Gimme Roots
Holly at The Lace Mill

Holly dressed as Queen Bee for Sinterklaas, outside The Lace Mill

She opens the door to a Lace Mill gallery. She reminds me of every favorite Art and English teacher I’ve ever had. She’s an accomplished writer, poet and Mom. A part of Ulster County and its thriving artist community for her entire life, Holly is one of the people that makes our area the amazing place it is.

As we sit on soft leather couches in the gallery, other residents stop in and out, asking for an opinion on an art project or quick feedback on an inspiration. I ask her if she knows her neighbors, really knows her neighbors. Is The Lace Mill a social building? Her eyes light up.  Residents of The Lace Mill bond over everything: their families, growing up, religion, even politics. At this point in time, almost everyone in the building seems to love the Netflix show, The Adventures of Kimmy Schmidt.

“I do know my neighbors, and I love my neighbors!” extolls Holly. “I was thinking just today that it would be weird for me to move away and not see them anymore. And that’s after less than a year.”  In that time, Holly’s life has changed for the better. Within a place she calls Home, she embraces her true self: a comforting, welcoming, and happy woman. With great shoes.

“It’s been a hard few years in these parts,” Holly says.  “Because the apartments are subsidized, my rent is lower than average local rents, and that’s changed my life substantially.  I had been fighting for a while the idea of having to leave Ulster County, which has been home all my life, to find some place more affordable. Since being here, I’ve applied for artist residencies (where you go and just write for an entire month), and I am leading a poetry workshop in Missouri this summer, at an academic conference about Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote The Little House on the Prairie books, which are important historical documents about pioneer life.  Maybe even more exciting, I am going to have an article in the local paper, which I have wanted to do since High School. Lace Mill has let me focus on creating the life I want, rather than imagining it to be somewhere else, in some imaginary future.”

She’s realized what a role being safely housed plays in much mental illness, something she spoke about at a recent public hearing in support of Landmark Place. She’s seen first-hand how housing stability plays a huge role in productivity, and what a difference secure housing makes in a person’s life.

Because she’s got a solid place to live, Holly can now open herself to new writing opportunities and collaborations. She plans to hold poetry workshops and finish her new book. Since moving in to The Lace Mill, she’s coordinated several group shows, called Samplers, and gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol in December. Seeing people excited to create new work is what makes the time putting together things like The Spring Sampler worth it, and she loves brainstorming with other creative spirits in The Lace Mill.

She and I agree that having a secure place to live makes you a happier person. Life is hard enough. There are lots of people suffering from all sorts of different things. “I think that when you chronically don’t know where you’re going to live in a year, mental wellness suffers. Everybody needs a place to regroup and ‘just be.’ Moving around a lot, or not having a place to land — it definitely makes a hard situation worse.”

Holly knows what Home means to her. She happily and knowingly appreciates her neighbors, and newfound opportunities. Having roots for the first time, Holly thrives, more and more every day.

Rachel Barnett headshotFreelance writer Rachel Barnett wrote this interview while serving as Editorial Assistant in RUPCO’s Communications Department (Fall 2016) as part of the SUNY-Ulster Internship Program. This interview has been updated, reflecting a few of Holly’s more current artistic activities.

Rachel too knows the important connection between housing and mental wellness; her brother strives for mental wellness, too. Rachel has seen the benefits of stable housing and its affect on his life, and hers. A lover of all things avante garde, Rachel too appreciates fabulous glasses and great shoes.  

 

 

WIMBY: Welcome in My Backyard

WIMBY: Welcome in My BackyardTwo words I believe are very dangerous together, though benign alone: Us. Them.

Uttered in singularity, neither word brings much to mind except perhaps a grade school spelling test or two. Uttered together in virtually any context, and the speaker has just created a dichotomy that truly does not have to exist.

Yet we do this. We speak like this daily.

“Why are they so much different than us?” “Why are they taking what belongs to us”?

And when we consider our neighborhoods, our villages and cities, we pit “us” vs. “them,” and we create the phenomenon called NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard.

Let’s be honest. When we say “Why do they have to live here with us?” that is exactly what we are saying.  We are saying that “they” don’t belong. But we do. Do we stop and think what gives us the right to make this determination? Do we stop to consider who has helped each of us along the way? Do we consider that at any moment “us” can become “them”? In fact, each of one of us is a “they” to someone else.

