NEWARK, NJ – Newark city planners this week classified the property along Summer Avenue as an area in need of redevelopment in order to maintain its affordability label.

The property, which is 502-504 Summer Ave. currently houses the six-story building of Casa Mia Apartments. Casa Mia was previously a section 8 residential complex with 90 units. The apartments are a mixture of studio, one and two-room apartments.

According to city records, the property has been under the control of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 1978 in order to provide rental support through housing construction under Section 8. The HUD contract was extended on December 4, 2019 and is valid until December 2039.

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Although the contract was renewed, urban planner John Barree stated during a board meeting on Jan.

“The city wants the property to be in need of renovation to ensure the affordability of these units and the incentive package available to them,” said Barree.

Rather than starting new build on the property, Barree noted that the goal of designating the site in need of refurbishment is to preserve the existing units within the current building.

By maintaining the building’s affordability, the city planner stated that projects like this one could also help fill the gap in affordable housing.

The report indicates that Newark is currently facing a huge gap in its housing stock to provide affordable housing for low-income residents. The report also notes that more development and commitment is needed from city officials and state lawmakers to address the issue and provide more than 15,000 units at a more accessible rental for low-income residents.

“Given the goals of the city’s master plan and the goals of the state’s master plan for development and rehabilitation, this really makes sense as an example of smart growth to continue promoting sustainable and equitable living in the city of Newark,” said the city planner.

The building is also designated according to certain criteria according to which it is “compatible with the planning principles for intelligent growth adopted in accordance with the law or ordinance”.

According to city documents, the designation of the themed property as a redevelopment area also promotes all three facets of sustainable growth for the city.

“From an ecological point of view, it enables an existing structure to be maintained, offers affordable housing for seniors from a cheap perspective and, from an economic point of view, maximizes existing resources,” says a study of the property.

After Barree’s presentation and further discussion, the planning committee submitted an application for approval of the site as an area in need of rehabilitation and voted in favor of the application.