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Renovations, big smiles for Storms Ave. seniors
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Renovations, big smiles for Storms Ave. seniors

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Gettie Williams, an 86-year-old resident at 111 Storms Ave. in Jersey City, is loving her renovated apartment.

"The place is beautiful," said Williams, showing off the new floors, kitchen, paint job, and upgraded lighting fixtures in her one-bedroom unit.

"They (the contractors) did a wonderful job," added Williams, a retired factory worker who has lived at the seniors building for 18 years. "I went to the doctor and when I came back I had a new kitchen."

Williams is one of 79 lucky tenants at the Storms Avenue Apartments, where a ribbon-cutting was held yesterday to celebrate the 11-month rehab effort by the building's new owners, the Housing Trust of America Company, based in Columbia, Md.

HTA spent roughly $19,000 to perform a "moderate rehab" on each unit, said HTA President Wallace Scruggs.

In addition to the units, HTA spiffed up a lounge area on the first floor with carpeting, sofas and a high-definition TV, and added a new coat of paint, along with outdoor furniture on a seventh-floor outdoor patio.

The construction loan for the project was provided by Wachovia Bank and the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency kicked in a nearly $7 million loan to be paid back over 40 years.

The city of Jersey City also played a key role by granting the project a 40-year tax abatement.

"You have a wonderful finished product," Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said yesterday. "Part of the deal is that it will stay affordable housing for another 40 years."

Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson, who represents the area, told the seniors that she's no fan of 40-year abatements.

"But for my seniors, it's worth it," Richardson said. "We are in dire need of affordable senior housing."

Posted on: 2008/6/18 11:12
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