HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — A Mount Laurel company is seeking to build 99 affordable housing units at a 37-acre site at New York Avenue and Harding Highway.

The company, Conifer Realty LLC, spoke to township officials last month about the project, which is in the planning stages. Phil Sartorio, Hamilton Township’s director of community development, said a formal plan could be filed within four to six months.

Conifer would build the complex on a tract owned by Tinton Falls, Monmouth County, company Sunset Property Development Associates, Sartorio said. The company bought the vacant tract in 1993, which is across the street from The Village at Hardings Run.

Charles Lewis, a senior vice president with Conifer Realty, said the company has an agreement of sale on the tract and hopes to file plans with the township within 60 days. Conifer Realty expects the facility to open in spring 2016.

The development would include 31 three-bedroom units, 55 two-bedroom units and 13 one-bedroom units, Lewis said.

The company is looking to partially finance the project with federal low-income housing tax credits, Lewis said, which are awarded annually by New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and would cover 70 to 75 percent of development costs. A conventional loan would cover the remainder.

A previous owner identified wetlands, Lewis said, and the company does not plan to develop within 150 feet of that border.

After accounting for wetlands and Pinelands considerations, Sartorio said, Sunset would build out the remainder of the tract.

Conifer Realty is a large company whose portfolio lists more than 180 apartment complexes between Maryland and central New York. They developed and own the age-restricted Lower Township’s Conifer Village at Cape May.

Lewis said Conifer is developing an age-restricted development at the former Fanny D. Rittenberg Middle School on Philadelphia Avenue in Egg Harbor City, as well as the 90-unit final phase of the federal Hope VI project replacement of Shore Park and Shore Terrace in Atlantic City.

The Hamilton Township project comes more than seven years after the township agreed to change its laws to allow more affordable housing in response to a builder’s lawsuit that alleged the township violated affordable housing guidelines established by the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing.

Harding Highway LLC sued the township in 2004 in an effort to build on a 111-acre property it owns on Route 40 and settled in August 2006. The October 2006 court ruling required the township change its zoning ordinances to permit affordable housing development in three sites near the Hamilton Mall, including this one.

Subsequent housing development stalled following the late-2000s housing market crash.

Contact Derek Harper:

609-272-7046

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