Affordable Trump

From the Record:

Ordinary folks in Trump’s EnCap condos?

A Donald Trump residential project might evoke, for many, thoughts of exclusive — and expensive — high-rise condominiums.

But if the Manhattan real estate mogul is to achieve his goal of turning a struggling EnCap project into a dazzling Trump National golf and residential development, he’ll have to obey the same affordable housing regulations as any other project in the Meadowlands district, officials say.

That means that 20 percent of all units in Trump-land would have to be made available to residents making 80 percent or less of the median income in the region.

The requirement was established in September by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in the aftermath of a state appellate court ruling in May that required the agency to ensure the availability of modest housing within its 14-town footprint.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is locked in by a regulation that is quite clear,” said Kevin Walsh, an attorney for the Fair Share Housing Center. “I can’t even imagine how anyone could argue it.”

Meadowlands Commission spokesman Brian Aberback confirmed that “any proposed development on the EnCap site” would have to abide by the regulations.

Misunderstandings abound, however, about how visible affordable housing would be amid a project such as Trump’s, according to Walsh.

“For the most part, the affordable housing can be very well integrated with the development if you do it right,” Walsh said. “Your neighbor might be a market-rate homeowner or a working family. The affordable housing might be a little smaller, and the fixtures might be a little more modest, but the goal is to make it a project where hardly anyone would ever notice.”

Walsh estimated that families of four earning as much as $59,000 could be eligible for affordable housing at a Trump site.

“You’re liable to have everyone from people who work on the golf course to teachers who will teach the kids who live in the luxury units,” Walsh said.

Trump has vowed to tear up EnCap’s development plan and start over, but he says it could be 90 to 120 days before a new design has been determined. The EnCap plan featured 1,780 units planned for Lyndhurst and 800 for Rutherford — with the possibility of an additional 250 condo units in Lyndhurst.

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