RUPCO, the Hudson Valley’s leading housing advocate and community developer, received a highly competitive Unified Funding 2017 Early Round Award from New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR). RUPCO will receive an annual allocation of federal and NYS housing tax credits that will yield private investment of well over $11 million dollars along with $4,824,272 in grant sources designed to create affordable and middle-income housing and foster community development. The funding will enable RUPCO to build Energy Square, a 57-apartment, new construction development at 20 Cedar Street, Kingston. RUPCO was one of five organizations receiving funding through NYS HCR Early Awards program, which is designed to accelerate construction of shovel-ready developments. The projects must meet State housing goals, including the creation of mixed-income housing, proximity to public transportation, placement in strong school districts, or the provision of support services for formerly homeless individuals or those with special needs.
RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Today’s announcement builds on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to ensuring that working families, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who have experienced homelessness have high-quality, affordable, safe places to call home. Maintaining and expanding our affordable housing stock creates inclusive communities that are essential to growing New York State’s economy.”
“Energy Square is the second leg of a redevelopment trifecta that cuts across midtown – including The Lace Mill and The Metro – that we believe will be truly transformative for Kingston and the region,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “Once again, RUPCO’s vision calls for an innovative and adaptive reuse of a vacant, fallow property that will create mixed-income and mixed-use to couple residential living with a fabulous local nonprofit agency, the Center for Creative Education. Energy Square will be the first affordable housing project in the Hudson Valley to achieve net zero for living by combining an energy-efficient building envelope with geothermal ground source technology and enough solar panels to offset utility costs for residents. Energy Square creates jobs, eliminates blight, doubles the local tax contribution of the prior commercial use, and combats the feared onslaught of gentrification by converting non-residential, vacant property to mixed-income, rental housing that will remain affordable for the next half century! We look forward to an early spring construction start and delivering this exciting building project in the Fall of 2019.”
RUPCO secured ownership of the long-defunct Mid-City Lanes in September 2017 with NeighborWorks Capital provided financing for the $615,109 purchase. The site includes the vacant bowling alley and 1.5-acre property at 20 Cedar Street, Kingston. Dutton Architecture of Kingston, NY designed the multi-use complex to reflect the character of Midtown Kingston while providing innovative use of the small site for energy generation, outdoor residential space, and parking.
“Located in the heart of our Midtown community, Energy Square will offer high quality housing for various income levels, as well as innovative programming and resources for youth and adults,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “I appreciate RUPCO’s vision for this project, which strengthens the revitalization efforts we have underway in Midtown and compliments our community’s commitment to sustainability and green building. With the burgeoning Midtown Arts District, the upcoming Broadway Streetscape Project, and key investments in business, healthcare and educational facilities along the corridor- and with Energy Square right in the center of it all- we have the opportunity to support our existing residents and attract new residents and businesses to Midtown. I look forward to seeing this project move forward and welcoming the first residents of Energy Square to their new home in 2019!”
The co-location of a community-based arts education program with other commercial and community-serving enterprises will anchor 10,000-square-feet of commercial-civic space that occupies much of the emerging design’s first floor. The upper floors of the varied, 5-story construction will deliver 57 affordable rental apartments, to be constructed, owned and managed by RUPCO, a trusted community partner with a proven track record for delivering high-quality affordable housing in the Hudson Valley. Nine units will be offered “near market rate” to drive a greater income mix to Midtown.
“Center for Creative Education is excited to hear that RUPCO has been awarded the funding needed to move the E2 project forward! The new facility will allow CCE to house our growing programs in Arts, wellness and cultural education for children, youth and adults,” adds Bryant “Drew” Andrews, Executive Director at Center for Creative Education. “We look forward to collaborating with RUPCO on community driven projects and programs being offered at the new site. Energy Square will provide additional multi-income housing, businesses, job opportunities and community programming and will be a great benefit to Midtown and Kingston as a whole!”
Troy, NY-based general contractor U.W. Marx will oversee construction, the first new construction in Midtown in decades. According to the Association of Home Builders report, The Local Economic Impact of a Typical Affordable Housing Tax Credit Project” (September 2005), a 100-unit, $20-million housing construction will generate nearly $8-million in local income, $1.8-million in local business owners’ income, $6-million in local wages & salaries, $742,000 in local taxes and support 149 local jobs. Energy Square’s 57 units will have an adjusted economic impact, but brings outside money for construction and new resident disposable incomes to the area, both welcome prospects for local business owners. Long-term job creation projects 35 new positions created with the introduction of new housing to Kingston.