No. We don’t consider those questions. We move forward. We close our eyes to our neighbors who have come on hard times. We close our eyes as we walk in Kingston, focusing on the new shiny renovated spaces, the blue sky, the historic district. We close our eyes to our community. We miss the beauty that can be found in need. We miss the opportunity to be more than ourselves.

We, as individual members of our community, cannot do many things on our own. We cannot individually make the opioid drug epidemic go away. We can’t stop people from developing terminal illnesses. We cannot individually hide on our porches, behind our picture windows, behind our fear hoping that someday we will go for a walk in Kingston and all of the people who make us uncomfortable — just because they are them and not us — have been cared for by someone else because we don’t want to do it.

But, a community that decides to do right by everyone who is a member of that community, can collectively do anything.

It starts with admitting to ourselves that we all know right from wrong. We were all taught this at some point. And, even if we weren’t, we know right from wrong because we are human.

We share this community, but we do not get to choose who our community members are. Learn about the community, love the community, enjoy your neighborhoods, parks and restaurants.

But never forget that this community is our community, collectively. Beautiful, ugly, new, old, rich, poor, homeowners and homeless. No matter how hard we try to separate “us” from “them,” it is impossible because it is not reality, nor should it be.

I offer WIMBY. Welcome In My Back Yard. Let’s change the conversation. Let’s open ourselves up to the opportunities that come when we avail ourselves to them.

Let’s be WE.

And most of all, let us do what is right.

Eliza Bozenski, RUPCO Advisory CouncilEliza Bozenski is a member of RUPCO’s Advisory Council since 2017. She also works as Director of Anderson Foundation for Autism, and has been with that organization since 2006.

Collaboration Transforms Newburgh’s Historic East End

Newburgh Rebuilding Community One Home at a TimeCollaboration is key to the renewal of downtown Newburgh. To celebrate that collective vision, regional housing & community developer RUPCO, of Kingston, hosts a groundbreaking ceremony TODAY, Friday, April 7 at Safe Harbors Lobby at The Ritz, 107 Broadway, from 11a.m. to 1 p.m.

The groundbreaking ceremony officially recognizes the groundwork laid by the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization community redevelopment discussions. The free, public event marks the construction launch at several properties, a scattered-site development symbolizing teamwork among RUPCO, NYS Homes & Community Renewal, Newburgh Community Land Bank, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, and other state and local partners. In the next 18 months, RUPCO plans to bring 45 affordable apartments online on five city blocks just off Broadway. The 15 buildings under historic redevelopment include homes located on Lander, South Miller, First, Johnston  and DuBois Streets. Click here for the walking tour map.

Ayanna Martine, a local singer and SUNY-Orange graduate, will kick off the festivities at 11 a.m. Representatives from partner agencies, as well as dignitaries from the NYS Assembly, NYS Attorney General’s Office, City of Newburgh, and NeighborWorks America will take the podium at 11:20 a.m. Light refreshments and a walking tour of the neighborhood round out the day’s events. The program outlines the many partners participating:
Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, RUPCO
Catherine A. Maloney, Chairperson, RUPCO Board of Directors
Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director, Newburgh Community Land Bank
Lisa Silverstone, Executive Director, Safe Harbors of the Hudson
Darren Scott, Upstate East Director of Development, NYS Homes & Community Renewal
Chris Wheaton, on behalf of Frank Skartados, NYS Assemblyman, 10th District
Jill Faber, Assistant District Attorney in Charge, NYS Attorney General’s Office-Poughkeepsie
K. James Dittbrenner, Managing Director, Sterling National Bank
Judy Kennedy, Mayor, City of Newburgh
Michael Ciaravino, City Manager, City of Newburgh
Richard Carron, Chief of Police, City of Newburgh
Joe Donat, on behalf of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Karen Mejia, Councilmember, City of Newburgh
Joan Straussman, Regional Vice President, NeighborWorks America

39a Johnston Street, Newburgh

39a Johnston Street, Newburgh

“Reviving the City of Newburgh has to be a collaborative approach,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO (Kingston). “Newburgh’s time is now. We’re here to rebuild community one home at a time. With the help of our partners and local homeowners, together we can turn things around with housing as the keystone. Through this restoration work, we’re preserving the historic value of this neighborhood’s past and investing in this city’s future. These homes are proof of the momentum and imagination of what can be NEW-burgh.”

