Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the grand opening of one affordable housing development, and construction on another, that will bring a total of 110 new affordable homes to the city of Batavia in Genesee County. The recently completed Liberty Square features 55 apartments, including 28 with supportive services intended for disabled veterans experiencing homelessness. Nearby, construction is underway at Ellicott Station, a $24 million energy-efficient development with another 55 affordable apartments and ground-floor commercial space.
"Since representing the Finger Lakes and Western New York in Congress, I've fought to ensure access to quality affordable homes," Governor Hochul said. "Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to call home and a roof over their head, and today's announcement will enhance the quality of life for dozens of families at Liberty Square and Ellicott Station. As we build back from the COVID crisis, we will continue to take bold action to tackle the housing crisis and make the Empire State a more affordable place for all."
Liberty Square and Ellicott Station are part of Governor Hochul's sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. The Governor has introduced and successfully secured, in the recently enacted State Budget, 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.
Newly Opened Liberty Square Creates 55 Affordable Homes
Liberty Square, located at 554 East Main Street in the city of Batavia, is a newly constructed four-story building with 55 affordable apartments, including six accessible units for persons with mobility impairments and three accessible units for persons with hearing or vision impairments.
The development includes 28 apartments with supportive services tailored to disabled veterans experiencing homelessness. Operating funding for these services is provided under the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Eagle Star Housing is the service provider.
All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Building amenities include a fitness center and community room. The property is located near grocery stores, restaurants, and retail.
Liberty Square is certified under both the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA's) Low-Rise New Construction Program and Enterprise Green Communities Version 2015 program. Energy efficiency design requirements are incorporated throughout the development, including Energy Star appliances and fixtures.
State financing for Liberty Square includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $10.5 million in equity and $3.9 million from the Supportive Housing Opportunity Program from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).NYSERDA provided $53,000 in support. The developer is Home Leasing, LLC.
Ellicott Station Will Create New Affordable Home Opportunities, Enhance Downtown Revitalization Efforts
Construction is now underway on Ellicott Station, a new five-story building with 55 affordable apartments on a remediated Brownfield site. Part of the State's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Ellicott Station will transform the long-vacant Santy Tires building into a thriving residential and commercial hub in downtown Batavia. The development will improve the atmosphere of the surrounding neighborhood by creating four new commercial spaces, including a brewery/restaurant, and will potentially create up to 60 new jobs.
The 74,000-square-foot building will include in-unit laundry, private balconies, and indoor parking. Exterior amenities include a playground and a public walking trail that connects to parks and various other recreational points of interest in the city. The building is conveniently located near grocery stores and restaurants.
Ellicott Station will pursue NYSERDA's New Construction-Housing Program and Enterprise Green Communities certifications. The development includes structural fortification of an existing underground storm sewer which traverses the site, known locally as the "Grand Canal," to be funded by Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant funds.
HCR financing for Ellicott Station includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $10 million in equity and $5.6 million from the Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. Other State funding includes eligibility for NYS Brownfield Tax Credits that will generate $4 million in equity, $500,000 in Empire State Development Restore New York funding, $425,000 awarded from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, $53,000 from NYSERDA, and a $1,900,000 ESD Finger Lakes Regional Council Capital Fund grant. Additional financing includes a $101,445 National Fuel Area Development grant and three National Grid grants totaling $650,000. Five Star Bank provided construction financing.
The developer for Ellicott Station is Savarino Companies, LLC, with Oxford Consulting Inc. as housing consultant.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "When we finance and develop affordable housing, we always look to strengthen the surrounding neighborhood and boost the local economy. These two new developments will not only enhance quality of life for 110 households, including veterans, but will also breathe life into Batavia's downtown with new commercial activity and the replacement of a long-vacant building. Together, Liberty Square and Ellicott Station will have a transformative impact on the city as we move the Finger Lakes forward. We thank our many private and state partners for their role in making these two developments a reality."
