Canal Commons
September 22, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces Groundbreaking Of $64 Million Affordable Supportive Housing Development In Rochester

Governor Hochul Announces Groundbreaking Of $64 Million Affordable Supportive Housing Development In Rochester
Adaptive Reuse of Historic Utz and Dunn Shoe Company Building Will Create 123 Energy-Efficient Homes for Working Families
Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" — The Region's Comprehensive Strategy To Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction has begun on Canal Commons, a $64 million development that will convert a 19th century manufacturing facility into 123 affordable and supportive apartments. Located in Rochester's Susan B. Anthony neighborhood, the building will include 70 homes with supportive services.

"The Canal Commons development will breathe new life into this historic commercial building and create a vibrant community anchor in southwest Rochester," Governor Hochul said. "Thanks to a significant state investment, we are unlocking 123 units of affordable and supportive housing for New Yorkers in need and providing them with the tools and services that will help them thrive. This project is a key component of my administration's $25 billion housing plan, and we remain laser-focused on helping New Yorkers through the affordability crisis by offering safe, comfortable, and low-cost housing options."

Canal Commons is part of Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the recently enacted State Budget, the Governor successfully secured a new $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan that will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 100,000 affordable homes across New York, including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.

Originally constructed in the 19th century for the James Cunningham & Son Company and renovated in the early 20th century to become the Utz and Dunn Shoe Company Building, the five-story, red brick structure functioned as a shoe factory from the 1910s to the 1950s. The building has remained vacant for over a decade.

Renovations to the 166,000 square-foot building will respect its existing industrial character, with many structural columns left exposed, historic finishes maintained, and the factory's plank ceilings expressed throughout the structure. Two one-story buildings of no historic significance, which currently function as a garage and loading dock, will be demolished.

The development will house 81 one-bedroom and 41 two-bedroom apartments, along with one studio apartment. All 123 apartments will be affordable to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income. Seventeen units will be adapted for those who are mobility impaired and five units for those with hearing or vision impairment.

Seventy apartments will be reserved for adults with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or who are chronically experiencing homelessness. Residents will have access to rental subsidies and services administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health and funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.

Services will include financial case management, education and employment counseling, peer support, life skills coaching, and social activities. The service provider is East House.

Located in the Flower City's Susan B. Anthony neighborhood, the site is less than a mile from Rochester's Central Inner Loop, which is being transformed by extensive state and local investment, and is also near the city's Bull's Head neighborhood, which has also been targeted for revitalization by the city's government.

Canal Street Apartments will be green certified under NYSERDA's Multifamily New Construction Program with the development utilizing Energy Star appliances, clean building materials, and integrated pest management. They will also offer energy-efficient features, including ENERGY STAR appliances and LED lighting, high-performance space conditioning equipment, windows, insulation, and air sealing.

Canal Commons is being co-developed by East House and MM Development Advisors, Inc.

State financing for Canal Commons includes $2.1 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $20 million in equity and $13 million from NYS HCR's Supportive Housing Opportunity Program. The NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation approved Federal and State Historic Income Tax Credits that will generate $12.8 million in equity. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will provide $7.4 million from the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. OMH is providing approximately $1.75 million annually in operating funding through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, as well as a $335,000 Project Development Grant to help cover stat-up costs.

The site was successfully remediated through the Department of Environmental Conservation's Brownfield Cleanup Program, which helps promote redevelopment as a means to revitalize economically blighted communities.

Over the last decade, HCR has invested over $500 million in Monroe County to support nearly 6,000 homes. including the recently completed 270 on East on Rochester's growing Inner Loop and Pueblo Nuevo Phase II, which creatively converted a vacant warehouse into 29 affordable and supportive homes in the El Camino neighborhood.

New York State Department Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program is a powerful and effective tool helping to transform former industrial sites across the state, revitalizing communities and improving quality of life. Construction of the Canal Street Apartments in Rochester's Susan B. Anthony neighborhood bolster's Governor Hochul's commitment to restore, redevelop, and greatly enhance abandoned and underutilized properties, particularly in communities historically burdened by environmental pollution, into affordable, energy efficient, and comfortable homes for New Yorkers."

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Canal Commons is a reinvestment in one of Rochester's historic neighborhoods and is a great reminder of the impact historic tax credits can have to help advance a project's goals. I applaud Governor Hochul's initiative to prioritize equitable and affordable housing in New York State and see opportunities for communities to continue to incorporate their historic resources into these types of collaborative revitalization plans."