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “The Newburgh CORe Neighborhood Revitalization Project is an important part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to investing in projects that breathe new life into distressed communities. We are excited about the potential this development has for revitalizing Newburgh, preserving pieces of the city’s history, and providing 45 quality homes for people who need them. Thank you to RUPCO and all the partners who are coming together to make this new development a reality.” For more on low income tax credits, check out this infographic.
 
“Safe Harbors of the Hudson is very excited to be part of the further development of Newburgh’s downtown and the revitalization its neighborhoods,” notes Lisa Silverstone, Executive Director at Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Newburgh. “We look forward to our partnership with RUPCO and expanding our innovative model of property management beyond the Cornerstone Residence.”

“Newburgh Community Land Bank is thrilled with the opportunities the RUPCO project will bring to the neighborhood and its residents,” says Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank. “In collaboration with the other homeowners, Habitat for Humanity and other property purchasers, we are confident that this neighborhood will continue its transformation into a community of choice.”

ABOUT THE REDEVELOPMENT
Newburgh Community Land Bank facilitated the property transaction with assistance from NYS Homes & Community Renewal and the NYS Attorney General’s Office. RUPCO’s scatter-site development includes 15 buildings with a mix of 1 studio, 25 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and 9 three-bedroom apartments for income-eligible individuals and working families. Apartments range in size from 482-1348 square feet. A Community policing sub-station will occupy 39B Johnston Street. Upon completion, Safe Harbors will serve as property manager. Seven apartments will be available to middle-income families. Seven apartments will be set-aside for persons, including veterans, who are homeless, and will include supportive services provided by RUPCO. Additionally, the project will provide a preference in renting apartments to up to twelve tenants who are involved in artistic and literary activities.

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

RUPCO, affordable housing advocate and innovative community developer in the Hudson Valley, is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 240 housing and community development change agents. RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation and energy efficiency and real estate development. RUPCO currently owns/manages 16 properties with 411 apartments providing homes to over 560 people. The majority of those residents represent our community’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, seniors, disabled and working class families. Through its NeighborWorks America HomeOwnership Center, RUPCO helped 30 first-time homebuyers since January 1, 81 in 2016, and another 75 in 2015, to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Through its subsidiary, RDAC assists Orange County homeowners with a variety of homeownership, foreclosure and weatherization services. Over the last five years, RUPCO’s energy efficiency and weatherization program, Green Jobs | Green New York, has helped 2,409 homeowners complete energy audits; 523 of those families have conducted energy retrofits worth $5.8 million to the local economy, saving money and energy throughout its 10-county reach. With 65 employees working in five offices, RUPCO is spearheading $71-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the 15-property Newburgh effort. RUPCO most recently received Preservation Action’s “Best of 2016” award for its historic preservation work at The Lace Mill, a long-vacant curtain factory transformed into 55 apartments preferenced for artists in midtown Kingston. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.

NEWBURGH COMMUNITY LAND BANK (NCLB)
is a leader in New York State on the forefront of land banking strategies. The NCLB implements innovative strategies designed to return vacant and abandoned property to productive use and the City’s tax rolls. The Land Bank holds, maintains, rehabilitates, and disposes of these parcels in order to ensure that they help revitalize Newburgh’s neighborhoods and increase the City’s taxable property base. While NCLB works in all areas of the city, its initial work has focused on the East End Historic District north of Broadway with the highest concentration of vacant and abandoned properties (Liberty, Chambers, Lander, Johnston, South Miller, and Dubois Streets).
For more information, visit www.newburghcommunitylandbank.org.

SAFE HARBORS OF THE HUDSON
is a mixed-use, non-profit housing, arts and community building redevelopment project in the City of Newburgh. Safe Harbors purchased the Hotel Newburgh in 2002 and in 2004 was awarded $21 million in state, county and federal funds to create a vibrant affordable, supportive housing complex. Most recently, Safe Harbors has established two vibrant commercial spaces and a half-acre urban park along Broadway. Work began in early 2017 on the first phase of the redevelopment of Safe Harbors’ historic Ritz Theater into community performing arts space where the groundbreaking ceremony will take place. For more information, visit www.safe-harbors.org.

