Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a $13.5 million affordable housing development in the Seneca County Village of Waterloo. LaFayette Apartments will convert the historic Main Street School into 35 homes for seniors aged 62 and older.
"Transforming the historic Main Street School into affordable housing is a great example of how state, local and private partners can work together to build stronger communities across New York," Governor Hochul said. "This development is an important component of Waterloo's downtown revitalization and will provide modern and sustainable homes for seniors along with amenities that the entire community can enjoy."
LaFayette Apartments is part of Governor Hochul's statewide plan to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the 2022-23 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.
Located in the heart of Waterloo, the three-story school was constructed in 1928 and has remained vacant for the past ten years. The village and the Waterloo Central School District issued a Request for Proposal for re-use of the Main Street School.
Apartments will be available to residents with household incomes that are at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Six apartments will be reserved for residents in need of supportive services, which will be provided by ARISE Child and Family Services, Inc.
The building's design will allow residents a greater degree of independence by providing laundry and trash rooms on each floor, grab bars in bathrooms, emergency pull cords, and a community room with kitchen to promote socialization. Residents will also have access to free Wi-Fi throughout the building.
Additionally, the school's auditorium will be preserved and transformed into a public event venue. Seneca Community Players, a local theatre production group, intends to make the auditorium their new main performance space.
Lafayette Apartments is designed to meet the requirements of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's Low-Rise New Construction Program and will aim to achieve the Green Building LEED Version 4 certification. All appliances, equipment and lighting will be Energy Star or equivalent and the development will include five electric car charging stations.
The development team consists of Lakewood Development II, LLC and Stoneleigh Housing, Inc.
State financing for LaFayette Apartments includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $5.4 million in equity and an additional $5.5 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation approved Federal Historic Tax Credits that will generate $1.8 million in equity. NYSERDA will provide $35,000 in support through the Low-Rise New Construction Housing program. Additional financing is being provided by NBT Bank.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The transformation of this century-old school into affordable housing for 35 seniors will breathe new life into Waterloo's Main Street. The building is designed to provide a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment for residents to age in place while benefiting from life-enhancing amenities, lower energy costs and free internet access. These are the kind of homes that New Yorkers deserve. Congratulations to the village of Waterloo and Lakewood Development for getting this transformative project off the ground."
Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "The adaptive reuse of the National Register of Historic Places listed Main Street School joins the scores of buildings that have been sustainably revitalized with the use of historic tax credits. Constructed in 1928, the nearly 100 year old building is finding new life and serving its community once again. This is the latest in a growing number of rehabilitation tax credit applications from the Finger Lakes Region, showing an impressive growth of the program in this portion of the state."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "NYSERDA is proud to support the transformation of an empty school into affordable housing filled with high performance energy efficient features that will provide comfort and energy savings for Seneca County seniors. The availability of electric vehicle charging stations at LaFayette Apartments will further enhance the living experience for residents who drive electric vehicles, as well as community members using the shared space, while helping to encourage cleaner transportation and improved local air quality."
State Senator Pam Helming said, "Lafayette Apartments will provide our seniors with safe, quality, and reliable housing while offering a valuable resource and event space for the community. As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, I continue to advocate for the preservation and expansion of housing in our communities. I am thrilled to see this historic school building repurposed to serve our seniors and for the entire community to enjoy. Congratulations to the village of Waterloo and the Waterloo Central School District and thank you to New York State for its support of this project."
State Senator Tom O'Mara said, "Lafayette Apartments is an important and exciting new addition to the Waterloo community. It will be a great and lasting credit to all of the local leaders who have worked long and hard to bring the project to completion. It will greatly enhance safe and affordable housing for many local seniors, as well as strengthen and help revitalize the overall fabric and quality of the community at large."
Assemblymember Jeff Gallahan said, "The transformation of the historic Waterloo Main Street School into senior housing and public event space is a welcome community project. Redeveloping a building that has sat vacant for years, while maintaining its historic nature and providing much needed homes for our aging population is a great example of Waterloo's commitment to planning for the future while still preserving their history. Thank you to Homes and Community Renewal for their support of this project and our region. I look forward to the final completed and unveiling of the completed LaFayette Senior Apartments."
Village of Waterloo Mayor Jack O'Connor said, "We are very proud of the public-private partnership forged between the Village of Waterloo and Waterloo Central School District with Lakewood Development/Two Plus Four Construction to make this project happen. Along with the support from the HCR, this senior affordable apartment addition will fill a gap in this much needed housing market segment within Seneca County. The Village of Waterloo, with support from New York State, continues on its mission to showcase this location, and other historic downtown locations now in the revitalization process, which is listed in the National Historic Register. We believe that the Lafayette Apartments' location on Main Street, which was nationally recognized by the American Planning Association as a "Great Street," will be a win-win for the Waterloo Community and Two Plus Four Construction. Not to mention, the intergenerational opportunities currently being explored through this public-private partnership by using the existing building auditorium for a public theatrical and educational place. We especially thank Two Plus Four Construction Executives, Sue and David Kimmel, for their community engagement, and now formally welcome them into the village of Waterloo community!"
Seneca County Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Hayssen said, "I applaud Homes and Community Renewal for their commitment to Seneca County and the Finger Lakes, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact this project and others being supported in our County will have on the lives of people in need in our community."
Seneca County Manager Mitch Rowe said, "Seneca County looks forward to working closely with Lakewood Development LLC/Two Plus Four Construction as the project progresses and to the rebirth of this important building in Downtown Waterloo. The project will contribute much to people's quality of life and to the ongoing revitalization efforts underway in the Village."
Lakewood Development II, LLC, Vice President of Development David Kimmel said, "LaFayette Apartments will be an important, exciting anchor to the redevelopment effort in Waterloo's downtown. We are happy to be a part of the hard work that has been put in at the village level to plan and realize a genuine renewal of their downtown area. The development will provide seniors with a great place to live, that is walkable to many great amenities such as farmer's markets in the adjoining park, the world-class Memorial Day celebration, and all of the businesses of Downtown Waterloo. In addition, the redevelopment of the auditorium into a new space for Seneca Community Players will also give the village a great asset in a performing arts space that will be rigorously used, providing not only the residents of LaFayette Apartments with a great amenity to be able to see productions, but to the wider community as a whole."
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.