So, as I write these words, it is Thanksgiving Weekend, and I am suffering from the guilt of eating too much this year. Even with only our immediate family present…the five of us…it was good to get together to enjoy each other’s company. My brother and sister- in- law, called in via ZOOM as did my son’s friends from Florida, Lauren and Zack. It was good to hear their voices and to see them, albeit from a small IPad screen. This year, 2020 may be remembered for the canceling of programs, and of wearing masks and social distancing, but also for the obstacles that were overcome, much more than what we were not able to do. All in all, still many things to be thankful for.
Certainly, as I look back on this year, and most of last year, our Project Freedom team and managers were very busy, finishing the construction of our West Windsor site, as well as following up with our Gibbsboro project. Although West Windsor was started prior to our Gibbsboro site, the rains of 2019 delayed most of that construction for almost an entire year, so as to catch up with the construction schedule for Gibbsboro. It is hard enough bringing in one of these projects let alone, two at the same time.
BE that as it may, our staff did an excellent job in leasing up both sites, in record time. Even with COVID-19 disrupting everything this year, our PFI team was able to lease up all 72 units in Gibbsboro, as well as hire staff to run the operation there. We held monthly, then weekly lease up meetings to talk about applicants and to keep on top of the progress. It finally paid off when the last tenant signed their lease in early July.
Also in 2019, we broke ground for our Robbinsville site construction which is due to finish in the first quarter of 2021. This project has been going much smoother than West Windsor, however has still felt the effects of Covid-19 virus. Our cement contractor had his entire crew be exposed to the virus, which necessitated them quarantining for fourteen days, so no cement work got done during that time.
In addition, we have struggled in getting windows and appliances for this project, which has given me a few more grey hairs. It is only within the last few weeks have we gotten all required windows, and have also received the appliances for the first building. Now that those issues have been overcome, it looks more likely that we will be able to meet our schedule for final CO’s.
This year we have also had to be creative about scheduling staff for office and maintenance work. No longer can we have two people working in the same apartment at close proximity to each other, so getting to turn apartments over and going into tenant apartments has been more difficult this year. But we have managed to keep on track and keep everyone safe.
Finally, although this year, we will not be able to hold our staff Christmas Party, we still hope to ZOOM together to share some fun, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Knowing that a vaccination is around the corner, gives us hope that 2021 will be a much better year. So, here’s wishing everyone a safe Merry Christmas.