NEW YORK STATE HOMES AND COMMUNICTY RENEWAL’S (HCR) housing and community development agencies work to create, preserve and improve affordable homes and vibrant communities, in keeping with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision of a more inclusive, affordable, sustainable, and resilient New York. In 2016, HCR set a record for the third year in a row, financing the creation or preservation of more than 17,000 affordable homes and apartments, creating nearly 2,000 homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers, and was once again the #1 affordable housing bond issuer in the nation with $2.8 billion issued. HCR stands ready to make good on the Governor’s $10 billion 100,000 affordable units House NY 2020 commitment. For more information on HCR agencies, programs and initiatives, please visit www.nyshcr.org/.

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RUPCO recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016”

National preservation societies recognize The Lace Mill’s use of Historic Tax Credits to help revitalize the City of Kingston.

From an accomplished list of Historic Preservation Projects carried out across the United States, RUPCO’s Lace Mill has been identified as one of six historic preservation projects recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016.”

This award, granted by Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, brings attention to RUPCO’s success in using the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit to transform The Lace Mill, a historically significant building that was underutilized with boarded windows and turning it into a viable community asset for the 21st century. The awards are intended to bring attention to the success of the Historic Tax Credit as a driver of economic development across the country. The awards will be handed out at the Preservation’s Best Congressional Reception to be held on March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Members of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus as well as Preservation Action members, partners and preservationists from across the nation are expected to be in attendance.

 “Preservation Action is very pleased to host this reception and recognize these exemplary historic rehabilitation projects. At a time when the future of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is uncertain, projects like The Lace Mill in Kingston, NY help to highlight the benefits of the program,” said Robert Naylor from Preservation Action.

 “We are pleased to be singled out with just a handful of projects from around the nation as a truly transformative project that adaptively restored a historic gem into a great community asset – one that is now key to the creative placemaking magic that is occurring in midtown Kinston,” said Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw early on the potential of this boarded-up building to meet one of Kingston’s varied community needs and we are thrilled with the results.”

“Having studied architecture and urban planning, I knew at the outset, that the project would make a difference in the neighborhood,” notes Scott Dutton, the project’s architect. “However, what I completely underestimated is how much of a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization this project would become and how quickly that would happen. The number of people that have told us that they made the decision to either purchase property or establish their businesses/residences in Midtown because of what they saw happening at the Lace Mills Lofts continues to astound me.”

Preservation Action has been hosting National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week for over 30 years. By honoring exemplary rehabilitation projects, its annual reception helps to highlight the benefits of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The HTC is the largest federal investment in historic preservation, responsible for redeveloping over 40,000 buildings, and contributing to the revitalization of cities and towns across the country. The Lace Mill investment was $18.7 million and fully one-third of the costs were paid for by private sector purchase of the Federal and New York State Historic Tax Credits. Morgan Stanley served as the investor.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, “HCR is proud to be part of this impressive and critically important development. The Lace Mill is once again an anchor to midtown Kingston. The preservation of this historic building will contribute to a more economically vibrant community and will provide safe, affordable housing for local artists. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR will continue to invest in the adaptive reuse of vacant, historic buildings so that we can revitalize our neighborhoods while preserving our most significant buildings.”

RUPCO is an affordable housing advocate and innovative community developer in the Hudson Valley, is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 245 housing and community development change agents. RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation and energy efficiency and real estate development. RUPCO is currently working on $75-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization. For more information, visit www.rupco.org

Preservation Action is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization created in 1974 to serve as the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation. Preservation Action seeks to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of the federal government for sound preservation policy and programs through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training and through direct contact with elected representatives.
 

Landmark Place- Proposal for Building


RUPCO’s CEO, Kevin O’Connor gives a proposal for the building of Landmark Place. Integrated into the former Alms House, this campus will offer senior and supportive living. This is the first new affordable housing option for seniors to be offered to the city of Kingston in over 16 years.

For additional details on this project, visit the Landmark Place page.

SHNNY Salutes RUPCO’s Supportive Housing Efforts

Rebecca Sauer, Supportive Housing Network of New York | SHNNY.orgRebecca Sauer, Director of Policy and Planning at Supportive Housing Network of New York, issued this statement for the Landmark Place press conference held on February 13, 2017.

