Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction has begun on Johnson Park Green Community Apartments, a $28 million development that will create 62 affordable homes, including 31 with supportive services, as well as a new 12,000-square-foot community center for the Cornhill-Johnson Park neighborhood of Utica.
"Johnson Park Green Community Apartments will provide affordable, energy-efficient homes and a new hub for the community that builds upon our ongoing investments in Utica," Governor Hochul said. "These investments in the city, including through the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, are helping strengthen Utica's neighborhoods and provide our most vulnerable residents with the housing options they need to thrive."
Johnson Park Green Community Apartments are part of Governor Hochul's $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan that will create or preserve 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 on several parcels owned by the Johnson Park Center, Johnson Park Green Community Apartments will consist of a three-story building featuring 51 apartments at 6 Johnson Park, and two duplex-style buildings at 200 Square Street and 14 Johnson Park with 11 apartments. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 40 percent of the Area Median Income.
The development will include 31 apartments with supportive services for older New Yorkers and individuals experiencing homelessness and in need of mental health support. On-site services will be provided by the Johnson Park Center, with operating funding being provided through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and the New York State Department of Health.
In addition to the three residential buildings, the new 12,000-square-foot community center at 1415 West Street will house a food pantry and provide classroom space for both residents and the surrounding community.
Designed to meet Passive House standards and NYSERDA's Buildings of Excellence program criteria, Johnson Park Green Community Apartments utilizes numerous energy-efficient features, including a solar photovoltaic system capable of meeting a significant portion of the development's energy demand, with a goal of net-zero emissions. In line with passive house standards, all three buildings will feature an Energy Recovery Ventilation system to constantly exhaust and bring in fresh air, the temperature from the exhaust air will pretreat the incoming air. All appliances will be Energy Star rated. It is anticipated that the project will achieve a minimum of LEED Gold and is well-positioned to achieve LEED Platinum.
The development is within walking distance of grocery stores, restaurants, local community services, Roscoe Conkling Park, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.
Johnson Park Green Community Apartments is being co-developed by Rockabill Development and the Johnson Park Center.
Financing for Johnson Park Green Community Apartments includes $15 million in Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $3 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The project also received $5.6 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, which is administered by the state Office of Temporary Disability Assistance. NYSERDA is providing $1.2 million in funding through a combination of a Buildings of Excellence award and New Construction - Housing Program incentives. The city of Utica is providing $1.5 million in subsidy.
Chase provided a $16 million construction loan from Chase Community Development Banking. Hudson Housing Capital, the tax credit syndicator, and the Tax Oriented Investments unit of J.P. Morgan invested over $14.8 million in tax credit equity. The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties contributed $250,000.
In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested over $85 million to create or preserve nearly 700 affordable apartments in multifamily buildings in the city of Utica, including Olbiston Apartments and The Link at Sunset.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Johnson Park Green Community Apartments will provide healthy, affordable, and secure homes for 62 households while also delivering a new community facility to benefit the entire Cornhill-Johnson Park neighborhood. This exceptional development also meets rigorous standards for energy efficiency that will improve quality of life for residents and help us achieve Governor Hochul's ambitious green construction and climate goals. Thank you to our partners in State government, Rockabill Development, and the Johnson Park Center for getting this life-changing project started."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Advancing clean, resilient and affordable housing is a key component in New York's economy-wide emissions reduction work. I am thrilled to see construction begin on the Johnson Park Green Community Apartments, which will provide its residents an opportunity to live in a net-zero energy building offering cleaner and more comfortable spaces in which to live, while setting an example for other building owners in the community."
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Supportive housing offers a safe and stabilizing environment for older New Yorkers and those with serious mental illness, notably those who've experienced homelessness. The Johnson Park Green Community Apartments will help to fill a critical need in Utica and provide a new beginning for members of the community facing or experiencing housing instability. Governor Hochul's continued support for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program is providing critical funding needed to help supportive housing projects like this one become a reality."
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, "Every Utica resident deserves a safe and secure place to call home, and I am proud to see this substantial investment in both affordable housing and community resources in the Mohawk Valley," said Senator Schumer. "By using $15 million in federal Low Income Tax Credits, which I worked hard to secure, to create over 60 new affordable accessible homes for families in Utica and offering critical supportive services to members of the community facing housing insecurity, this new energy-efficient development will help our state's most vulnerable residents live independently. I applaud Governor Hochul's commitment to increasing access to affordable housing in Utica and across New York State, and I will keep fighting to increase the supply of housing and create a more affordable and livable New York for all."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Expanding access to affordable and supportive housing is crucial for all New Yorkers. This new housing development will help ensure that we can meet the housing needs of vulnerable populations in Utica and provide quality supportive services. I am proud to support Governor Hochul's efforts to expand affordable and supportive housing in Utica and throughout the state."
State Senator Joe Griffo said, "As our neighborhoods and communities continue to grow, it is important that we provide safe and affordable housing options to all segments of the population. This project will provide low-income individuals, families and seniors with access to modern and energy-efficient housing and will enhance and support efforts to revitalize the City of Utica's Cornhill Johnson Park neighborhood."
Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon said, "I commend the Office of New York State Homes & Community Renewal for the guidance and resources they provided to promote affordable and supportive housing in the Mohawk Valley. Thank you to the JCTOD Outreach for expanding and hosting the much-needed Johnson Park Green Community Apartments Center."
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, "This project will go a long way toward addressing the housing and support needs of those in the Cornhill-Johnson Park area. I thank New York State for the funding that has made this possible and look forward to the improvement it will make in the lives of our residents."
Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, "Johnson Park Center continues to transform the City of Utica, the Cornhill neighborhood and the lives of the people involved with the organization. This new project will expand the reach of Johnson Park Center and give a much-needed boost to our housing stock. None of this would be possible without our partners in New York State government and the vision and persistence of Rev. Dr. Maria A. Scates and her team. My administration was happy to contribute to this project and is grateful to our partners in addressing the housing and service needs in Utica."
Rockabill Development President and CEO Niall J. Murray said, "We are incredibly proud of the public-private collaboration and integrated approach to community development that has gone into making Johnson Park Green Community Apartments a reality. The project's rigorous focus on energy use and performance will help protect vulnerable residents during climate emergencies, and proves it is possible to build deeply affordable and supportive housing that is green, cost-effective, and replicable."
Johnson Park Center Reverend Dr. Maria A. Scates said, "For over 27 years, JPC has led the revitalization of the Cornhill-Johnson Park neighborhood and served the community by providing housing and services to aid the homeless, the elderly, people with emotional or mental disabilities and those in various stages of recovery from substance abuse. We are proud to continue our service history by creating homes at the new Johnson Park Green Community Apartments and, in doing so, advance our goal of bringing the latest in eco-friendly, affordable low-income, and supportive housing to Utica."
Chase Community Development Banking Executive Director Sharmi Sobhan said, "We're pleased to support Rockabill, JCTOD Outreach Inc and the city of Utica with the development of Johnson Park Green Community Apartments. These high-quality, sustainable homes will be an indispensable asset for the community, increasing the local stock of affordable housing and transforming the lives of seniors and other residents with the addition of onsite supportive services."
Hudson Housing Capital Vice President Blanca Ramirez said, "Hudson Housing Capital is excited to be partnering with Johnson Park Center and Rockabill Development in the development of the Johnson Park Green Community Apartments. We commend their efforts to serve the Utica community's most vulnerable members through this unique development that will provide quality services, affordable and sustainable housing."