Mill Street Square utilizes both new construction and the reuse of a historic mill to bring 74 affordable homes to Paterson, New Jersey.
WinnCompanies Mill Street Square utilizes both new construction and the reuse of a historic mill to bring 74 affordable homes to Paterson, New Jersey.

A historic mill has been transformed into part of a new community that’s focused on grandparents raising their grandchildren in Paterson, New Jersey.

WinnCompanies has revitalized the Argus Mill, a vacant, four-story brick building dating back to the mid-1870s, into six loft-style, two-bedroom apartments, with program space for the nonprofit Grandparents Relatives Care Resource Center. It serves as the gateway to the new Mill Street Square development.

The developers also built a new four-story apartment building for 68 low- to moderate-income households, created a new parking garage for the Paterson Parking Authority, and restored the historic Thompson and Ryle Houses as the offices of the nonprofit Paterson Music Project.

All 74 apartments are low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) units, with 52 units targeted to multigenerational households with grandparents raising their grandchildren and earning less than 50% of the area median income (AMI). Families meeting the grandfamily definition will be eligible for project-based rental assistance from the Paterson Housing Authority.

The remaining 22 units are for families earning below 80% of the AMI, also under the LIHTC program. Fifty-four of the new apartments are two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms to serve the needs of larger families in Paterson.

“Mill Street Square showcases how strong public-private partnerships can come together to meet Paterson’s pressing need for affordable housing,” said WinnCompanies president Gilbert Winn. “We’re excited to begin leasing a development that has been a priority for the city for many years. Our local partners at ART-JIUS Enterprises, backed by catalytic financing from state and private sources, were critical to making this unique project a reality.”

Paterson mayor André Sayegh praised the $26 million project.“This development addresses Paterson's urgent need for affordable housing and provides a haven for grandparents raising their grandchildren,” Sayegh said. “It's a testament to our commitment to our community's well-being and inclusivity."

Funds for Mill Street Square came from construction and permanent financing provided by Bank of America and Citi Community Capital; tax-exempt bonds and 4% LIHTCs issued by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA); LIHTC and federal historic tax credit equity from Bank of America; an Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) state tax credit award from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; an ERG bridge loan from New Jersey Community Capital and BlueHub Capital; ERG credit equity syndicated by Fallbrook Financial Services Co.; Department of Housing and Urban Development project-based vouchers administered by the Paterson Housing Authority; and HOME and local funding from the city of Paterson.

"Multigenerational households are an often overlooked and underserved family type. Mill Street Square not only addresses our state's critical affordable housing needs but does so for grandparents who are the primary caretakers of children,” said NJHMFA executive director Melanie R. Walter. “We are proud to have contributed $37.9 million in financing for this project, which is a testament to how innovative public-private partnerships can make a lasting impact on Paterson families."

“Argus Mill is terrific example of the important impact that affordable and middle-income housing can have on the families and neighborhoods in Paterson,” added Mary Thompson, senior vice president of Community Development Banking at Bank of America. “WinnDevelopment and partner ART-JIUS had the vision to create a unique housing experience that prioritizes grandparents’ roles in raising grandchildren while contributing to a growing, vibrant community.”

WinnDevelopment senior vice president David Ginsberg and senior project directors Laura Manville and Lindsay Finkenstaedt led the partnership with Owen Tonkins and Daryll Tyson, the principals of ART-JIUS Enterprises, who were both born and raised in Paterson and who have also led successful development efforts in Maryland and Georgia.

Officials noted that more than $5 million in contracts were awarded to Section 3 and minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), exceeding project goals by more than 35%. Nine MWBE businesses were hired during construction and 20% of all construction spending went to MWBE businesses. Working with its partner, Renaissance Groups, WinnDevelopment also helped four existing local businesses become certified and registered as MWBEs in New Jersey, expanding their access to public-sector business opportunities. Thirty-one Paterson residents were hired during construction.

The project has been certified through both the Zero Energy Ready Homes and Energy Star Multifamily New Construction green building programs. The high-efficiency design features include continuous insulation and triple-pane windows, energy-recovery ventilation systems, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, LED lighting, and Energy Star appliances. The new residential building features a 97-kilowatt solar PV system on its roof, which will produce approximately 120,000 kilowatt hours of renewable electricity every year, offsetting approximately 35% of the building’s electricity load.

Coppa Montalbano Architects was the architect; Paulus Sokolowski and Sartor Engineering served as the civil engineer; Public Archaeology Laboratory served as historic consultant; ACME Heritage Consultants provided archaeological services; Renaissance Groups led efforts to recruit local and MWBE businesses; Friend and Wenzel provided local legal counsel; and Berman Indictor served as transactional counsel.

Mayor André Sayegh leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Mill Street Square.
WinnCompanies Mayor André Sayegh leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Mill Street Square.