Governor Hochul announces opening of $ 20 million affordable and supportive housing development in Schenectady
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of Renaissance Square Apartments, a $ 20 million affordable housing development in the Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Schenectady. The project converted historic St. Mary’s School into 25 apartments and constructed an additional building of 30 apartments, creating affordable housing in Schenectady and helping revitalize the city.
“Hardworking New Yorkers need a place they can affordably live in a safe and attractive neighborhood, with access to community services they can count on to thrive.” Governor Hochul said. “Through an adaptive reuse of this historic structure, Renaissance Square Apartments is breathing new life into this long-dormant strip of the East Avenue neighborhood of Schenectady, bringing with it affordable homes that will help continue the remarkable transformation this city ââhas suffered in recent years. “
Built at the turn of the 20th century, St. Mary’s School at 104 Irving Street closed in 1979 and had fallen into disuse. The conversion of the building into 25 apartments was designed to preserve the original architectural elements of the structure, including the arched exterior windows and masonry.
The three vacant commercial buildings at 817, 819 and 823 Eastern Avenue were demolished and replaced with a new two-story structure containing 30 apartments. Together, Renaissance Square comprises six studios, 44 one-bedroom apartments and five two-bedroom apartments. The 55 apartments are affordable for households with incomes equal to or less than 80% of the median income in the region.
See the photos of the Renaissance Square apartments.
Each apartment has Energy Star appliances, individually adjustable heating and air conditioning systems and storage space. Additional amenities include a community hall, fitness center, on-site laundry facilities, and indoor bicycle storage.
The development team consists of Better Community Neighborhoods, Inc. (BCNI) and Home Leasing, LLC as co-developers with Betts Housing Partners as a housing consultant.
State funding for Renaissance Square Apartments includes federal and state social housing tax credits that generated $ 16 million in equity and $ 296,000 in grants from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has granted federal and state historic tax credits that have generated $ 3.2 million in equity. The Capital Region Land Bank provided $ 400,000.
UNHCR Commissioner Ruth Anne Visnauskas said: âOur investment in the $ 20 million Renaissance Square apartments is a continuation of the state’s efforts to revitalize Schenectady with new affordable housing and expanded services. The century-old St. Mary’s School had become an eyesore and danger, but the transformation of the building is representative of what can be accomplished when we work with local stakeholders to solve problems and meet the unique needs of the community. Through our partnership with Better Community Neighborhoods, Inc. and Home Leased, these 55 new homes will improve the quality of life for families in Schenectady and boost economic growth in the Eastern Avenue district.
Renaissance Square Apartments is part of the state’s unprecedented five-year, $ 20 billion housing plan. Homes and Community Renewal is in the final year of the plan, which makes housing accessible and tackles homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 affordable housing units and 6,000 supportive housing units. Since 2011, the agency has invested $ 490 million in the capital region to create or preserve nearly 5,600 affordable housing units.
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said: “The Renaissance Square Apartments were originally built in 1913 to serve as a school for the parish of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. Listed on state and national registers in 2017, the old school represents growth and the pride of an early 20th century Polish immigrant community who came to Schenectady to work in the bustling workshops of General Electric Co. Over 100 years later, this site has been revitalized to again serve its community and has used historic tax credit programs to preserve the site for the benefit of future generations.
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said: âToday’s announcement is an important step in our revitalization efforts along the Eastern Avenue corridor. In the past two years alone, this half-mile stretch of Landon Terrace to Elmer Avenue has undergone a dynamic transformation with more than a dozen neighborhood revitalization recently completed or underway. initiatives. On behalf of the Town of Schenectady, I would like to thank all of our incredible economic development partners involved in this effort to support progress in our community.
BCNI Board Chairman Chad Kilbourne said: âRenaissance Square represents BCNI which is beginning to realize our vision and the momentum of our merger by continuing to invest in the neighborhoods of Schenectady and the people who live there with ever-increasing capacity and coordination in several sectors of our community. We are honored to be part of such a beautiful compliment of people engaged with the support of our civic, foundation and nonprofit and for profit colleagues for the continued advancement of our community. “
Home Leasing CEO Bret Garwood said: Renaissance Square pursues the goal of creating affordable housing in Schenectady, NY, and Home Leasing is delighted to be a part of the exciting effort to improve the quality of life. The preservation of the former St. Mary’s School and the Newly constructed apartment building on Eastern Avenue will provide 55 welcoming apartments for residents.Thanks to our local community development partner, BCNI, New York State Homes & Community Renewal, and all of our partners in this community.
MP Angelo Santabarbara said: âThe completion of the Renaissance Square Apartments is truly transformative, reviving long vacant properties with quality affordable housing for city residents. This project will allow more families to stay and put down roots right here in Schenectady. , thereby strengthening our community. Residents who will live in these units are the lifeblood of our city. They deserve access to modern, supportive housing and this complex is the result of a smart investment by the State and the Government. federal government in this essential resource.
Senator Jim Tedisco said: “The completion of the Renaissance Square Apartments will provide more residents of Schenectady with an affordable place to call home and help continue efforts to revitalize and bring economic development to the neighborhood.”
Schenectady County Legislature Deputy Speaker Philip Fields said: âThe new Renaissance Square apartments are a welcome addition to the ongoing redevelopment of the Eastern Avenue neighborhood. We are proud of the role the county has played through the Capital Region Land Bank and Metroplex in working closely with the state to transform the old St. Mary’s School and a cluster of vacant buildings on Eastern Avenue into $ 20 million in community assets and quality affordable housing for our residents. “
New York State Affordable Housing Association President and CEO Jolie Milstein said: “The incredible transformation of once vacant commercial buildings and the rehabilitation of St. Mary’s School into 55 new, state-of-the-art affordable housing for Schenectady is a testament to the power of New York’s Five-Year Housing Plan. We congratulate UNHCR. , Home Leasing and all the many partners who made this project possible.The New York State Affordable Housing Association is excited to work with the state to implement a new multi-year housing plan to make this possible. possible projects like Renaissance Square in every community across New York. “