300 Flatbush Avenue display boardWe’re ready to answer your questions about the senior and supportive housing opportunity at 300 Flatbush Avenue, Kingston. This page is a work-in-progress designed to share the latest information on our vision for Landmark Place (the former Alms House) and new construction proposed for this location. If you have questions, please email Tara Collins. We will update this page frequently in the coming weeks. This page was late updated on 2/21/17.

Q: I think the purchase price of $950,000 is low and the County could have done better.

A: The County deemed the property as surplus several years ago. RUPCO has agreed to pay $950,000 for a building that has been vacant for 3.5 years and widely marketed during that time. When RUPCO’s offer was made, it was the highest offer received on the property to that point by a large margin.

Q: How many units are going to be built?

A: RUPCO plans 66 apartments of senior and supportive housing to meet the critical shortage of permanent, affordable housing for seniors and residents with special needs. We intend to create 34 apartments in the historic structure and 32 apartments, for seniors 55 and over, in a new building.

Q: Why is this building historically significant?

A: This building is historically significant to Kingston as it was the City’s first public trust built in 1872. Click here for more on the history of The Almhouse. We are committed to listing the Alms House on the National Register of Historic Places. To date, the City and County support the designation, and RUPCO filed the  application in January 2017. Click here for that historic submission; once Part 1 is approved, we will submit Part 2 addressing the building’s restoration in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. We have a reputation for historic rehabilitation as evident in our award-winning, nationally recognized efforts at The Lace Mill, The Stuyvesant and The Kirkland. These three, all located in Kingston, preserve our City’s cultural heritage while contributing mixed-uses and mixed-income residential housing. Contrary to popular belief, RUPCO pays property taxes on all of these properties and is among the largest taxpayers in the City of Kingston.

The building is also historically significant because of architect J.A. Woods, who designed The Stuyvesant and other iconic structures such as the Tampa Hotel, today known as Plant Hall and home of the Henry B. Plant Museum at University of Tampa campus.

Q: Why use this historic building for a housing development?

A: Developing the site as housing is consistent with its history. It was built as the community’s Almshouse, as a pace for vulnerable members of the community to live. In addition, developing the site for other commercial or retail uses would have much greater environmental impacts. Our proposed development will preserve the residential and pastoral character of the site.

Q: Is RUPCO using local taxpayer dollars?

A: No. However, we will utilize the federal and state historic tax credits, already appropriated for the sole purpose of historic rehabilitation and preservation. This funding will provide 1/3 of the total funding needed to rehabilitate the former Almshouse at 300 Flatbush Avenue. If not used in Kingston, these historic tax credits will be used elsewhere. Restoration of this architectural gem, designed by the region’s leading architect J.A. Woods (1837-1910), is an opportunity to bring federal and state funds to our City which will benefit local contractors and the businesses that support them. (Think deli, gas station, building supply, etc.) We are also exploring low-income tax credits, outside funding sources, debt and mortgage options.

Q: Do we really need more senior and supportive housing, housing for the poor?

A: RUPCO is responding to the local need and Governor Cuomo’s call to create 1,200 units of supportive housing statewide. In fact, RUPCO has already secured a conditional award under the Governor’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) that will have New York State provide all of the operating and supportive service funding needed for the campus.

The City of Kingston hasn’t seen any affordable senior housing units built in 16 years when Brigham Senior Housing was built on O’Neil Street in 2001. The Three-County Regional Housing Needs Assessment, conducted by economist Jeffrey Carr and paid for by the Dyson Foundation, analyzed the affordable housing gaps for both rental and owner-occupied housing for every municipality in Orange, Dutchess and Ulster Counties. In addition to the overall shortfalls, the study provided recommendations for the “to be built” numbers to help meet the gaps through the years 2008, 2015 and 2020.

On any given day in Ulster County, roughly 400 people of all ages (170 of them single people) live in cramped motel rooms; this temporary sheltering costs taxpayers between $1500 and $3000 per person per month. The County pays 71% of this cost. That homeless snapshot does not include an unidentifiable number of men, women, adolescents, and children living on the street, under bridges, or in the woods. Nor does it include the scores of individuals ill-housed in overcrowded boarding homes, sleeping on a friend’s sofa or staying at their in-laws.

