ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic City Housing Authority has chosen the Michaels Organization, of Camden, as its co-development partner for the public housing projects of Stanley Holmes Village and Buzby Village.
“One of the key reasons the board looked at Michaels is because of their residential involvement and community service programs,” authority Executive Director Tom Hannon said after the vote.
Other companies in the running were Pennrose of Philadelphia and Metropolitan Development Group of New York City, Hannon said.
It will be a year before the board will decide whether to rehabilitate or demolish and rebuild the 66-year-old Buzby Village off West End Avenue near Ventnor, and 18 months before it makes the decision regarding the 82-year-old Stanley Holmes Village off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Hannon said.
In the meantime, Michaels and the authority will meet with residents of the communities on a regular basis — monthly if not more frequently, Hannon said.
“First and foremost, this really starts with the residents,” Michaels Vice President Nick Cangelosi said of the planning process. “We have ideas, but we don’t want to do anything until we have copious amounts of meetings with residents of both Stanley and Buzby to determine what their desires are and work from there.”
No one will lose public housing or their income-based rent during the process of rehabilitation or replacement, Hannon said.
The Michaels Organization has deep ties to the city. Founder Michael J. Levitt is originally from Ventnor, and one of the first affordable projects he built was in Atlantic City, called Terrace Townhouse North in 1969, a spokesperson said.
It is now part of the Atlantic Marina community, still managed by Michaels.
ATLANTIC CITY — The historic public housing communities of Stanley Holmes Village and Buzby …
When Levitt started the current company in 1973, its first management office was in Pleasantville, the spokesperson said.
The company now operates in 36 states. Its East Coast headquarters is moving to Camden on June 7, from its current location in Marlton, Burlington County. Its West Coast headquarters is in Elk Grove, California.
Cangelosi said Michaels has worked with the Housing Authority of Camden for decades on affordable housing and other projects.
The company also manages military housing and builds student housing in addition to affordable and market-rate housing, he said.
Michaels built housing for Rutgers University-Camden and is leasing the first market-rate apartments to be built on the Camden waterfront in about 15 years, Cangelosi said.
It recently closed on a large development at the University of California at Davis, and has built student housing at Rowan and Kean universities in New Jersey, said Cangelosi.
The company has ties to Democrat powerbroker George Norcross.
Michaels partnered with Norcross’ Conner Strong & Buckelew insurance company, and the trucking and logistics company NFI, and won approval in 2017 for $245 million in tax credits to build an office tower in Camden.
New Jersey Economic Development Authority officials have recently testified to legislators they have concerns about the award, based on questions about the truthfulness of claims the companies would have left the state if they didn’t receive the credits.
In January, the three companies announced a $1 million grant program for Camden nonprofits, along with Susan Bass Levin, president and CEO of the Cooper Foundation.
And in March, Michaels President John O’Donnell was appointed to the executive committee tf The Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a nonprofit working on the revitalization of Camden.
The 420-unit Stanley Holmes Village, built in 1937 and expanded in 1951, is the oldest public housing complex in New Jersey. The 126-unit Buzby Village was built in 1953.
The Michaels Organization manages three affordable-housing complexes in Atlantic City and a total of 537 units, Hannon said, including Brigantine Homes on Brigantine Boulevard.
Cangelosi said Michaels is working with local architects Tom Sykes at SOSH and with Ponzio Engineering on the project.
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