PLEASANTVILLE — The glossy hardwood floors have hardly a scuff mark on them. The stainless-steel kitchen appliances sparkle.
Then there are the expansive views of the Atlantic City and Ocean City skylines that unfold for miles in the distance.
“Million-dollar view,” Jacqueline Amado-Belton exclaimed while peering through the windows.
“Yes, that view is amazing,” Cassandra Clements added.
Although Amado-Belton and Clements sounded like they were ensconced in some exclusive oceanfront penthouse, the scenery they were admiring was visible from the fourth floor of a new apartment building in Pleasantville.
Dubbed City Center, the $34 million apartment and retail complex is the first major development in Pleasantville in many years and brings with it the hope of a broader revival of the downtown business district.
“What it’s going to do and is already doing is revitalizing the downtown,” said Amado-Belton, the city’s director of economic development. “It is bringing new retail to downtown and spurring other developers to revitalize other areas of town.”
The two-building apartment complex mixes 135 residential units with 18,000 square feet of retail space. No outlets have been announced yet, but Amado-Belton envisions a restaurant and some professional offices as some of the businesses that will occupy the retail space along Main Street in the heart of downtown.
But mainly, the City Center project means attractive new apartments to help rejuvenate Pleasantville’s housing stock. Residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 will be given priority for the units.
Amado-Belton said 75 percent of the units are set aside as affordable housing, while the remaining 25 percent will be market-rate apartments. Rents will range from $635 to $1,300 per month. One, two and three-bedroom apartments are available.
RPM Development Group, the Montclair, Essex County-based company that is leading the project, already plans to expand the complex by adding two more apartment buildings totaling 125 units. Amado-Belton said RPM and Pleasantville are waiting for federal, state and private funds to complete the financing for the next phase, estimated to cost $24 million.
In addition to private financing, the project is being underwritten by $7.3 million in federal funding through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and its affiliate, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The state is acting as a conduit for federal funds that help communities recover from Sandy. Moreover, the HMFA is kicking in $3.75 million of its own funding to help finance City Center, an agency spokeswoman said.
The development occupies a supersized block bordered by Main Street, Washington Avenue, Milan Avenue and South Second Street. Conceived in 2007, the project has been downscaled from a $150 million development plan that was originally proposed by a different builder. RPM took over about two years ago.
Amado-Belton said RPM spared no expense in building the project. Renters are treated to stainless-steel kitchen appliances and hardwood floors in each unit. Hallways and stairways also have hardwood floors, giving the apartments an upscale feel.
“These apartments are the most attractive ones in Atlantic County,” Amado-Belton said.
Renters living in the higher floors on the southeast side of the buildings will be the lucky ones who get the million-dollar views that dazzled Amado-Belton and Clements.
High-tech amenities include Wi-Fi throughout both buildings and a video-intercom security system in each room. Surveillance cameras linked to the video-intercoms allow renters to see who is waiting outside the buildings before they are electronically buzzed in.
Clements, 30, a mother of three young children and one of the first City Center tenants, stressed that tight security is most important to her family. She formerly lived in three troubled housing projects in Atlantic City. She recalled the gunfire at night that frightened her children.
“It was rough,” Clements said. “The crime was bad, and so were the shootings. I just had to get my children out of there. It came to the point where I was afraid to let my kids outside to play. Now, my kids are excited to be out of Atlantic City.”
Clements and her two sons and daughter are expected to move into their three-bedroom apartment this week. City Center’s first tenant moved in Wednesday, but it is expected to take 90 to 120 days before the complex is entirely occupied, said Brian Saft, RPM’s director of leasing.
Saft noted that RPM plans to place billboards on the Black and White Horse pikes in June to advertise the apartments. As of last week, 50 of the 135 apartments had been leased, he said.