Park and Baird Boulevards Camden New Jersey


Park Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey is one of the three main thoroughfares of the Parkside neighborhood (named for the three local parks, Red Hill, Forest Hill, and Farnham parks). One of the neighborhood landmarks is the historic Pearlye Building. Originally constructed in the late 1800s as an apartment building, the structure was dilapidated after having been abandoned for over fifteen years. In 1998 a community group, Parkside Business and Community in Partnership (PBCIP), approached a local developer, Charles Lewis, with Pennrose Properties about rehabilitating the property. Lewis expressed interest but noted that the building would only yield ten or eleven apartments, too small for the firm to take on, so he began looking for a way to augment the project. He found that the adjacent, 1950s-era Parkview Apartments were also abandoned. By combining the properties, the project became economically viable.

Pennrose Properties, in a joint venture with the Camden Redevelopment Agency and PBCIP, worked to have the city condemn both the Parkview and Pearlye buildings so they could move forward with redevelopment of the three small, connected properties.

Once the property was assembled, the team began working with the neighborhood in community meetings to plan the redevelopment of the site. A need for senior housing was identified immediately. Local residents generally owned their homes, but as they got older, these larger homes often became too much for these seniors to manage on their own.

Residents wanted an option to stay in the neighborhood to be close to friends and because the area is well located. Shopping is close by and links to the Rand Transportation Center provide easy access to downtown Camden, downtown Philadelphia, and connections to New York.

The landmark Pearlye building was rehabilitated and connected with a three-story breezeway to a new building to form the Faison Mews project.

© Kitchen & Associates Architectural Services.

By 2004, the buildings acquisitions were fully assembled, and the development team closed on the financing. In 2005, work started with the architects and moved quickly through the planning phase. It was decided that three of the buildings on the site with less architectural value would be demolished, but the historic Pearlye Building would remain. Working in conjunction with the New Jersey Green Homes Office (NJGHO—part of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Housing), the resulting project, called Faison Mews, produced 51 units of deed-restricted1 green affordable housing for independent seniors age sixty-two and older. The landmark Pearlye Building was rehabilitated and connected with a


Project Size:

51 units of affordable senior housing

(for independent seniors age sixty-two

and older). One rehabilitated historic

landmark building and one new building

with connecting three-story breezeway

in which the laundry and community

room are located. The historic Pearlye

Building was originally constructed in the

late 1800s and holds 12 of the 51 units.

Total Development


$8.95 million

Project Started:

November 2004 (official date; some

planning began years earlier)

Completion Date:

March 2006

Project Team


Pennrose Properties in a joint venture

with the Camden Redevelopment

Agency and Parkside Business &

Community in Partnership


Kitchen & Associates



Structural Engineer:

Bevan Lawson

MEP Engineer:

Mark A. Hagan, PE

Civil Engineer:


Green Building


Darren Port, Andrew Shapiro, and

Robert Wisniewski of New Jersey

Green Homes Office (part of New

Jersey Department of Community Affairs,

Division of Housing)

The architecture of the new building reflects many of the characteristics of the adjacent historic building.

© Kitchen & Associates Architectural Services.

three-story breezeway to a new building. The architecture of the new addition reflects many of the characteristics of the historic building with its tile roof and brick-and-siding façade. "At the ribbon cutting, a huge crowd of 250 people showed up. Everyone was thrilled with the project," Charles Lewis says.


In addition to the inherent green achievement of rehabilitating the Pearlye Building and developing the new building on an infill site as described above, the Faison Mews team, working closely with the New Jersey Green Homes Office (NJGHO), made great strides in greening the whole project. Working with Darren Port at the NJGHO, the team applied the New Jersey Affordable Green (NJAG) program matrix to guide the decision-making process for the project. Experts from the program help the develop ment/architectural team to understand green options and trade-offs. Port notes that "sometimes charrettes [special design workshops] are held to work on a project to ensure an integrated design process." Also, experts conduct trainings for contractors and offer monitoring during construction and basic commissioning to ensure the green goals are accomplished. All of these offerings were a part of the Faison Mews project as well. For their Affordable Green program, in 2006 the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Office was awarded the USDOE/EPA ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Affordable Housing.

