Libertad Elmira Will Create 90 Affordable Homes Including 20 Supportive Homes for Homeless Veterans
Investment Complements "Southern Tier Soaring" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of Libertad Elmira, a $20 million development that will create 90 affordable homes in downtown Elmira, including 20 supportive homes for homeless veterans. Developed by The Vecino Group, Libertad Elmira will transform the 88,000-square foot John W. Jones Court building, which has been vacant for nearly 20 years, into a mixed-use facility with a 2,000-square foot community space that will house Head Start programming and a neighborhood market.
"This investment will further our revitalization of Elmira's downtown while supporting our veterans and helping to ensure more New Yorkers have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home," Governor Cuomo said. "As we transform cities across this region into thriving hubs filled with jobs, quality education and vibrant culture, the Southern Tier will continue to soar."
Governor Cuomo's commitment to strengthening communities and growing the Southern Tier economy is reflected in Southern Tier Soaring, a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative that has injected more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012. The state's support of Libertad Elmira complements Southern Tier Soaring by replacing vacant buildings in downtown Elmira with new, affordable homes that will bring new life to the city.
Libertad Elmira will include 20 apartments reserved for formerly homeless veterans who will receive services and support through Governor Cuomo's Empire Sate Supportive Housing Initiative. Support services will be provided by the Economic Opportunity Program, Inc.
The building's 2,000 square foot community service facility will house Head Start programming and a neighborhood market. The market will provide job training to Libertad Elmira residents and students at nearby Elmira College. The Economic Opportunity Program, Inc. will operate the Head Start programming and the market.
Residential amenities include a fitness center, a community room with communal kitchen, a study room, indoor and outdoor bike storage, and spaces for dental and medical screenings. Each apartment will have a washer and dryer. The project includes renovation of several outdoor seating areas and courtyards.
Libertad Elmira is within walking distance to retail, restaurants, medical facilities, banks, parks, public transit, Ernie Davis Park, and advances the revitalization of Elmira's downtown core. In 2016, Governor Cuomo awarded Elmira $10 million as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The DRI is focused on transforming the City of Elmira's center into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood that will be an attractive place for New Yorkers to live, work and play.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal provided over $17 million in financing in the form of tax-exempt bond financing and subsidy for the property renovation. HCR's Federal Low-Income Tax credit allocation will generate additional equity for the project, as well as State and Federal Historic Tax Credits.
Since 2011, HCR has built or preserved over 1,900 units of affordable housing in the Southern Tier with more than $158 million in HCR resources which have leveraged more than $234 million in private investment. That includes 307 units built or preserved in Chemung County with $33 million in HCR resources.
Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Libertad Elmira will advance Governor Cuomo's investment in downtown Elmira by transforming a dilapidated, vacant building into affordable homes, and educational and job training opportunities that integrate and support the surrounding community. In continuing the revitalization of downtown, Libertad Elmira will help the Southern Tier economy soar."
Senator Tom O'Mara said, "We're grateful for this state investment in the development of Libertad Elmira and safe, affordable housing for downtown residents, including important support for formerly homeless veterans. This exciting development will make an enormous difference in many lives and to the overall quality of the city of Elmira."
Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli said, "This is an important community renewal project that will revitalize a long vacant and blighted property in Elmira. It will also serve as an another important piece for providing affordable quality housing in our community."
Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell said, "Many thanks go out to Governor Cuomo, his staff and the staff at New York State Homes and Community Renewal for their continued investment in Elmira. With their assistance our City has embarked on a renaissance as Elmira is well on the way of revitalization which has not occurred in this City in many years. Jones' Court sat vacant and blighted for a long time. With the efforts of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, this building will be alive again. To all the staff of HCR, sincere thanks go out to you from a grateful community for breathing life back into this building."
Rick Manzardo, President of The Vecino Group, said, "The Vecino Group is excited to be part of the revitalization of Elmira, and confident Libertad's residents will help bring additional vibrancy to the area. When you take a blighted building and bring it back to life, the change it can make in a community is exciting. We look forward to watching this unfold."
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.
Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.