‘This is not just a place to live, it’s a home’

Princeton officials tour affordable senior citizen apartment complex

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Princeton officials were welcomed to a reception and tour of Princeton Senior Living, which is an 80-unit affordable housing development for senior citizens on Thanet Circle, off Terhune Road.

Princeton Senior Living, which opened its doors a few weeks ago, is restricted to income-eligible households that includes at least one member who is 55 years old or older. It is adjacent to the AvalonBay Thanet Circle rental development.

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Courtesy of Conifer Realty

Mayor Mark Freda attended the Feb. 21 event, along with Princeton Council President Mia Sacks and Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang and Administrator Bernard Hvozdovic.

Freda thanked Conifer Realty, which owns and manages the development. The apartment development is “a great opportunity” for seniors who want to stay in the Princeton community, he said.

Sacks also welcomed the opening of the apartment complex. She said she lives near the new development, and its residents are now her neighbors. She said she is excited to welcome them to the neighborhood.

The council president further noted that an older relative had to move from Princeton because there were few housing options that were affordable. She said she knows how important it is to provide housing that is affordable, and especially for older residents.

Drew Dyson, the executive director of the Center for Modern Aging Princeton (CMAP), said it will offer on-site social services to residents. He said he was glad for the partnership between Conifer Realty and CMAP.

“This is not just a place to live, it’s a home. It is a part of the community,” Dyson said.

Princeton Senior Living includes 73 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom apartments. The one-bedroom apartments range from 687 square feet to 728 square feet. The two-bedroom apartments are about 800 to 840 square feet.

The rent ranges from $653 to $1,363 for a one-bedroom apartment, and from $782 to $1,634 for a two-bedroom apartment. The rent is based on the tenant’s income.

The Princeton Senior Living apartment building was approved as part of the redevelopment plan for the abandoned office park on Thanet Circle, submitted by AvalonBay Communities Inc.

AvalonBay Communities carved out two acres of the 15-acre property and conveyed it to the town. Developer PIRHL obtained approval for Princeton Senior Living, and recently sold it to Conifer Realty.

AvalonBay Communities received approval for its development. It built 221 apartments – which include 11 units earmarked for affordable housing – on the remaining 13 acres.

Both the Princeton Senior Living and the AvalonBay Thanet Circle developments grew out of the overall settlement of a lawsuit filed against Princeton by the nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center.

The Fair Share Housing Center sued Princeton because it did not provide its fair share of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. The lawsuit was settled in December 2019.

While AvalonBay Communities Inc. is building and financing its Avalon Bay Thanet Circle development, Princeton Senior Living is a municipally-sponsored development.

The Princeton Senior Living development is being funded through a combination of tax credit financing and a municipal contribution from a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with AvalonBay Communities.

The two-acre land donation, along with debt service coverage from the AvalonBay Communities PILOT payments, means the Princeton Senior Living development is revenue-neutral for Princeton taxpayers. There is no cost to taxpayers.

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