Passaic proposes complete revamp of city’s oldest housing project

Officials say the buildings, which are more 70 than years old, are past the point of simple repairs.

Naomi Yané

Jul 2, 2024, 1:11 AM

Updated 12 days ago

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Proposed changes could be coming to the city of Passaic’s oldest housing project.
Alfred Speer Village sits at one of the entry points to the city right on State Street. City officials say these over-70-year-old buildings are long past the point of patch jobs and minor fixes. They’re proposing a redevelopment of the area that would require knocking down old buildings and putting up new ones.
Christopher Ribot has been a tenant since 1979.
"Been a lot of fixes, they try to make the place better… they have for sure… but there’s still some stuff that’s out of their control so it’s not efficient,” Ribot says.
The city is now proposing a major project with several moving parts that would last two to three years, affect over 1,000 families and could cost up to $150 million.
Passaic Mayor Hector Lora says his residents deserve better.
“I have a vision for renovating and redeveloping this area ensuring that every family can come back to their units. They will have 100% confidence that their units are secure and set aside for them, but this place needs to be renovated it needs to be redeveloped,” Lora says.
Lora says Phase 1 of the plan would be demolishing two of the six buildings and the Housing Authority office. That office will be first to go and a new high-rise with 120 apartments would take its place.
"We can transfer people from one building to that building and then bring down the next building and rebuild that and then do the same with each building,” Lora says.
All this would be made possible through a HUD program called Rental Assistance Demonstration. RAD, as it’s known, helps housing authorities raise money from private investors. There are mixed feelings about this project and people who spoke with News 12 say they are most concerned about where they’ll live during the process.
Ribot says he is on board if residents aren't displaced.
"As long as we’re guaranteed to have somewhere to live so we can afford it because these are based off your income,” he says.
The city says this is an opportunity for a private-public partnership that’ll increase the number of units available from 383 to over 500 and will allow for more affordable housing and better living conditions for residents.
Regarding the remaining four buildings, Lora says the city will go through a needs assessment to identify which buildings need renovations, repairs or a complete tear-down. And in many cases, there’ll be no need for relocation however folks who would like to relocate would have the option to but the goal is to keep residents in their homes.


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