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Greenwood redevelopment symbolizes new chapter for East Orange, city says

EAST ORANGE-- For nearly 20 years, city officials saw the vacant 65-67 4th Avenue buildings as "an eyesore." 

Last week, the newly rehabilitated affordable housing units were reopened during a long-awaited ribbon-cutting ceremony in what the developers and city officials say symbolizes a new chapter for the Greenwood area.

The developer, Community Asset Preservation Corporation, acquired the building in August 2016 and spent $900,000 on rehabilitation over eight months, said Jeff Crum, CAPC's director of real estate. Costs were paid through construction financing from Community Housing Capital. 

The city had dedicated federal funds to restoring the abandoned building years ago, but the project stalled and remained incomplete until CAPC stepped in last summer. Individuals making less than $17,600 can apply to live in the 20-unit structure. 

"The community is very excited to see the property being returned to productive use," Crum said.

The company will renovate another 24 units at the site over the next 18 months. 

City officials hope the affordable housing units will bring a "level of stability" to the area, which has been plagued with high crime rates for decades. In 2016, East Orange ranked among the the most dangerous places to live in the state based on crime statistics. 

"This newly-rehabbed building is a catalyst for revitalization of this entire community," Valerie Jackson, Director of Policy, Planning and Development, said in a statement to NJ Advance Media. 

But the Greenwood area project is only one of a slew of East Orange redevelopment plans in the works.

About $600 million of private capital has been invested in 5,000 residential units and 300,000 square feet in retail and industries. Projects currently under construction include more than 100 residential units on South Harrison Street, North Walnut Street, Eaton Place and Park Avenue. 

The dozens of projects, which officials say will draw in millions in tax revenues, come after a renewed effort to clean up the city which included cleaning out 700 abandoned properties in the city. 


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