Nick Moramarco

A former “super block” of aging public housing has been replaced with 104 new townhouse-style buildings in a walkable neighborhood in Asbury Park, N.J.

Made up of 11 two- and three-story buildings, Boston Way Village has immediately improved the affordable housing options in the area as well as the larger neighborhood. The development is one of the largest residential construction projects in the city’s west side in more than half a century.

Every residential unit has its own front door and covered entrance to the street.
Nick Moramarco Every residential unit has its own front door and covered entrance to the street.

After demolishing 126 public housing units that dated back to 1952, developers had a clean slate to redesign and build an even better community of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Now, each home has an entrance directly to the street, eliminating safety concerns that came with the stairwells and other elements that were part of the old design.

A key to the development was a public-private partnership involving the Asbury Park Housing Authority, The Alpert Group, and The Metro Co., with each bringing different expertise and skills to the project, say team members.

Residents from the former public housing were given priority to return to the new community, along with victims of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, six apartments were set aside for families that had been homeless.

“It’s absolutely made a difference,” says Thomas Sahlin, executive director of the housing authority. “… There’s a lot of history in the community. There are residents who have used public housing as a springboard as it’s intended to be. They went out to become doctors and lawyers. Some of those individuals have come back, and the main comment is they’re impressed about how we’ve been able to turn around the site.”

Designed to meet Energy Star standards, the development has units set aside for residents earning no more than 40%, 47.5%, and 57.5% of the area median income.

Financing for the $29.4 million development included about $10 million in low-income housing tax credit equity as well $12.7 million in grant funds earmarked for the restoration of multifamily housing after the hurricane.