The development of the Dom Narodowy Polski Apartments involved the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 50-unit senior housing complex in downtown Chicopee, a city about 90 miles west of Boston. It comprises two four- and five-story structures, built in 1930 and renovated in 1982. The Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) provided a $1.7 million Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity investment to Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH). In partnership with participating lenders Citizen’s Bank and United Commercial Bank, MHIC also provided a $2.5 million acquisition loan. Modest renovations were completed, such as replacement of boilers and hot water heaters with energy efficient models, upgrades of kitchens/baths, window replacements and a partial roof replacement. When this project’s Section 8 contract expired in 2011, POAH secured a 20-year extension to ensure that the units remain affordable.
After a two-year development process, in 1998 New Jersey began implementing a rehab code of its own design that replaced requirements found in traditional codes with a more rehabilitation-friendly system. Like the model codes it influenced, New Jersey’s rehab code uses the scope of the project and any proposed changes in building use to determine the degree of code compliance required.
Based on the type and extent of work proposed, projects fall into one of three categories: Rehabilitation, which includes sub-classifications of Repair, Renovation, Alteration and Reconstruction; Change of use; and Addition. Projects in each category must fulfill a different set of requirements, with smaller repair projects prompting the fewest requirements and additions calling for full compliance with new construction standards in the new portion of the building. The new code reduced redevelopment costs by as much as 10-25 percent.