Along with the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, the Supportive Housing Network of New York has been working for three years to ensure that there are sufficient resources to house the most vulnerable New Yorkers, at a time when more than 80,000 are homeless statewide. We have applauded Governor Cuomo’s commitment to develop 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years and were pleased when his budget last year included resources to develop the first 6,000 over five years through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). However, the requirement that the appropriation be subject to a Memorandum of Understanding between him, the speaker of the Assembly, and the leader of the Senate, led to unsuccessful negotiations. The full pot of money has not yet been released. Nevertheless, as a result of the tireless advocacy of our partners and members, we were able to secure funding in the amount of $150 million in last year’s budget cycle to fund the first 1,200 units of supportive housing.

RUPCO’s Landmark Place will contain 35 ESSHI units, among the first in the state to be part of this monumental commitment. The historic property will be rehabbed to house seniors, including those that are medically frail, veterans, the chronically homeless and those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. This development will allow these people the opportunity to rebuild their lives and regain stability. The Network salutes RUPCO on innovative and critically essential work.

Meanwhile, back in Albany we are prepared for another season of budget negotiations. The governor has included $2.5 billion in his budget for an affordable housing plan, including $1 billion for supportive housing over the next five years. While this budget removes the requirement for the MOU, the proposal is still subject to negotiations in the legislature. Along with our partners, we are continuing to push for the release of much-needed funds for supportive housing, be it through the signing of last year’s MOU or through the appropriation of funds in this year’s budget. Organizations like RUPCO, with the buildings they develop and tenants they serve, remind us of why these government policies are so important. We look forward to the successful construction and opening of Landmark Place and the shared work ahead.

RUPCO Pays Taxes

RUPCO pays taxesPaying our fair share is part of the deal. We direct public monies to transform communities and, in return, we pay property taxes on those we own. We are part of the communities we serve, at all levels of interaction. So to answer the question…

Yes, RUPCO pays taxes.

Below is a table outlining taxes paid through 2016:

RUPCO pays taxes

 

In a snapshot, The Kirkland, located at 2 Main Street Kingston has paid over $573,000 in taxes between 2005-2016. In 2015 alone, The Kirkland tax bill is over $55,000 in school, city and county.

The Backstory of The Kirkland article
The Kirkland, corner of Clinton & Main, #KingstonNYThe Daily Freeman recently published an article about The Kirkland. We feel it  helpful for you to have all the facts and access to our original responses which we forwarded to reporter Paul Kirby last Tuesday. We feel the real story about The Kirkland is our delivery of jobs, taxes, community space, and synergistic influences percolating inside one of Kingston’s historic gems. The larger story, of course, is how this small project jumpstarted a transformation that began Uptown and is now seeing it’s way to Midtown.

“It’s been 8 years since we completed the building” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer. “The rental units and the office space have been rented since Day One but as we all know, the market downturned in 2008. That’s the main reason a restaurant didn’t take hold at The Kirkland. In addition, the capital expense to outfit a commercial-grade kitchen and restaurant fit-up required a new tenant investment of $100k-$200k beyond our investment and that proved problematic. We started marketing the property in 2005 and showed it to several restaurateurs we even used commercial brokers but had no takers. At the time, the location was a little off the beaten path, parking limited, and many opportunities with established commercial kitchens already existed.

“When we started this project, we promised and delivered mixed use space. We cobbled together 17 different funding sources to complete the project including a $1.5M mortgage from Key Bank that RUPCO is paying. In 2010, when we converted our community space at the Stuyvesant, we invested more money to outfit The Kirkland’s Senate Room as new community space. Since 2008, RUPCO has grown from 28 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to 65 FTE jobs, including 13 FTEs employees who now work at The Kirkland. Indeed, we’ve created more good paying jobs with benefits than what a restaurant would have delivered.” The Kirkland headquarters RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York Program (GJGNY), a homeowner program designed to improve home energy efficiency through energy audits, weatherization and solar installations. GJGNY leads New York State in homeowner education, energy audits and retrofits, channeling over $5.3-million into the Hudson Valley economy; the program also saves homeowners money on their utility bills.

Originally built in 1899, the Kirkland Hotel fell into disrepair and remained derelict for over 30 years, a blight at uptown Kingston’s entryway. “We helped preserve history and put the 19th-century landmark doomed for demolition back on the tax rolls,” says O’Connor. “ Last year RUPCO paid over $55,000 in school, city and county taxes. Since we took ownership in 2005 and restored this building to its original grandeur – rebuilding the original domed cupola, installing an original wrap-around porch, improving the neighborhood – we’ve paid over $573,000 in taxes.” Winner of Best Historic Preservation Award from Friends of Historic Kingston, The Kirkland remains the gateway icon to Kingston’s Historic Stockade District.

