$22 Million Redevelopment of Historic Schools Creates Housing and Community Hub to Revitalize Hamilton Hill
Schenectady, N.Y. — New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the opening of Hillside View Apartments in Schenectady. The $22 million development combines the rehabilitation of the historic Horace Mann and St. Columba schools with the construction of eight new buildings on nearby parcels of land to create 58 affordable apartments. The development includes a Community Service Facility that will serve as a neighborhood hub for residents and the surrounding community, and complements a new state-of-the-art building for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady nearby that was supported by State resources.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “HCR is committed to investing in affordable housing and creating community assets to help revitalize neighborhoods like Hamilton Hill. With Hillside View, we have turned vacant schools into affordable homes for 58 households with supportive services to help ensure our veterans and homeless families have the help they need to stay in their new home.”
Hillside View Apartments reflects the State’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing as reflected in the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 of supportive housing. The plan is a comprehensive approach to statewide housing issues and includes multifamily and single-family housing, community development, and rent stabilization.
Located in the heart of Hamilton Hill neighborhood, Hillside View offers a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Thirteen apartments are set aside for veterans and homeless families, with supportive services funded by the State’s Empire State Supporting Housing Initiative.
The development features Energy Star appliances, energy efficient fiberglass windows and onsite laundry and community space. Two community rooms house a computer lab with internet access and a common kitchenette. There is parking and recreational space with outside seating, community gardens, playgrounds, and ample back yards for residents and neighbors to gather and play.
The Community Service Facility is home to Albany Barn’s Electric City Barn, a maker space for artists and community members to collaborate on creative projects. The Electric City Barn will provide space to the Schenectady Police Department and Capital Roots, which will offer local produce for sale to residents and the community. Albany Barn invested nearly $650,000 to renovate space, and purchase machinery and equipment to create a makerspace that includes a media lab, a fiber/textile studio, an electronics lab and a wood/metal fabrication lab. This project was supported by an $85,000 Empire State Development capital grant, recommended by the Capital Region Economic Development Council as a priority project during Round VII of the Governor’s REDC initiative.
Hillside View Apartments complements revitalization efforts in Hamilton Hill including construction of a new $13 million home for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, Inc. Governor Cuomo recently announced a $3 million award that will allow the Boys & Girls Clubs to move forward with the state-of the-art community facility and dramatically expand services to children, teens, and families in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.
State financing for Hillside View Apartments is provided through New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Community Investment Fund and federal and state Low-Income Housing Credits that generated $4.4 million in equity for the development and leveraged Federal and State Historic Tax Credit equity through the National Park Service, IRS, and New York State Historic Preservation Office, as well as loans from the Community Preservation Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Bank, the City of Schenectady and The Community Builders.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation said, “Historic Tax Credits have played a vital role in the Hillside View Apartment development, with the NYS and National Registers listed Horace Mann and St. Columba schools serving as the centerpiece of this exciting collaboration. These schools have educated generations of Schenectady residents and because of this adaptive reuse, they will continue to be vital community assets well into the future.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “By offering a maker space for creative partnerships on innovative projects as well as access to local produce, the Electric City Barn will promote economic growth by encouraging greater collaboration and cooperation among local businesses, artists, growers, entrepreneurs and startups, while supporting workforce development in the community.”
Capital Region Economic Development Council co-chairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany President, and Ruth Mahoney, KeyBank Market President, said, “The Council recommended the Electric City Barn as a priority project because it has the potential to catalyze much-needed economic development and growth in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood. The Barn will work in tandem with the Hillside View Apartments to breathe new life into the area and encourage future investments.”
Anthony Jasenski, Chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “We celebrate the opening of Hillside View and we thank the Community Builders and NYS Homes and Community Renewal for working so closely with our economic development team to make this transformational project a reality for our community. Two renovated schools, eight new buildings and a new Makerspace, this is a project that is certainly providing a major boost to our neighborhood revitalization efforts.”
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said, “We are very grateful to Governor Cuomo and NYS Homes and Community Renewal for their support of The Community Builder’s $22 million investment in Hamilton Hill. This is an historic investment that coupled with the new Boys & Girls Club, new libraries and ongoing efforts by our city team and Metroplex will continue the strong progress we are making as a community to invest in and grow our neighborhoods.”
Susan McCann, Vice President, New York and New Jersey, The Community Builders, said, “We have been working with the city, our partners and neighbors to strengthen the Hamilton Hill neighborhood and provide high-quality apartment homes and a community space for local families and seniors. This dynamic community also offers supportive housing for all residents, which wouldn’t be possible without the Strong Families Fund.”