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Homes and Community Renewal

New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Norstar and Niagara Falls Officials Celebrate the Renewal of Cornerstone Townhomes

Before and After photos of Cornerstone Townhomes
(See more photos below)

$16.8 Million Renovation Financed Through Governor Cuomo’s HOUSE NEW YORK Program Brings 84 Affordable Townhome Apartments Back to Life

Norstar Development USA, L.P.(Norstar), NYS Homes & Community Renewal (HCR), and the Niagara Falls Housing Authority (NFHA) celebrated the completion of the newly renovated Cornerstone Townhomes in Niagara Falls, New York. The partial demolition and state-of-the- art gut rehabilitation of the former distressed Applewalk Houses Mitchell-Lama development yielded 84 high-quality townhouse-style affordable homes, keeping them affordable for another 40 years. Cornerstone Townhomes was developed under Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion House New York initiative to create and preserve more than 14,300 affordable homes across the state.

James S. Rubin, Commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s House New York initiative, this redevelopment is nothing short of a renaissance for this once rundown and deficient property. In providing the financing to make this possible, HCR staff also paid close attention to what the development would look like when complete, and the difference is like day and night, inside and outside of these homes. New Yorkers deserve affordable, pleasant, secure, safe places to call home and Cornerstone Townhomes delivers. Thanks to our partners in the community who welcomed this change and to Norstar, First Sterling, M&T Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and our own HCR team for the role they all played in making this happen.”

Mayor Paul Dyster stated, “The Cornerstone Townhomes project is a terrific example of how a partnership between different levels of government and the private sector, all working towards the same goal, will enhance the City of Niagara Falls. As a result of this hard work, the quality of affordable housing opportunities for our residents has significantly improved.”

Linda Goodman, Vice President of Norstar, observed, “During the past 13 years, Norstar Development and Norstar Building Corporation have worked with the Niagara Falls Housing Authority and City Hall to construct a total of 339 affordable rental homes within the City of Niagara Falls. The completion of Cornerstone Townhomes eliminates the blighting influence on the neighborhood and provides the kind of modern affordable housing the residents of the City deserve and the entire community can be proud of.”

This $16.8 million development entailed a complete renovation of the 84 townhouses in 12 buildings, and demolition of the remaining 120 walk-up apartments in 10 buildings, creating 36 two-bedroom, 30 three-bedroom, and 18 four-bedroom townhomes. The existing management office has been converted and rehabbed for maintenance use, and a new office/resident center was built to serve the project and resident population, and also functions as a focal point for the project, with meeting space available to residents which can be used for private functions and empowerment activities.

“With the opening of Cornerstone Townhomes, we are witnessing the impact of a collaborative vision to transform and enrich a community. Providing families with affordable and quality housing builds the foundation for life, growth and community development,” stated Stephanie

W. Cowart, NFHA Executive Director.

The re-envisioning of Applewalk into the Cornerstone Townhomes is largely made possible by House New York and includes approximately $10,000,000 in State Housing Finance Agency permanent financing made available through the Governor’s House New York program to this end. HFA also allocated 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits – First Sterling Financial provided equity and M&T Bank purchased the credits, raising more than $6 million in private financing. Additional support came through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the HUD RAD program provided operating assistance for 40 units through the City of Niagara Falls, administered by the City’s Leased Housing office. In addition, a Construction Letter of Credit was provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

The Cornerstone Townhomes development serves families whose annual income is either at or below 60% of Area Median Income (“AMI”) for the Buffalo-Niagara area, and the 42 units which have come online have been fully and consistently leased up since completion.

Additionally, operating assistance provided by the HUD RAD program ensures that 40 of the 84 completed units will be affordable to households earning as low as 30% of AMI.

(click below to view 13 images)

Cornerstone Apartments