“We hold homebuyer education classes in the Senate Room, which enabled 81 people achieve their dream of homeownership last year,” continues O’Connor. “Another 300 Housing Choice Voucher Program recipients learned about how the program works and what it takes to be good tenant. We also invested $58,000 this past fall, hiring local contractors to rehab and paint the exterior to keep it looking top notch this fall. This building has provided value to Kingston for over 100 years; we continue to do the same into the next 100.” The Kirkland is also home to eight mixed-income rental apartments providing much needed rental housing uptown.

Circle of Friends for the Dying, Ulster County Continuum of Care, twelve-step groups, Friends of Historic Kingston and O+ Festival hold monthly meetings, annual gatherings and diversity workshops here. “Once the central site the Kingston Clinic, Healthcare is a Human Right used the first floor for many years until they switched locations to The Lace Mill to meet the community demand there,” says O’Connor. “Women’s Studio Workshop and Kingston High School art students, NYC-based Center for the Study of White American Culture, Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up and local citizens have also used the space for their events. The Kirkland has consistently met the needs of our neighbors and we’re proud to adapt in ways that benefit our community as times change.”

RUPCO most recently invested in a high-tech audio/visual configuration to answer the community’s call for meeting presentation capabilities. “We continue to reinvest in the building,” says O’Connor. “We are good stewards, pay big taxes and create a large number of jobs! The Kirkland is just one spark to the economic fuel that is driving community wealth building in the Hudson Valley.”

Note: Also misreported in this article were Energy Square facts as well. As of today, possible tenants for the commercial space include Center for Creative Education and Hudson Valley Tech Meet-up; while we would have loved for them to join us on Cedar Street, Ulster County Community Action is not a potential tenant for this space.
Landmark Place Planning Department Materials

Landmark Place aerial site map

On this page, you will find the materials relevant to Landmark Place, as requested by the City of Kingston’s Planning Department for ongoing conversations at City Hall, 420 Broadway, Kingston. Submit information requests and questions through the form below. (Last updated 3/17/17)

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RUPCO receives $1M toward Historic Preservation-Community Wealth Building

The-Metro-Floor-Plan-20170111RUPCO recently received a sizable award from the Empire State Development Grant Program (ESD) through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). In early December, RUPCO received notification of a $1-million award for its Priority Status community development proposal to be called “The Metro,” located at 2 South Prospect Street, Kingston, which the Regional Economic Development Council named a “Priority Project.”

“We’re so excited to be a part of the change happening in Kingston,” notes Guy Kempe, Vice President of Community Development at RUPCO. “This CFA round was highly competitive. We’ll direct these funds for acquisition of the property we’ve held on option since August 2016. Overall, we stand amidst a solid CFA tidal wave of funding for the City of Kingston where the city, Ulster County and 4 other organizations won 11 awards amounting to $5.3 million.”

This funding comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo signing into law the New York State Film Tax Credit Program, extending a 40% tax credit to television and film studios working in Ulster County. “These tax credits can now be applied to expenses “below the line” of TV-film budgets where most salaries are accounted for. This tax credit is huge to producers and their budgets but monstrous to Ulster County and City of Kingston,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “We’re grateful to Ulster County Executive Mike Hein for his work behind the scenes to get this credit extended to Ulster County. With the County’s support and our partnership with Stockade Works, RUPCO will supply the location for TV-film production studios, a post-production & training center plus several Makers’ Spaces for local artisans and light manufacturers. Stockade Works, a nonprofit TV/film production company lead by director-actress Mary Stuart Masterson, will bring new training opportunities and TV-film industry work to the area.” The New York State Film Tax Credit Program, available in all 62 counties, is designed to increase film production and post-production industry activity and secondary economic impact. In 2014, to further incentivize film/TV production outside of New York City, state officials increased the fully refundable tax credit to 40% for shows and films with budgets over $500,000 that are made in 40 upstate counties.

The Metro, formerly the MetLife Building Hall of Records, exterior beforeAccording to a recent press release, StockadeWorks “will provide a co-working environment for industry professionals in the Hudson Valley looking to connect with their colleagues. The space will accommodate outside productions looking to find a film-friendly location. With hot desks, a conference room, event space, production offices, soundstage, picture/visual effects/sound editing suites, 100-seat state-of-the-art screening room, and film/tech-oriented maker space, the project will connect local talent, attract outside production, and provide a training ground with hands-on access to industry professionals. The studio will produce everything from TV shows to mobile apps and podcasts, and host program classes, workshops, screenings, local food and moth-style spoken word events.”

“It’s not just about new jobs in TV and film; it’s about the ancillary economic boost that the TV-film industry brings with it. It brings new people to the area, who visit and then maybe move here permanently,” says O’Connor. “This multiplier effect — the impact of one dollar recirculated among our area’s small businesses like delis, gas stations, Main Street eateries and hotels – benefits our local economy in new ways. Introducing new business opportunity — we call it Community Wealth Building — fortifies our communities by creating what we consume here, keeping local dollars local. Introducing TV-film studio space within an easy commute to New York City is the right thing at the right time. Studios on Long Island and in the City are booked well into 2020. This new creative industry is the economic boost we’ve been waiting for, to restore density to our City center and people to frequent local businesses.”

Adjacent to the local baseball field, the 70,000-square-foot MetLife building will be renamed The Metro. In addition to the TV-film amenities, The Metro will include a number of makers’ spaces for light industrial use. “This effort at The Metro is about creative placemaking, transforming midtown Kingston, improving community where people want to live, work, play, thrive, hang out,” adds O’Connor. “The Metro anchors the transformation that started at the Brush Factory and the arts-based businesses within Midtown. It expanded to The Lace Mill at the far end of Cornell Street and gained legs with the City’s Midtown Arts District. We’re poised to add new construction of mixed-income, mixed-use space at E2: Energy Square at the corner of Cedar and Iwo Jima to provide a home for Center for Creative Education, Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up and 57 families. The Metro extends this transformation to the other end of Midtown, solidifying Kingston’s creative juice throughout the City.”

“We’ve still got our work cut out for us, raising capital to secure historic tax credits and new market tax credits to preserve and renovate The Metro,” adds Kempe. “But we’re confident in the momentum generated by, and support of, the City of Kingston and Mayor Steve Noble, Ulster County and Executive Mike Hein, and area residents who stand ready for pivotal change in Midtown.” Projected improvements include historic preservation in conformance with the standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior standards, such is restoring the building façade to original  architectural plans. Site development will include landscaping and roofing upgrades; energy-efficiency improvements such as a new geo-thermal heating and cooling system; and an interior sub-division of rental spaces. The building lends itself to the maker’s space model: a single-story building with loading bays, easy access, parking and loading capacity, and high-ceilinged spaces ideal for sound stage or light manufacturing uses. Capitalization of these improvements is projected at $11.5-million. RUPCO and StockadeWorks will apply to a combination of resources such as private investors, private mortgage, New Market Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Environmental Protection Fund and ESD funding. The project currently enjoys a “Priority Status” from the Regional Economic Development Council which positions the project favorably to access further state economic development sources.

This project is included in Kingston’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) drafted to promote the redevelopment of vacant and distressed properties in midtown, as well as the removal of blight and impediments to revitalization. The adaptive reuse of the MetLife Building was identified as a signature project for DRI funding by The mid-Hudson Regional Council. This initiative will remove neighborhood blight, preserve an historic structure, create jobs and move people from persistent poverty to skilled employment. The location for this project is Census Tract 9521.00 in Ulster County, a “distressed community” which is designated by HUD as a “Qualified Census Tract” (QCT.) A QCT is any census tract in which at least 50 percent of households have an income less than 60 percent of the Average Median Income. In Ulster County as of 2016, this represents a family of 4 less than $45,540.

Creative entrepreneurial commerce exemplifies the neighborhood with area businesses Bailey Pottery, American-Made Monster, R&F Handmade Paints, M&E Manufacturing, Cornell Street Studios, ColorPage, Brush and Shirt Factories leading the charge. RUPCO’s award-winning Lace Mill anchors the midtown movement at one end with 55 homes for artists and their families. At the Ulster Performing Arts Center crossroads of Broadway and Cedar/Cornell Street, new galleries and eateries provide a business base for residents of the proposed net-zero for living mixed-use, mixed-income E2: Energy Square with 57 apartments replacing the defunct bowling alley three blocks from The Metro. Midtown’s transformation blends a mix of housing types with business ventures, historic rehabilitation and new construction of underutilized and blighted properties to revitalize the neighborhood.