Passers-by may have noticed the buildings coming up and taking shape behind the Rite Aid Pharmacy along Campbell Street in Camden.
The buildings are all part of Camden’s newest affordable housing option, Cedarbrook Apartments, which is being developed by Greenway Residential Development LLC, a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer.
The property is part of the site of the former Boylan-Haven Mather Academy. Some 60 two and three bedroom apartment units, to be housed in three buildings, are currently under construction, according to Chad McGinty, project manager for WXZ Construction, who is doing the work.
“We’re coming along well,” McGinty said. “We are starting to install streets and have most of the utilities in place. We should be turning units over starting in the month of May.”
The two bedroom units will be around 1,100 square feet and usually rent, on average, for $500 to $600 per month, McGinty said. The three bedroom units are slightly larger, around 1,200 square feet, and generally rent for $600-$750 a month, he said.
McGinty noted that those numbers are averages – rents are determined based on such factors as number of members in the household and income levels – but that the units will be very attractive, well-built, and affordable.
The buildings will be brick façade, three story walk-ups designed with an eye and feel for Camden.
“Our people are good at choosing styles and materials – we all want this to look right and fit in with the look and feel of Camden,” he said.
Other amenities will include a leasing center/office property as well as significant green space throughout the property. In fact, monuments, signage, and the original iron Mather Academy sign, which has been located in a small pocket park fronting Campbell Street, will continue to be preserved, McGinty said.
One point city officials and the developers want to continue to stress is the fact that this is not a Section 8 project, but rather a development put together by a private company that utilizes federal Section 42 tax credits to create and provide affordable housing. What that means is the people who live there must be employed, must be able to prove income, and must meet certain criteria to be eligible.
In fact, the application and vetting process takes at least 120 days, McGinty said. To that end, the application process will probably be opened up in February; a third party group, Royal American Property Management, Inc. will handle that aspect of the project, he said.
The goal is to have the property fully leased and occupied 60 days after it opens, McGinty said – and in his experience, that will probably happen sooner than that.
The project started having a positive economic impact for the city back in the summer when they first broke ground; WXZ paid the city more than $100,000 in license and utility fees before construction even started. Ultimately, the developer will invest more than $5 million in the project, McGinty said.
“This is a market driven project – that protects everybody,” McGinty said. “There is a definite need for it or we wouldn’t be here.”
The city of Camden has been focused on revitalizing that area of the city for some time. Not only is the city buying decrepit, derelict properties for demolition, clean up and redevelopment, but the city has committed to build a major community amenity nearby – a tennis complex that will be located just down Campbell Street from the apartment complex at the corner of Campbell and York Streets.