Groundbreaking at Energy Square, $22-Million Energy-Efficient Live/Work Community

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the groundbreaking of Energy Square in Kingston, a $22-million development that replaces a dilapidated, vacant bowling alley with 57 homes affordable to residents at a variety of income levels, over 11,000 square feet of civic and commercial space, and an elevated urban park. Developed by RUPCO, Energy Square will house the Center for Creative Education, a community-based nonprofit that provides art education and job training for young adults. Energy Square’s design advances the Governor’s clean energy goals by meeting a “net-zero for living” standard which combines solar panels and energy efficient features to make it HCR’s first affordable housing development in the Hudson Valley that produces as much energy as it uses.

Energy Square complements investments being made in Kingston through the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. In July, the State announced six DRI projects that provide open public space, and community amenities, improve walkability and access to transportation, and support small businesses.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Energy Square is a unique, sustainable and exciting development that breathes new life into an outdated property and makes it possible for people of all ages and income levels to call one of Kingston’s most vibrant city neighborhoods home. By connecting residents to education and job training, while at the same time removing blight and creating state-of-the art affordable apartments for approximately 100 New Yorkers, we are realizing Governor Cuomo’s vision of making Kingston and the entire state a better place to live.”

Front facade of E2 energy square, 20 Cedar Street, KingstonEnergy Square’s 57 affordable rental apartments will be located on the upper floors of the 5-story building. There will be 2 studios, 44 one-bedroom, 7 two-bedroom, and 4 three-bedroom apartments. Two apartments will be reserved for homeless adults and another 7 apartments will be set aside for homeless young adults with services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which provides operational funding to providers for the development and operation of supportive housing for New Yorkers identified as homeless with special needs or other life challenges. RUPCO will provide supportive services for these apartments.

Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO, said, “Energy Square is the centerpiece of our placemaking efforts to help transform mid-town and the City of Kingston. Energy Square is leading the way with a sustainably designed, mixed use & income building that gathers people to live, work and play in the heart of Kingston, a city that is poised to thrive again in the 21st century.”

The building will include over 11,000 square feet on the ground floor for civic and commercial use. The Center for Creative Education will provide comprehensive community-based art and job training for young adults ages 18 to 25. The building will also include a tech meet-up space/incubator. Rents plus utilities will range from $441-$1,428; homes will be affordable to residents with earnings below Ulster County’s area median income.

Energy Square will incorporate solar panels that will produce enough energy to meet electricity usage for the entire building, providing an additional cost savings to low-income and nonprofit tenants. Additional green features include Energy Star appliances and an exterior green space on a raised platform above the parking area. By incorporating energy efficient features, the project helps move the State toward its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2030, including a target the State set in April that achieves one-third of that reduction by 2025 – the equivalent of energy used to power 1.8 million homes.

Energy Square will be constructed on the 1.3-acre site of the former Mid City Lanes bowling alley at 20 Cedar Street. Energy’s Square’s location in the heart of Kingston’s Midtown is within walking distance from jobs, healthcare, library, retail, restaurants, and SUNY Ulster.

RUPCO is partnering with Affordable Housing Concepts, Ulster County Workforce Development Board and Ulster YouthBuild to recruit, train and hire a minimum of 12 modest-income young adults ages 17 to 30 from the surrounding neighborhoods to participate in the construction of Energy Square.

New York State’s investment in Energy Square comes through New York State Homes and Community Renewal programs, including $11.7 million in federal and state low income housing tax credit equity and $4.8 million in subsidy programs.  The New York State Energy Research Development Agency provided over $1-Million in grants and incentives. Additional public and private partners include the City of Kingston, Chase, National Equity Fund, and the Community Preservation Corporation.

City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said, “Energy Square is a vital part of our Midtown revitalization plans, so we were pleased to support this effort by securing funds through NYS Restore to off-set the costs of demolishing the former bowling alley on this site,” said City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “Witnessing the transformation from a vacant building to a vibrant center for quality housing and community is a truly exciting moment for our community. I want to thank NYS Homes and Community Renewal, RUPCO, and all of the partners who came together to make this project possible. I look forward to welcoming the first tenants to their new homes once the project is complete.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “The development of this extremely high energy efficient housing project underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment and investment in reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state’s housing stock. I congratulate all of the Energy Square partners for making affordable housing a priority and ensuring the community and its residents have access to high-quality, comfortable places to live and work.”

Dave Walsh, Northeast Regional Manager for Community Development Banking, Chase, said, “We’re proud to support the development of Energy Square, which will continue to help transform Kingston into a sustainable community with safe, innovative and affordable green housing. We’re dedicated to helping foster community development and our firm has a long-term commitment to advancing environmentally sustainable solutions.”

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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