Historic Depression-era property in Albany, N.Y., transformed into 103-unit community
BOSTON (September 28, 2015) WinnCompanies, an award-winning national property development and management company, in partnership with Albany Housing Authority, today announced the opening of the Livingston School Apartments after a $20.7 million transformation of the historic building into 103 units of mixed-income housing for seniors.
The four-story, 230,000-square-foot landmark was erected during the Depression to teach vocational skills to the unemployed and served as a public school for the Albany community until it became vacant 2009. WinnDevelopment's historically sensitive renovation created 12 studio apartments, 76 one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom apartments. Eleven units are handicapped-accessible; five are equipped for the hearing or visually impaired.
Historic adaptive reuse projects like the Livingston School hold a special place among all of the development work we do, said Gilbert Winn, chief executive officer of WinnCompanies. It means a great deal to us to give this proud and beautiful structure new life as community asset that delivers high quality affordable housing and contributes to social fabric and economic vitality of the neighborhood and the City of Albany.
WinnDevelopment began its adaptive reuse effort in January 2014 with support from the City of Albany, the Albany Industrial Development Agency (IDA), the Albany Community Development Agency (ACDA), the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the U.S. National Park Service. KeyBank, Citizens Bank, Boston Financial, The Community Preservation Corporation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston provided private financing.
Increasing the availability of and access to affordable housing is a central goal of Governor Cuomo's administration, said James S. Rubin, Commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes & Community Renewal. Homes and Community Renewal makes that happen by cultivating partnerships that create or preserve good quality homes people can afford. This results in stronger local economies, and more vibrant communities that are economically and socially diverse. Livingston School Apartments offers mixed-income housing in a beautiful historically significant building with amenities and features that make it easier for seniors to live independently and thrive in the place they call home.
The project created 140 construction jobs, with 28 percent of workforce hours performed by minorities and women. In addition, 84 percent of all labor hours were performed by workers from the Capitol District. Low-income residents from the Albany area accounted for nearly 7 percent of the workforce hours. New York state, county and city officials, along with private sector leaders and residents, attended a formal ribbon-cutting at the property on Sept. 24.
""This project demonstrates that Albany can attract high quality partners like WinnCompanies to invest in our community,"" said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. ""Through Governor Cuomo's commitment to affordable housing and strong collaborations, we were able to re-purpose this beautiful, historic building, create affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities and breathe new life into a neighborhood that abuts the incredible Tivoli Preserve. We are grateful to the State, Federal and financial institutions that made this project possible.""
Steven Longo, Executive Director of the Albany Housing Authority, said: AHA is an able and willing partner when it comes to revitalizing Albany's neighborhoods, so it was an easy decision for us to join WinnDevelopment in breathing new life to this beautiful historic school building. We have found that we accomplish more when we partner and this is a model relationship that we would like to see more of throughout Albany.
This project is an example of best practices for underutilized large-scale historic properties, demonstrating how they can be redeveloped to better serve their communities, said Sarah Reginelli, City of Albany Industrial Development Agency CEO and Capitalize Albany Corporation President. The City of Albany IDA is proud to have supported this project and WinnDevelopment. The properties' reuse created hundreds of construction jobs, preserved a significant Albany landmark and added to the growing number of quality affordable housing options in the City of Albany.
We are excited to be a part of the Livingston School Apartments and to witness the rebirth of this majestic building as affordable senior housing, said Norm Nichols, Executive Vice President, KeyBank Real Estate Capital. Affordable housing is very important at Key and this project exemplifies the type of investment that helps improve the quality of life and allows both our clients and the communities in which we do business to thrive.
Fully occupied in just two months, the Livingston School Apartments serve residents 55 or older that earn between 50 and 90 percent of the area median income for Albany. Amenities include a management office, resident lounge with a community kitchen and entertainment offerings, fitness facilities, a library and computer center, wellness center for visiting practitioners, soft seating areas and common laundries. All units have Energy Star appliances and fixtures.
The Architectural Team served as architect and Keith Construction as the general contractor on the project, using funding sources that included Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Federal and State Historic Tax Credits.
The Livingston School is the 28th adaptive reuse project completed by WinnCompanies, which has transformed historic properties into more than 3,000 units of mixed-income housing valued at $500 million. The company is also in the midst of a 10-year effort to renovate the iconic, 12-story Sibley Building in downtown Rochester for commercial and academic uses, as well as market-rate and affordable housing.
With the addition of the Livingston School, WinnResidential now manages 9,200 apartments at 58 residential properties in New York State, as well as more than 4,000 homes for members of the U.S. Army and their families at Fort Drum.
WinnCompanies is an award-inning national real estate company dedicated to the highest standards of excellence. Through its companies, WinnDevelopment, WinnResidential and WinnMilitary, WinnCompanies acquires, develops and manages multifamily, affordable, senior, mixed-income, market rate and commercial properties. Founded in 1971 and operating in 23 states, it is the largest manager of affordable and military housing and the fifth largest multi-family housing manager in the United States. www.winncompanies.com