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Under Governor Hochul's leadership, New York recognizes that supportive housing is key to our efforts to address homelessness across the state. When completed, Canal Commons will be an important part of this work, providing safe, affordable housing and onsite services for 70 formerly homeless individuals in Rochester."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Canal Commons will preserve a vital piece of Rochester's past and contribute towards the transformation of the historic Susan B. Anthony neighborhood from a mostly industrial area to a vibrant live/work community. Because of work beginning today, 123 households will have a brighter future and an affordable home in a remarkable building. The inclusion of 70 homes with supportive services will ensure that the neighborhood's economic growth leaves no one behind. Thank you to our partners at East House and MM Development Advisors, Inc. for their work on this development which will improve lives and enhance a community."

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "This project is reflective of Governor Hochul's commitment to help provide affordable and energy efficient homes to more New Yorkers across the State. The Canal Street Apartments, when finished, will certainly offer more comfortable living spaces for families within the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood and help energize and reimagine this historic community."

Representative Joe Morelle said, "We all deserve a safe and stable place to call home, but the challenge of finding affordable housing has held too many people back," said Congressman Joe Morelle. "Canal Commons will not only combat housing inequity but also strengthen this historic area of our city. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for her commitment to uplifting those in our community who need it the most and look forward to our continued work together to expand affordable housing, revitalize our neighborhoods, and create jobs here in Monroe County."

State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, "I'm grateful for the state partners and East House's leadership that made this essential groundbreaking possible. Canal Commons provides safe, affordable, eco-friendly housing and comprehensive services while refurbishing an historic landmark. I'm looking forward to the impact this 123-unit facility will have on quality of life in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood."

Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, "Housing insecurity remains a long-standing issue within our community that was only exacerbated by the onset of the global pandemic. Affordable developments like Canal Commons will bring needed support to our families and individuals throughout the city of Rochester. It will offer safe, quality, affordable housing in a centralized location with immediate access to on-site resources. I want to thank Governor Hochul and my state colleagues for this significant investment within our historic Susan B. Anthony neighborhood. I am grateful for their continued commitment to the members of our community."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "When more of our hard-working families have access to affordable, high-quality apartments and the supportive services that can help them thrive, our entire community becomes stronger. I thank Governor Hochul and Homes and Community Renewal for their continued investments in the people of Monroe County and our quality of life."

Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, "The Canal Commons housing development is bringing much needed affordable and supportive housing to the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood while also restoring a historic building that was once a source of blight in our community. I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, East House and all of the agencies who supported this project for making this investment in Rochester. Providing our residents with safe, quality and affordable housing will advance our efforts to create a hope-filled city with an exciting future."

Monica C. McCullough, Esq., President, MM Development Advisors, Inc., said, "In addition to providing high quality, truly affordable housing for the City of Rochester's most vulnerable citizens, our work at Canal Commons will reverse the harmful environmental impact of generations of industrial activities while preserving a building significant to the historic fabric of the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood. The construction of Canal Commons will support more than 200 construction trade jobs and the ongoing operations will create more than 18 new full-time jobs. Supportive housing is a transformative investment in both people and communities. As the founder of a first-generation Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) development company, I am honored to participate in such an important project located in the epicenter of our nation's history to advance women's rights."

Scott Moquin, East House Acting President and CEO said, "Canal Commons is the ideal story of recovery. This once-functioning warehouse sat abandoned for decades. It was the vision of what this building could become- bright, shiny apartments filled with people and families - that inspired East House to become the Developer and Project Sponsor for this transformative project. Canal Commons will make a big impact on the gap of affordable housing, particularly for those in recovery in this community."

Mark Migliacci, Vice President of Chase Community Development Banking, said, "We're pleased to support East House, and the many partners involved, with the development of Canal Commons. It's exciting to be part of a neighborhood revitalization that prioritizes affordable housing and supportive services for the community. At Chase, we're committed to supporting projects like this that create safe, stable housing, which is a fundamental component of healthy, thriving neighborhoods."

Jolie Milstein, President and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, said, "When Governor Hochul enacted her new, $25 billion five-year housing plan this year, we knew that projects like Canal Commons, which will revitalize a historic building in the heart of Rochester into hundreds of affordable and supportive homes, would become the standard across New York. We are proud to celebrate this achievement alongside New York State, East House, and MM Development Advisors as the kick-off to our annual conference. We hold their project up as a model development that should be replicated in communities across the state."

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 regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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.