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "Ellicott Station will be a thriving residential hub that creates jobs, housing and economic development for Batavia's burgeoning downtown. This project is a shining example of Governor Hochul's bold vision for vibrant, climate-friendly and equitable communities for people of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. This is another success story for the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Liberty Square will ensure that those who have proudly and selflessly served our country, including veterans with disabilities, have a safe and supportive home in Batavia. Supportive housing is fundamental to our efforts to address homelessness, providing safe and secure housing together with vital services to address the challenges that may have contributed to the loss of housing for these veterans."
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "The transformation underway in the town of Batavia, thanks to the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, is truly remarkable, and once again underscores the state's strategic vision for economic growth. The new Ellicott Station project will further renew the city center, by replacing a long-vacant building with a mixed-use commercial and residential space that includes affordable housing and will support long-term prosperity for Batavia residents for generations to come."
President and CEO at New York State Energy Research & Development Authority Doreen M. Harris said, "With the grand opening of Liberty Square and construction moving forward on the Ellicott Station Development, some of Genesee County's most vulnerable residents will have expanded access to affordable housing that is environmentally responsible and energy efficient. Projects like these demonstrate Governor Hochul's continued commitment to reduce harmful emissions from buildings and advance the goal of achieving 2 million climate-friendly homes with a focus on ensuring accessibility for all New Yorkers."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "DEC congratulates the city of Batavia for the construction of these new affordable homes at the former Ellicott Station and we are proud to have helped play a role in the site's redevelopment and transformation. Under DEC's successful Brownfields Cleanup Program, contaminated sites are cleaned up, revitalized, and converted into useful properties benefitting local economies and improving quality of life for residents. New York remains committed to building upon this success now that Governor Hochul's commitment to expand and enhance the Brownfields program was included in the enacted State Budget so that even more communities can benefit."
State Senator Edward A. Rath III said, "Providing quality housing options for all, in our community, is critical. I am pleased to see these developments happening in Batavia. Housing opportunities such as this will allow our communities to continue to grow and flourish."
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, "As Liberty Square prepares to begin welcoming residents, many of them veterans, I hope they find happiness in their new homes and enjoy all the apartment complex has to offer. I look forward to when the Ellicott Station project will be able to welcome residents as well and hope it's able to progress smoothly toward timely completion."
Chair of the Genesee County Legislature Shelley Stein said, "Genesee County is excited to welcome affordable housing to our downtown area. Families wishing to relocate to Batavia to obtain our high quality employment positions will find great value in these new homes. The city of Batavia has a variety of walkable employment opportunities. We welcome this timely prospect for working families and individuals alike."
Genesee County Manager L. Matthew Landers said, "Genesee County realizes the importance of investing in the city of Batavia especially as it pertains to enhancing housing opportunities with high quality and affordable residences that both of these projects will accomplish. New York State has been a great partner in our collaborative and ongoing efforts with the city to revitalize and reinvigorate the urban core of Genesee County."
Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski, Jr. said, "Safe and stable housing is important for all members of the community. I'm happy to see the Liberty Square project finalized and the Ellicott Station project breaking ground. As a Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Community, the City has seen a renaissance in growth and development. I believe the momentum is just beginning."
Batavia City Manager Rachael J. Tabelski said, "Both Home Leasing and Savarino Companies, with the assistance of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, have made significant investment in the city of Batavia. These projects grow the city's housing portfolio by 110 new units, optimize underutilized/brownfield property, and bring housing opportunities to our workforce, seniors, veterans, families and millennials alike."
CEO of Home Leasing Bret Garwood said, "We are very grateful for the opportunity to build Liberty Square in Batavia. This new housing community, including supportive housing for veterans, helps us further our mission to improve the lives of our residents and the communities in which we work thanks to all the support of our partner, the City of Batavia and New York State Homes and Community Renewal."
Eagle Star Housing said, "Eagle Star Housing is thrilled to be a partner in the brand new Liberty Square apartments in Batavia, NY to provide quality affordable apartments for our homeless veterans. We wish to thank Governor Hochul and New York State for the essential funding to provide our veterans with this program. With great cooperation with New York State, the City of Batavia and all our community partners, we look forward to helping veterans for many years. These types of programs are exactly what our veterans need and we are thankful for the opportunity to provide it."