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Habitat back in business in Kearny

Photo by Ron Leir Construction manager Tom Grossi (l.) and Hudson County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tom Bruning at Kearny Habitat site.

Photo by Ron Leir
Construction manager Tom Grossi (l.) and Hudson County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Tom Bruning at Kearny Habitat site.

 

KEARNY –

The long dormant Hudson County Habitat for Humanity International project site in Kearny is showing signs of life.

On Monday, an earth-moving vehicle was spotted sitting, unattended, in the now-cleaned up vacant lot at 41 Kearny Ave. – where a new 3-family residential building is slated to rise – but there was no operator in sight.

But Habitat’s Hudson County Chapter Executive Director Tom Bruning said that Habitat has new partners in its Kearny enterprise.

Bruning said that Habitat has retained Tommy Grossi of MPC Construction of North Bergen as construction manager for the Kearny project and Howard McPherson’s Champion Construction & Demolition Co., also of North Bergen, as the contractor for the project.

“We’re happy they have signed on for the project,” he added.

Grossi said he anticipated bringing the project to completion within “three to four months.”

A total of about $400,000 in financing is coming from the HOME program, combined with a loan from Kearny Federal Savings and Bruning said he expects the project will be finished within the projected budget.

“We will pick three families [as buyers for the condo units] based on need,” Bruning said. “We are beginning to take applications and we plan to schedule several public meetings to make people more aware about the project.”

After the county deeded over the property, which housed a former county TB clinic, to Habitat for $1, Habitat hired Dave Tillou of Pittstown as construction manager to oversee demolition of the old clinic building and construction of a new residential structure that, at the time, was to include a ground-floor retail space.

Habitat proceeded with demolition of the old clinic building and had a ceremonial groundbreaking last May and forecast a September 2013 completion for the project.

Plans for the retail component were scrapped in favor of three for-sale apartments whose buyers would, along with volunteers, contribute labor, at some point, on the construction, as is customary with Habitat.

There is to be a twobedroom, ADA-complaint apartment on the first floor, a three-bedroom apartment on the second floor and another 3-bedroom unit on the third floor. No off-street parking will be included.

All apartments are to be sold as condominiums and qualified buyers are to receive interest-free mortgage loans, payable over 30 years. Owners must pay real estate taxes, a condo maintenance fee and utility fee.

Unfortunately, after demolition was finished, valuable time was lost when the then-designated contractor failed to follow through and nothing further happened until Hudson County Habitat — which underwent an administrative reorganization — formed a new team to take over the project.

– Ron Leir

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