In 1969, Hoboken was a charming, but run-down village, resting on the banks of the Hudson River and facing Manhattan Island. It had a neighborhood feel, where everyone knew everyone, and there were specialty family food shops and horse-drawn fruit wagons in the streets. But the area was deteriorating, and the housing was decrepit. In short, the city was a mess.
On the strength of a private loan and a line of credit from a bank with whom I had previously done business, I was able to buy Hoboken property in anticipation of the future rehabilitation of its buildings and the HUD subsidies which would support it.
My father and I named the new company Applied Housing Associates, which later became Applied Housing Development Companies. We began with a block of buildings on Willow Avenue, between 12th and 13th, that included 140 units (later converted to 98), and almost 400 units on Washington, Hudson, and Bloomfield that were owned by an aging landlord defeated by lower rents and a poorer tenant population.
Over the next seven years, we rehabilitated 2,500 units for occupancy by low-income people in Hudson County, reaching as far as Trenton, New Jersey.