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Homes and Community Renewal

NYS Homes And Community Renewal Announces Completion Of $45 Million Project To Upgrade And Keep Affordable 600-Unit Senior Development In Syracuse

Brighton Towers Mitchell-Lama Complex Preserved as Affordable for 40 Years

Syracuse, 4/7/16: New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) today announced the completion of an extensive upgrade and modernization program for Brighton Towers, a 600-unit, two-building Mitchell-Lama complex in the South Valley neighborhood of Syracuse, that will keep rents affordable to seniors and households of limited means for an additional 40 years. The $45 million acquisition and renovation of the property was largely financed through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

Located at 821 East Brighton Avenue in Syracuse, Onondaga County, this affordable housing preservation project is among the hundreds that form the foundation of the Governor’s new, $10 billion House NY 2020 program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over the next five years.

HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin said:  “Preserving our existing affordable housing stock is as important as creating new developments.  By doing this, we are not only enhancing the quality of life for the residents, we are strengthening and stabilizing the surrounding neighborhood. Governor Andrew Cuomo is again delivering on his commitment to expand and improve affordable housing opportunities across the State. I am proud of the HCR team and our colleagues in the public and private sectors who worked so hard to make this happen. This is but one example of our ongoing investment in the City of Syracuse and the Central New York Region.”

In recent weeks, HCR has financed the renovation and preservation of two additional affordable Mitchell-Lama complexes in Syracuse:  the 305-unit Clinton Plaza on South Clinton Street in the Central Business District and the 124-unit Valley Vista senior complex on West Seneca Turnpike, which have total development costs of $20.7 million and $17.2 million, respectively.

Originally built in 1970 under the HUD Section 236 Program for seniors aged 55 and older, most of the apartments in Brighton Towers are reserved for low-income tenants. Renovations to the buildings were done with residents in place. The scope of work for the two 18-story buildings included: replacement of exterior windows; replacement of kitchen cabinets, counter tops, sinks and faucets, stoves and refrigerators; painting of all kitchens, upgrade of fire alarm system; repair of roof parapet railings, new carpet in common areas and community rooms and replacement of vinyl tile in elevator lobbies. Work was completed in less than a year and unused contingency funds were applied to emergency generators, updated elevator cabs, replacement of additional doors in common areas, new furniture in all 36 floor lounges and two main concourses. Excluding the price of acquisition, the total renovation cost approximately $22 million. Other amenities in the complex include a hair salon, a convenience store, and an outdoor garden and recreation area. Approximately 600 parking spaces are available for tenants at no extra cost.

Peggy J. Hill, President and CEO of Rochester Management, Inc., the developer, said: “This was a complex and challenging project as we arranged for the work to be done without the need to relocate the residents. We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo and his housing team for their expertise and dedication.”

The Brighton Towers acquisition and upgrade was financed through a combination of sources including: a $22 million NYS Housing Finance Agency mortgage loan through tax exempt bonds, a $5.9 million HFA Subsidy Loan, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) mortgage insurance, approximately $2 million of interest reduction payments to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in addition to support from its Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.

HUD Buffalo Field Office Director Joan Spilman said: “HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration is quickly becoming an essential tool for preserving affordability across a wide spectrum of subsidized housing programs in New York. Through financing leveraged by a RAD conversion, 600 seniors in Syracuse will spend their golden years in modern units whose affordability is guaranteed for decades.”

County Executive Joanie Mahoney said: “A compassionate government looks to serve all constituents, but holds a special place for those who are most vulnerable. This project to upgrade Brighton Towers is a wise investment on the part of Governor Cuomo. It preserves the affordability of this complex for another 40 years and ensures that this property remains a resource for seniors and gives new life to this community.”

State Senator David J. Valesky said: “Affordable housing is crucial for aging individuals who want to maintain their independence and quality of life. The Brighton Towers renovation project will ensure that this senior citizen housing opportunity remains viable for years to come.” 

Assemblyman William Magnarelli said: “This is a strategic investment by the government to stabilize an extremely valuable resource. Much more than that, the preservation of the Brighton Towers Mitchell Lama complex means that it will remain affordable for Syracuse’s seniors for 40 more years and that it will continue to be an important, viable part of our city’s housing stock. I congratulate Governor Cuomo and HCR on this achievement.”

Today’s announcement complements “Central New York Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and economic development. The State already has invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination in which to invest and grow.

The region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incent private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects the creation of up to 5,900 new jobs.

About New York State Homes and Community Renewal:
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) includes the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. 2016 marks the fourth year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. In 2015, HCR set a record for financing the creation or preservation of more than 11,000 affordable homes and apartments and was the #1 bond issuer in the nation with $2.5 billion issued. The agency stands ready to make good on the Governor’s new $10 billion 100,000 unit House NY 2020 commitment. For more information on HCR programs and initiatives, please visit: