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February 01, 2024

Camden's troubled Northgate One building to be converted into affordable housing tower

The decades-old property at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be renovated under new ownership

Development Housing
Camden Northgate One Provided Image/KMA Design Studio

The Northgate One apartment tower in Camden will undergo a $130 million renovation, shown in the rendering above, to reposition the property as an affordable housing complex.

Northgate One, the residential high-rise that sits just across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Camden, will soon undergo a $130 million renovation to be converted into an affordable housing complex, officials said Wednesday.

Constructed in 1963, the 21-story building at 433 N. Seventh St. was originally billed as a luxury apartment tower. It had been viewed as a beacon of hope for Camden's economic future, but the property fell into disrepair in subsequent decades. In 2022, city inspectors found more than 1,000 code violations at the 321-unit building, ranging from broken windows and plumbing issues to roach infestations and delayed repairs. Poor security at the property also made it a hotspot for crime and vagrancy. 

Hudson Valley Property Group, a company that specializes in affordable housing preservation, announced Wednesday it had closed on the acquisition of the property. The New York-based firm will partner with the City of Camden and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to rehabilitate the tower. Most of its units will become available to low-income renters using a combination of state and federal tax credits. Current tenants will not be displaced.

"We believe this property will see significant improvements under the ownership and care of a responsible developer in Hudson Valley Property Group, which brings a track record of providing high-quality affordable housing for their tenants," Camden Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen said.

The plan to rehab the property will ensure that 96.5% of its units are covered under a 20-year Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment program, which requires tenants pay no more than 30% of their household incomes toward rent. Additional income restrictions will be applied for a 30-year period through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, requiring tenants to make no more than 60% of the area's median income to reside at the property. Camden also will support the project with an agreement on a long-term tax incentive with the new owner.

Renovations at the property will include a revamped facade, infrastructure upgrades, replacements to mechanical systems and improvements to kitchens, bathrooms and other apartment features. The developer also will partner with police on an overhauled security plan using closed-circuit cameras and a new alarm system. 

The Northgate One project will be among the first in the state to utilize tax credits from New Jersey's Aspire Program, which was created in 2020 to support residential and commercial real estate development in downtown areas. The program aims to close financing gaps for mixed-income and transit-oriented projects.

The upgrades at Northgate One are expected to take place over the next two years.

Hudson Valley Property Group previously acquired and completed an $85 million renovation of the Community Meadows apartments — formerly the Crestbury Apartments — in Camden's Morgan Village. The 391-unit complex covers about 22 acres and consists of 42 two-story buildings. Before it was rehabbed, the apartment complex had been plagued with sewage problems, rodent infestations and mold outbreaks.

"This property has experienced significant challenges over recent decades, and we are extremely encouraged that it will now be managed by a proven, respected owner-operator that has already done great work in the city at Community Meadows and is committed to improving the quality of life of our residents," Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli said.