Mount Laurel, N.J. ranks as one of the 50 Best Places to Live in the United States with its green open spaces, bustling centers of business, and close proximity to Philadelphia. So when one of the last large sites in the area was available to be developed, Delco Development seized the opportunity.
With a desire to provide thoughtful housing and development, Delco Development purchased the property to create a mixed-use multi-family community called Haddon Point at Mount Laurel. The project calls for 600 market-rate apartments, townhomes and age-restricted, affordable apartments.
“We have been working on this project for over 5 years and we are very excited to begin construction,” said Tom Juliano, CEO of Delco Development.
Delco previously trademarked the name Haddon Point for their Pennsauken, N.J. community, intending that the name would become synonymous with customer service and quality amenities. “We want to offer residents more than just a place to live, but to have all the amenities to make life full as well,” said Juliano.
The project consists of 274 market-rate apartments with amenities such as a clubhouse with a full gym, pickle ball courts, a pool, grill patio, entertainment area and walking path that surrounds the community. In addition to the market-rate apartments, Delco Development is working with Ryan homes to build 206 townhomes, and 120 affordable units for seniors.
The Great COVID Shift
As the world changed throughout the pandemic, so did the needs of residents who are more focused on outdoor space than ever before. “With people spending more time outdoors, we incorporated those needs into the design process with an outdoor covered patio and entertainment area, a large resort style pool, cabanas and walking paths,” said Nina Beacher, Director of Residential Development.
Working styles have shifted as well. With 45% of full-time employees working partly or fully remote, Delco Development began incorporating office spaces into their properties with work areas, conference rooms for virtual meetings, and smaller banquettes for when people want to work outside their apartments.
The new amenities-laden retirement community also illustrates how COVID has changed the perception of 55+ communities with wellness and nature connections wooing back residents. “We have been working with the DES-SYN interior design firm to take on a more holistic approach to our projects to create beautiful, sustainable spaces for our residents,” said Beacher.
And the need for high quality affordable housing has never been greater, with the National Low Income Housing Coalition reporting a shortage of more than seven million affordable rental homes throughout the country. “Affordable housing doesn’t need to be less than,” explains Beacher. “It can be just as beautiful and functional as traditional or market-rate housing and a positive for the community.”
Full Speed Ahead
While the pandemic may have shifted the design intent, deadlines and permit processes still needed to push forward. Having worked with WSFS on several large projects dating back 20 years, Juliano knew all the boxes would be checked.
“WSFS is a great size for us. It’s always been a good relationship, and with WSFS we were able to stay on track and close the loan at the end of June, with bulldozers moving as we speak,” said Juliano.
Having worked with WSFS on Haddon Point Pennsauken, Juliano knew he was in good hands. “It’s rare to find a lender that can do a loan of this size plus service it. WSFS does a great job of working with outside agencies to do inspections, process draws, as well as the administrative work that you just don’t get from a giant national bank.”
Looking to the future, the total project is expected to take well over four years, with the first phase underway with the building of the club house and five buildings. “This is a long-term commitment, and there are only a handful of lenders we’d consider to do this job,” said Juliano. And working with a local bank does have its perks. “Working with WSFS has further ingrained in our culture that we need to do business with banks that know us and know our market.”
It’s still unclear if any of the trends linked to life during a pandemic will create permanent change, but for now, the future of thoughtful housing and development is bright. “With the help of WSFS, we hope to keep economic development moving forward and keep turning our ideas into opportunities.”