Community Investment Strategies Partners with Township of North Brunswick to Create Safer Community for Oak Leaf Village Residents

Top Quote The Township of North Brunswick and Community Investment Strategies (CIS), Inc. have successfully partnered to employ a comprehensive strategy focused on improving the quality of life for residents at North Brunswick Crescent (formerly Oak Leaf Village Apartments). The strong partnership between CIS Management and the Township has created a vibrant neighborhood once plagued by crime. End Quote
  • Bergen-Passaic, NJ (1888PressRelease) October 09, 2013 - This collaborative approach and reinvestment in the complex has reduced crime by more than 50 percent. Since acquiring the property last year, CIS has been on a path to turnaround the distressed community to create a safer and more secure home for residents. New lighting and maintenance strategies also have created a welcome environment where families now thrive.

    "CIS used a two-pronged approach - stronger management and maintenance of the property," said Kenneth P. McCormick, Director of Public Safety for the North Brunswick Police Department. "We have been working to support their efforts. when the on-site manager asked us for assistance, we provided a community policing plan to ensure quality life enhancements are maintained."

    To maintain this positive result, the police department subscribed to a proactive approach, working directly with CIS management staff to improve communication. According to statistics from the North Brunswick Police Department, the increased police participation resulted in a 58 percent reduction in aggressive crimes and a 14 percent reduction in overall crimes in 2012 as compared with 2011.

    "This cooperative redevelopment has greatly improved the quality of life for families by creating safe, attractive, well-managed and much-needed affordable housing, and we are grateful to CIS for their commitment to the residents here and the Township overall," said Mayor Francis "Mac" Womack III.

    Redevelopment Enhances Neighborhood
    From the start, CIS partnered with the Township of North Brunswick on the redevelopment, which consists of 183-units in 16 apartment buildings located on Oak Tree Road. The Township has contributed $5.25 million of its affordable-housing funds and will receive Fair Housing Act obligation credits. Construction on the redevelopment of the buildings is slated to begin in the fall of 2013.

    Plans include a $13 million gut rehabilitation of the existing 16 two-story buildings in phases. Once completed, the new apartment-home complex will be marketed as North Brunswick Crescent and will feature new affordable apartment-rental units and a new community clubhouse. In addition, the redevelopment will incorporate improved walkways and landscaping, energy-efficient systems, updated interior finishes and fixtures, a tot lot and repair/replacement of water and sewer service lines.

    "Creating and maintaining a safe living environment was our goal when we acquired this property," said CIS Founder and CEO Christiana Foglio. "The township also has made a strong commitment to the project, both financially and in terms of resources. As a result of our combined efforts, we are starting to see dramatic changes, which have laid the groundwork for the physical changes that will occur in the fall."

    The successful collaboration between the police and the community to identify and resolve issues at Oak Leaf Village could serve as a model for other communities in North Brunswick, according to McCormick. "We hope to take some of CIS' ideas and share them with other complexes. We've seen how much proper management can do in terms of reducing crime and making it a nice community for everybody."

    The new apartment community is part of the Township Master Plan and marks a new era in revitalization efforts to attract businesses, residences and cultural and recreational opportunities. Located in a Metropolitan Planning Area and designated Smart Growth Area, the residence is just one-quarter of a mile from Route 27. This local commercial corridor offers residents access to shopping, recreation, healthcare, employment hubs and mass transit links.

    CIS has successfully repositioned numerous properties throughout New Jersey. The for-profit, certified woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) specializes in developing a broad spectrum of multi-family properties, ranging from multiplex apartments and townhomes to garden-style and mid- and high-rise complexes, valued in excess of $350 million.

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