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."