Senior housing building weeks from completion

One-bedroom affordable units could be rented out by summer


SOUTH AMBOY — The city’s Robert Noble Manor project on Gordon Street is nearing completion.

The affordable-housing apartments, which are being constructed modular-style, have been arriving in pieces, said Michael Dayer, spokesman for Phoenix Custom Homes, which is in charge of creating the senior citizen residence.

The general contractor, C&C Construction, hired Phoenix to redesign the project and build it using modular construction “because it can be done faster and for considerably less money,” Dayer said. Modular construction is often less expensive than traditional construction, he noted.

“There is not much that cannot be built via modular construction these days, and it just does not make sense to build in the traditional site-built manner anymore,” Dayer said. Phoenix, based in Colonia, was also tasked with making the building Energy Starcertified, which Dayer said “is much easier to accomplish in a factory.” He added that pieces are built inside the factory and therefore can be protected from damage by the elements.

Larry Gumina of Springpoint Senior Living (formerly PHS Senior Living), which is overseeing the project under the direction of the South Amboy Renaissance Corp., said the decision to go modular was, in retrospect, the right call, given how harsh a winter it has been and what kind of impact that could have had on work done onsite.

“It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” he said.

What’s more, Phoenix was able to do the project within budget, Dayer said. “We designed the building ourselves,” he said, adding that those designs were based on the plans C&C gave them.

Gumina said the budget for the project is around $6 million, though the original figure released was $9.6 million. The project is being funded with county, state and federal dollars. Springpoint operates affordable housing senior residences throughout the state. These include Allaire Crossing in Wall, Asbury Tower in Asbury Park, Portland Pointe in Atlantic Highlands, and Watchung Terrace in Middlesex.

“They’re an incredible company,” Dayer said of Springpoint. “Very, very professional.”

The style of the building will complement the area well, Dayer said.

“This is some nice low- to moderate-income housing,” he said.

The Robert Noble Manor will be 40,000 square feet and will have 40 one-bedroom units. The L-shaped building will have an elevator as well as a number of common areas, such as the laundry room and the mailroom. Gumina anticipates that about 40 to 50 seniors will occupy the building at any given time.

The building is named for a former executive director of the South Amboy Housing Authority. A groundbreaking was held Oct. 1.

Gumina said the proposed rental figure of $773 released in the fall will remain unchanged.

The building should be completely constructed by the second week of April, Dayer said. A couple of months later, the units will be ready for renting. Springpoint will handle the advertising and marketing for the project.

“It’s so fun watching this momentum pick up,” Dayer said.

Gary Hirsch, executive director of the nonprofit South Amboy Renaissance Corp., said the project’s completion is exciting.

“We’re very happy about it,” he said.

No other projects are on the radar for the nonprofit.

“This is big enough,” he said.