Some of the highlights include a rainwater collection system; access to daylighting with views for every unit; green materials selection with attention to durability, recycled content, and indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts; a construction waste management plan; and proper attention during construction to ensure good IAQ. All units are also New Jersey ENERGY STAR rated.

Developer's Qreen History: Prior to the Faison Mews project, Pennrose had worked with the NJGHO under the Sustainable Development pilot program on another project. Charles Lewis notes that Pennrose likes to be "on the cutting edge," so they were excited to be part of this earlier pilot effort. For this first project, they selected energy-efficient appliances, recycled products or less product, and other low-environmental-impact options. They went through the pilot project, and "it worked—and was very workable," according to Lewis. The developer tried things they hadn't done before, such as framing 2-by-6-foot lumber at 24 inches on center, thereby saving on lumber and adding extra space for insulation. Lewis said they faced resistance from their contractor and paid a premium initially, but ultimately, the reduction in materials ended up costing the contractor less. Now, they use this framing technique all the time and save resources. These lessons were the foundation for the Faison Mews project.

Materials: Andrea Garland, an architect with Kitchen and Associates Architectural Services, a woman-owned architecture, planning, and interior design firm based in Collingswood, New Jersey, was the project architect. Garland was very pleased with her company's green achievements on the project and tracked them on the program's matrix: "Our firm's participation in the New Jersey Green Homes program for the Faison Mews senior housing project has established a great new outlook on building green. This process has resulted in a conscientious selection of materials and methods. Many standard materials such as flooring, paints, cabinets, siding, et cetera, are available using recycled materials or less hazardous chemicals and pollutants.

"People look at environmentalists as nuts. But I've found this green program to be very reasonable, very understandable, and it worked well."

Charles Lewis

Pennrose Properties

Specifying particular site materials such as cisterns, site furnishings such as recycled content benches, recycled parking bumpers, and native plantings also contributes to building green and will create a better environment for the user." She notes that in most instances, these items were found to be of excellent quality and had only between a 2 to 5 percent upcharge from typical specified items.

Systems: Each of the 51 units in the Faison Mews project has an individual ENERGY STAR heating and cooling system and a 95-percent-efficient gas water heater. These units are power vented to ensure proper ventilation and to avoid backdrafting. With regard to the building envelope, Garland says that "it was difficult with the older Pearlye Building to achieve airtightness—and we ended up using a



•Rehabilitation of building and new development on infill site •Secure on-site courtyard with room for resident gardens •Access to nature trails at nearby urban park •Within V2 mile of transit, including bus •Native landscaping


•Rainwater collection system •High-efficiency drip irrigation

•Storm sewer inlets labeled with info on water protection •Low-water-use toilets

•Water management system developed for existing Pearlye Building


•Access to daylighting and views for every unit •All units New Jersey ENERGY STAR® rated •High-performance (low solar heat gain coefficient, low-e) windows

•Cellulose insulation in walls and attic •High-energy-factor water heater1

•Airtight drywall approach to air control leakage with Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA) details •ENERGY STAR hard-wired fluorescent lighting in high-use areas

•ENERGY STAR refrigerators •EEBA window detail and flashing2

Materials and Resources

•Recycled materials utlized, including acoustical ceiling tiles and carpet

•Waste management plan recycled and salvaged construction and demolition debris

Health and Comfort

•Low-volatile organic compound (VOC) paint used for interior finishes and for all sealants and adhesives •All combustion devices power vented •Non-formaldehyde-free particleboard in cabinets encapsulated • Tacked-down recycled-content carpet instead of glued-down carpet •Under-slab vapor barriers and perimeter slab insulation •Ducts and HVAC protected from dust during construction •Building aired out prior to occupancy •Flexible common space included for meetings and performances in community room

Durability and Ease of Maintenance

•Durable kitchen, bath, and entry flooring (linoleum in kitchen, tile in bathrooms) •50-year-plus durable siding (partial brick and Hardiplank fiber cement siding) •Tenant O&M manual and training •On-site recycling centers in common areas

1 For the water heater, the energy factor is the portion of the energy going into the unit that gets turned into usable hot water under average conditions.

2 See Joseph W. Lstiburek, Water Management Quide, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Energy and Environmental Building Association, 2004). This guide presents a variety of recommendations for minimizing water intrusion into homes (i.e., window and flashing details).

lot of foam insulation. A blower door ENERGY STAR® test was conducted to ensure we got it right."


The total development costs for Faison Mews were $8.95 million. Financing included funds earmarked for green features from the NJGHO as well as a rebate from the ENERGY STAR program.

Charles Lewis worked back and forth with NJGHO director Darren Port on various cost and selection implica tions related to the program. In the end, the program offered $7,500 per unit as a green subsidy to help meet the state's green threshold, resulting in a total subsidy of $382,500 for the 51 units.

Frequent visits by the NJGHO staff meant that the development team "had to always stay on top of the green aspects," according to NJGHO director Darren Port. In the process, some options, however, were cost-prohibitive. For example, the possibility of dual flush toilets was suggested. In the end, the specification to include such toilets couldn't



Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Grants

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Balanced Housing Program City of Camden HOME Funds New Jersey Affordable Green Funds Federal Home Loan Bank of New York ENERGY STAR® Rebate


Deferred Developer Fee Total Sources



be made, because of additional costs and a longer procurement time. This was an issue because the team had a very tight project timeline based on the tax credit requirements.


Developer Charles Lewis says the highlight of the project was that all went "very smoothly." Since Pennrose Properties had previously gone through the state's green program during its pilot phase, he said they knew what to expect and what the state would accept in terms of decision making around the green issues.

Barriers: Architect Andrea Garland says, "In general, the more restrictive lead time and availability of the green materials and specifications were the only negative issue. The materials are not always as readily available, which hampers the schedule, and it is harder to substitute due to the restrictions of the program requirements." Some on-site requirements were harder to control, she noted, such as covering all ductwork during construction. Contractors, when in a hurry, do not want to spend the extra initial time to protect these systems from the dust and debris from construction, she said.

Cost Implications: "There is a fine line between balancing the needs of the Green Homes program with the reality of schedule and cost," Garland says. "This project has been a good example of this need for compromise." She feels it is worth spending slightly more on initial costs as well as the time paying closer attention to construction practices in order to have a more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly building: "If the overall costs are not exorbitant, then why not take the additional steps to build green? The owner of the building will eventually save money on building systems while maintaining an ecologically sound project."

Qreen Homes Program: Participating in the Green Homes program challenged Kitchen and Associates' typical construction administration process, but the final product is aesthetically pleasing and well received by all involved parties.

"People look at environmentalists as nuts. But I've found this green program to be very reasonable, very understandable, and it worked well," says Charles Lewis. Further, he's observed how many of the energy efficiency elements, such as insulating the foundation, are not really that dramatic to implement. The three construction companies typically used by Pennrose have now changed their ways as well because of these projects and Pennrose's influence. Lewis notes, "What's dramatic is how standard practice has changed in just a few short years."


Developer: Pennrose Properties, Inc.

Charles Lewis, project developer: 267-386-8672

Architect: Kitchen and Associates

Andrea Garland, project architect: 856-854-1880

Green Building Consultant: New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

Darren Port: 609-984-7607; [email protected]


Faison Mews two-page marketing flyer from Pennrose Properties, Inc., 2006.

Garland, Andrea, project architect, Kitchen and Associates, personal interview with Jenifer Seal Cramer, June 9, 2006, and e-mail correspondence June-August 2006.

Lewis, Charles, developer, Pennrose Properties, Inc., personal interview with Jenifer Seal Cramer, June 14, 2006.

New Jersey Green Homes Office: /dh/gho/index.shtml.

Pearlye Building, old photo: /frames/pearlyle.shtml.

Port, Darren, director, New Jersey Green Homes Office, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Housing, personal interview with Jenifer Seal Cramer, June 1, 2006, and e-mail correspondence June-August 2006.

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