Q: Why should taxpayer money support senior and supportive housing rents?

A: We are not using any direct City or County taxpayer money for resident living. In fact, the supportive housing units will save Ulster County taxpayers money by providing affordable housing to those in need: seniors, frail & elderly, disabled, and veterans, many of whom suffer from mental illness like PTSD, which result in chronic homelessness.

Similarly, we will save Ulster County taxpayers money by providing affordable housing with NYS operating support which in turn saves taxpayers the cost of per diem hotel rates for the homeless. City and County taxpayers currently pay nearly $100 per night to house the homeless in hotels, motels or shelters. There are approximately 170 homeless people receiving this housing each day. By providing safe, permanent supportive housing to those in need in our community, we’re saving taxpayer dollars.

We’re also relieving the stress placed on our police/fire/EMS personnel and emergency rooms.

Q: Will RUPCO pay taxes on this property?

A: Yes! This property has been off the tax roll since the late 1800’s. We will put it on the tax rolls and pay taxes, either through a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) or in accordance with NYS Law 581a, as we do on all of our properties. This past tax cycle (2015-2016), RUPCO paid $184,393.32 in school, City and County taxes for our properties located in the City of Kingston.

Q: Why is Kingston always being asked to provide affordable housing?

A: The need for affordable housing for seniors, homeless veterans and others with special needs is critical across NYS as it is here in the Hudson River Valley, Ulster County and the City of Kingston. There has been no new senior housing built in the City of Kingston since 2001. RUPCO is responding to Governor Cuomo’s call to build 1,200 new supportive apartments to alleviate this crisis by bring 35 supportive units to this campus in 2017. Also, Kingston is the County seat, making it central to many County services and programs.

Q: I think this is a waste of money; Kingston or the County do not benefit from the sale of this property to RUPCO.

A: The purchase price of $950,000 benefits the County and its taxpayers. Estimated development costs are $20-million. This work will be performed by local and regional contractors, who employ local people, who spend their money with businesses and retailers regionally. This is a win-win for Kingston and Ulster County. the funding for these capital costs comes from federal or state resources that have already been appropriated for the specific purposes of historic preservation, affordable and supportive housing. The decision to spend these funds has already been made by Congress and our State Legislature. RUPCO believes it is paramount that we access these funds to meet our critical local needs.

By creating Landmark Place, RUPCO is bringing $20-million to the region. We are one of the few businesses, let alone nonprofits, spearheading this kind of economic bump and we’re proud to be a part of the solution that brings home affordable housing and community development funding., Also, restoring the property to the tax rolls generates significant tax revenue to the City and County, relieving the tax burden for others. And providing safe housing for person currently accessing taxpayer-funded hotel stays and emergency medical services, will save taxpayer money as well.

Q: Why trust RUPCO?

A: RUPCO has built and managed safe, high-quality development throughout Kingston and the broader Hudson Valley for 35 years. And it’s not just housing developments. Our mission is to create homes, support people, and improve communities. Our vision is for strong, vibrant and diverse communities with opportunity and a home for everyone. We create affordable housing, assist first-time homebuyers, and rehabilitate owner-occupied energy retrofits. We build new and do historic rehabilitation through adaptive reuse of older buildings. We have employed creative placemaking and most recently, community wealth building — to improve our communities. Our reputation places us in a unique position for funding approvals. We take pride in our work and the honor of helping families, seniors and others discover a place to call “Home.”

In addition to Landmark Place at 300 Flatbush Avenue, RUPCO recently completed The Lace Mill, and has proposals in the pipeline for E2: Energy Square and MetLife/Stockade Works. We are also working with the Friends of Historic Kingston on the historical stabilization of Frog Alley.

Q: What does "being homeless" REALLY mean?

A: We’ve got stories, and unfortunately, lots of them: