October 22, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Preservation of Two Affordable Housing Developments in Rochester

Governor Cuomo Announces Preservation of Two Affordable Housing Developments in Rochester

Rehabilitation of Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower Will Protect and Upgrade Affordable Housing for 529 Families

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the preservation of two affordable housing developments in Rochester - the start of a $118 million rehabilitation of Southeast Towers and the completion of a $25 million rehabilitation of E.L. Tower. Rehabilitation work on the two developments will upgrade and modernize 529 homes while protecting affordability of these units for years to come.

"These two developments are part of our ongoing efforts to preserve and increase affordable housing opportunities for New York's families," Governor Cuomo said. "Together, the rehabilitation of Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower will support the continued revitalization of downtown Rochester and build upon our efforts to move the Finger Lakes forward."

"The rehabilitation of two affordable housing developments in Rochester builds on our statewide investment in affordable and supportive housing," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The renovation of Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower adds over 500 modernized homes that are affordable, high-quality housing options for residents. We are committed to transforming the lives of all New Yorkers with expanded access to housing and strengthening neighborhoods for the future in the Finger Lakes and across the state."

The Governor's commitment to strengthening communities and growing the Finger Lakes economy is reflected in Finger Lakes Forward, the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State's investment in Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower complements the Finger Lakes Forward initiative by preserving affordable housing for families. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has financed the creation or preservation of nearly 6,700 affordable multifamily homes in the Finger Lakes Region including more than 2,400 in Rochester.

Southeast Towers

Southeast Towers was originally built in 1974 and consists of a 17-story building with 250 apartments at 436 East Broad Street and an eight-story building with 126 apartments at 16 Savannah Street. As part of the redevelopment project, an additional 40 obsolete townhomes on Savannah Street will be demolished and rebuilt in later phases. The developer is Conifer Realty, LLC.

All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income, and 267 apartments will be covered under a Project Based Rental Assistance Housing Assistance Payment contract under the Department of Housing and Urban Development's RAD2 program.

Interior renovations to Southeast Towers will include replacement of kitchen cabinets, counters, plumbing and lighting fixtures in all apartments; door replacement; repair or replacement of plaster finishes including abatement of asbestos-containing and lead paint-containing finishes; new electric baseboard radiation and wall AC units; new lighting and security cameras in common areas; upgrade to elevator systems; and replacement of hot water systems. Exterior renovations include roof and window replacement, new entrance awnings, concrete repair and cleaning and new site amenities landscaping.

Southeast Towers is part of Governor Cuomo's $1 billion House NY initiative to rehabilitate a portfolio of 35 aging state-financed Mitchell-Lama middle-income affordable developments that were transferred to HCR in 2013. Since Governor Cuomo took office, the state has made vigorous efforts to refinance, rehabilitate and preserve all remaining state-aided Mitchell-Lama projects as affordable housing. Since 2011, over 20,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments have been rehabilitated into safe, quality homes.

HCR provided $13.3 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $33.1 million in equity and an additional $31.5 million in subsidy. The City of Rochester is providing $1.4 million in HOME and Cash Capital funds. HCR refinanced approximately $30.7 million in existing debt.

E.L. Tower

E.L. Tower, formerly known as Southview Towers, was originally built in 1973 as a Mitchell-Lama affordable housing development and later operated under the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. The 17-story building located at 500 South Avenue has 193 one-bedroom apartments. The developer is Landsman Development.

Most apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income with 76 apartments covered under a Project Based Housing Assistance Payment contract with the Rochester Housing Authority. Forty-one apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income and reserved for formerly homeless individuals referred by Person Centered Housing Options, Inc. (PCHO). These units will be filled as vacant units are made available. PCHO is providing onsite supportive services accessible to all residents.

Renovations to E.L. Tower included the replacement of the building's plumbing system; installation of new elevators and new security cameras on each floor; renovations to the community room and upgrade of the community room kitchen; and new washers and dryers in the laundry room. Individual apartment improvements included new kitchen appliances, counters, cabinets and tile flooring; new bath fixtures and ceramic tile flooring; and new doors.

HCR provided $4 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $8.6 million in equity and an additional $9.7 million in subsidy. The City of Rochester provided $650,000 in HOME funds.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The preservation of Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower protects affordability for over 500 families while also providing them a safer and more modern home. As Rochester's economy continues to grow, it is essential that we maintain high quality, affordable housing opportunities so that all residents can share in these revitalization efforts. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, we are doing more than ever to improve Rochester's neighborhoods and keep the Finger Lakes moving forward."

Senator Joseph Robach said, "Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in safe housing, regardless of income or economic status. Safe and modern affordable housing is always in high demand, the renovations of Southeast Towers and E.L. Tower are great news for the Rochester housing market and those in the market for a new place to call home."

Assembly Member David Gantt said, "These two developments are an important source of affordable housing for Rochester's families. The renovations announced today will enhance quality of life and improve safety for residents. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and partners for bringing these projects to fruition."

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "In Monroe County, we invest over half a billion dollars each year to support our families who need it most, and one of the greatest challenges is pairing them with safe, affordable housing to call home. It is extremely gratifying to see our partners in Government, developers and advocates all working together to build stronger families in Monroe County, and I look forward to seeing the opportunities that this project will provide for hundreds of parents and children in our community."

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, "Safe, quality and affordable housing is a fundamental human right and thanks to our partnership with the State of New York and the local development community, we are doing all we can to provide that right to the residents of Rochester. I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Homes and Community Renewal along with Landsman Development Corp. and Conifer Realty for making these investments in Rochester and for helping us advance our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens."

Timothy Fournier, President and CEO, Conifer Realty, said, "Conifer is so proud to be a part of the Rochester community and the revitalization the Neighborhood of Play is undergoing currently. We have diligently and passionately pursued the opportunity to lead the efforts to rehabilitate, modernize and reposition Southeast Towers. Our highly skilled team together with Federal, State, City officials and local residents are working diligently to transform the property into a vibrant, state-of-the-art apartment community. Over the next three years, Southeast Towers will become one of the finest apartment communities in all of Rochester and will create "A HOME for Possibilities," for hundreds of residents."

James Goff, President and CEO, Landsman Development Corp, said, "Southview Towers, now renamed E. L. Tower in honor of Elliott Landsman, is the first residential community that Elliott and Landsman Development Corp. invested in back in 1973. We are delighted and thankful that the State and the City agreed to partner with us to restore it into a modern residential property with an upgraded community room, improved site-wide security, a welcoming and more secure main entrance, and totally upgraded apartments. It now fits more appropriately in the evolving South Wedge neighborhood. This is a very special property and we are delighted E. L. Tower has now been totally renovated for the benefit of our residents, our neighborhood, and our city."

Nicholas Coulter, President, CEO and Co-Founder, PCHO, said, "In conjunction with the fabulous renovations and amenities provided at EL Tower, Landsman has partnered with Person Centered Housing Options and Providence Housing Development Corporation to provide on-site support services to PCHO residents utilizing the Housing First Model, and provide coordination of community services, health care, and care management for residents at large. Merging housing with support services is a unique opportunity for the residents and housing providers to grow and serve the community like never before."

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. 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 Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 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 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.


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