because as nice an idea as Collingswood is, it's not center city Philly, nor is it haddonfield and you can't establish rental rates that equal those two established desirable markets without sustainable comparables. I saw the existing units & they are very nice, but id assume most investors are like me and would rather buy equivalents in haddonfield or center city for the same price and skip the risk of a concept market. I know some people follow there hearts when buying a home, but I dont think our economy can support more heartfelt actions of the overextended; I'd suggest some basic economic wisdom for a change and price these things out right or find yourself a long term location for a "FOR RENT" sign.
Will McGowan January 28, 2013 at 06:58 PM
And what do you do when you are ready to move on from renting these units? As any realtor will tell you, selling a one bedroom unit is very, very difficult. So as far as I can see, we turned the once "state of the art Lumberyard" into another Heights of Collingswood. Please don't tell me that the Borough will be mindful of how the place is managed. People innately DO NOT take care of things that they do not own. Did you ever get a rental loaner from a dealership? In time, you will see deterioration of the facility and it will "look" like a big apartment complex. If I were an original Lumberyard buyer who bought into the "dream" promised by that complex, I would be livid. The land should have been voted on by the taxpayers with the option of a sustainable "park" that could be taken down and developed when the market allowed. "Just getting rid of the eyesore" because it is a vacant hole is the definition of lipstick on a pig.
Tara R. March 05, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Honestly, I am excited about the prospect of renting in a better space. Having a two bathroom place would be awesome, especially with two teenage boys. I am currently cramped in a two bedroom one bath place in the Riverview. Most space in Collingswood is old with no storage and no closet space. Renting a house is expensive due to the age of homes and lack of insulation, good electrical, etc. I just wish they had some decently priced 3 bedrooms. Paying over $2,000 for a townhouse on a teacher's salary is impossible. plus, for some of us, home ownership is not an option.

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