62 New Affordable Apartments Constructed Under Governor's Storm Recovery Community Reconstruction Initiative to Build Back Better
Investment Complements "Southern Tier Soaring" – Region's Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of Owego Gardens, a $12.5 million affordable apartment complex for low-income and middle-income seniors, ages 55 and older. The investment complements "Southern Tier Soaring" — the region's successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan to create new opportunities and grow a strong economy. Supported through the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, the new apartments are part of the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency's comprehensive redevelopment plan.
"This project has provided critical housing that Owego residents deserve, and by investing in affordable apartments that meet the needs of this growing community, we can ensure the health and well-being of men and women in the Southern Tier," Governor Cuomo said. "All New Yorkers deserve a safe, decent and affordable place to call home and now seniors across the region have an opportunity to live and thrive in Owego."
Owego Gardens, located at 130A Southside Drive, includes 50 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. There are 47 apartments designated for low-income residents, seven for tenants who are middle-income and seven that will be rented at market rate. One unit will be occupied by a site manager. As of May 1, a total of 49 apartments were occupied, including seven residents who were affected by flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Full occupancy is expected by June 1.
The building is ADA-compliant and pet-friendly. Every ground floor unit has a covered at-grade patio, and every 2nd and 3rd floor unit has a covered balcony. Amenities include common laundry facilities, air-conditioning, community spaces, tenant storage, patios/balconies, and on-site parking. The expansive views include much of the Newark Valley to the north and the Pennsylvania border to the south.
Design features include Green and Energy Efficiency measures and CDBG-DR Resiliency tools, such as building the electrical system more than two feet above base flood elevation, installing backflow preventers on incoming waterlines, securing the roof with hurricane strapping, and constructing gravity-based drainage to accommodate storm water. On-site parking will be restricted to the tenancy. The nearby village's central business district, which includes a public library, Post Office, health care and senior service facilities, supermarket and bus stop are all easily accessible.
Construction of the $12.5 million development was financed through $6.3 million from HCR, equity generated by Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, $4.3 million in Federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds and developer equity. The Letter of Credit was provided by M&T Bank and RBC Markets syndicated the tax credit.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "We are keenly aware that every development HCR undertakes is part of a strong commitment on the part of Governor Cuomo to strengthening communities. This is particularly true in Owego – these new apartments are restoring a critical housing resource to this community and laying the ground work for ongoing economic development of every kind – all of it backed by the State through the Governor’s comprehensive Upstate Revitalization Initiative and guided by the specific desires of Southern Tier communities."
GOSR Executive Director Lisa Bova-Hiatt said, "As we continue to reimagine our State for the new realities of extreme weather, in tandem with the Governor's abiding commitment to sustainable economic development, we will not waiver on our commitment to preserve, restore and protect housing for New Yorkers of all income levels. We remain laser-focused on this issue, and with our partners, will generate more affordable housing resources for Tioga County and other storm-impacted communities."
Senator Fred Akshar said, "The new Owego Gardens project is a much-needed affordable housing opportunity for the seniors of Tioga County, including those affected by the 2011 flood. I'm encouraged to see projects like this leverage the funding and teamwork from multiple levels of government to serve our community. That's how government is supposed to work."
Assembly Member Christopher S. Friend, Ph.D. said, "The community welcomes this new affordable housing option that will enable more of our senior citizens to live near family and friends. This project continues the healing and recovery efforts from the devastating floods six years ago. Thank you to all the participating groups for their efforts to help our community recover and grow."
Joan Spilman, Director of HUD’s Buffalo Field Office said, "Smart disaster recovery means not just bouncing back, but bouncing forward. With help from federal investments through HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, upstate communities are building back better, and the 62 resilient and affordable senior apartments completed today at Owego Gardens are a prime example."
Tioga County Legislature Chair Martha Sauerbrey said, "I'm extremely pleased with the results of Owego Gardens, it's new affordable housing with an incredible view. It took creative ideas and an amazing team of people working together to make this opportunity work."
Home Leasing Chairman & CEO Nelson Leenhouts said, "It has been a joy to work alongside the Village of Owego, Tioga County, HCR and the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery to bring affordable, resilient and sustainable housing options to seniors of Owego. We are delighted with the location of this new community and the excellent residents that have chosen to live with us."
Original article can be read here.