Energy Square will target mixed incomes. Nine apartments will serve middle-income families or individuals with incomes up to 90% of the area median income (AMI) or $70,650 for a family of 4. Other apartments will target residents earning 60%, 50% and 30% of AMI. Rents are dependent on income. One-bedroom apartments will range from $411 to $883; two-bedrooms will range from $883 to $1,237; and three-bedroom apartments will range from $1,020 to $1,428.
“Energy Square poses a fabulous opportunity to Kingston’s young adults as well,” adds O’Connor. “We’ve added a comprehensive workforce development plan for the recruitment, training and hiring of low-income residents from the surrounding neighborhoods. The plan includes the participation of UW Marx, sub-contractors, Ulster YouthBuild and Ulster County’s Office of Employment & Training/Workforce Development that will deliver a program of recruitment, mentoring and job training for a minimum of 12 low-income residents, age 17 to 30 from surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Kingston.” Additionally, seven apartments are targeted to house at-risk young people, ages 18 to 24. Kingston’s future depends on young people and their entrepreneurial spirits.”
Energy Square will be the first Net-Zero-for-Living, mixed-use residential building in Kingston. This innovation places Kingston as a regional leader demonstrating energy-independence can be done well and cost-effectively in city centers. The E2 housing proposal has already won NYSERDA support in the form of a $1-million Cleaner Greener Communities Grant. Net-Zero-for-Living is the high water mark for energy efficiency and green building, where 100% energy consumed on-site is generated on-site. Energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, energy-efficient building envelope, and other innovative energy-saving approaches will help negate residential energy use.
“I applaud everyone involved in this project, which underscores the value of public-private partnerships in advancing clean energy technologies throughout the housing stock across the state. Governor Cuomo is committed to ensuring the availability of housing that is energy efficient, making it a win-win for the residents who will reap the benefits of these upgrades and our environment,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.
Energy Square adds innovative accommodations to Kingston’s available housing stock, and addresses the City’s deficit of affordable housing, an identified need in the Tri-County Housing Report. “We’re creating a dynamic, vibrant, safe neighborhood by bringing density – PEOPLE, their families and their spending dollars – to Midtown,” says O’Connor. “We see the future growth spurred by Kingston’s growing healthcare corridor and newly designated Midtown Arts District. We see Kingston’s reputation synonymous with inspiration, innovation, and techno-preneurship.”
RUPCO’s PILOT starts at $82,000 with annual escalators. The bowling alley tax bill was $37,000. RUPCO, a tax-exempt 501(c)3, pays nearly $271,500 each year in city, county and school taxes despite its nonprofit status. In 2016-2017, RUPCO paid $215,477.64 in combined taxes for six Kingston properties.
“We see the City of Kingston as an innovator in community development through affordable housing, energy efficiency, technology and creativity,” continued O’Connor. “The vitality of Kingston depends on people, and people need a place to live. Rental apartments are one piece of the housing solution we bring to compliment homeownership. Renters save money, some buy houses. When they fall in love with Kingston’s Midtown, they’re bound to stay.”
RUPCO is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 245 housing and community developers. Since 2005, NeighborWorks has awarded RUPCO “Exemplary” organizational health status following its annual review of RUPCO’s fiduciary practices, program services, and accountability. An effective change agent, RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation, energy efficiency and real estate development. Most recently, RUPCO closed on The Metro at 2 South Prospect Avenue, Kingston, a community wealth-building development plan in partnership with Stockade Works to bring job training, Film/TV opportunities, and maker’s space to the area. With 58 employees working in 6 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 neighborhood revitalization in Newburgh’s historic East End. RUPCO most recently received national recognition by accepting 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.
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 nearly 100 families in 2017 achieve their dreams of homeownership. RUPCO’s vision to create strong, vibrant and diverse communities with opportunity and a home for everyone by spearheading programs in rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, home rehab and sustainability, supportive housing and community wealth-building. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.