Mayor Candidate Calls on Housing Authority to Reject Unaffordable Development

NBHA Previously Rejected Developer’s Request After Charlie Kratovil Spoke Out Against Extreme Gentrification Proposal

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Independent Mayor candidate Charlie Kratovil is calling on the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) to uphold their rejection of  a developer that has planned a massive project on Route 1 without any affordable housing component.

“If this gets approved, we’ll see even more upward pressure on housing costs in a city where more than a third of our people are already living in poverty, and hundreds of people have no home at all,” said Kratovil, who is asking residents to join him at tonight’s NBHA meeting.

Kratovil first spoke out against the plans, proposed by RTF NB Urban Renewal, LLC, at the NBHA’s April 29 meeting, where three of the four board members present declined to designate them as redeveloper for the site of the former Sears department store.

The vote to designate RTF NB Urban Renewal failed that night, with only one member of the board supporting the move.  Video of Kratovil’s remarks and the unusual 1-0-3 vote is available here:

Tonight, the NBHA Board will reconsider RTF NB Urban Renewal’s application to be named the designated redeveloper of the 36 acre property.  The company is a partnership of Russo Development and Transformco, the corporation set up to manage Sears’ real estate assets.

WHO: Charlie Kratovil and other community members against extreme gentrification
WHAT: New Brunswick Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Meeting
WHEN: Tonight, Wednesday, June 29 at 6:00pm
WHERE: The meeting will be held on zoom

The proposed project would consist of 530 apartments, 190 townhomes, and 43,000 square feet of retail, but no affordable housing units.  Russo Development admitted at April’s NBHA meeting that they plan to rent studio apartments for $1,600-$1,700 per month.  Residents who met with Russo said they were told one-bedroom units would go for $2,400 or more per month.

“As a community, we must come together to defend New Brunswick from wealthy corporations who consistently put their own profits above the people who actually live here. We cannot and will not let them price us out of the city we love,” said Kratovil.

Russo Development has completed other overpriced projects throughout the state, including the recently-opened “Vermella Woodbridge.”  According to their website, the company is renting two-bedroom apartments there starting at $3,282 per month.

The NBHA’s mission is “to assist eligible families by providing decent affordable housing as they move to achieve self-sufficiency” and tonight, that mission will be put to the test. The NBHA Board has the power to stop this unaffordable development plan, and to insist that any project of this magnitude includes affordable housing.