Affordable housing redevelopment helps Rochester, New York revitalize neighborhood damaged by bad urban highway planning

On July 26, 2022, local leaders and residents in Rochester, New York celebrated the completion of a $31 million affordable housing development on Rochester’s Inner Loop.

The Inner Loop East Transformation Project—as documented back in 2018 here in REVITALIZATION—is a massive revitalization project designed to heal the damage done some seven decades ago by bad urban highway planning.

The newly-constructed 270 on East—a redevelopment of former highway land—features 112 affordable apartments, including 55 with support services for seniors and veterans.

My administration continues to be laser focused on revitalizing downtowns, increasing the supply of affordable housing, and providing supportive services to vulnerable New Yorkers,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “270 on East provides safe, modern, energy-efficient homes to over 100 families and is essential to enhancing quality of life and providing a more affordable and secure future to Rochester’s Inner Loop neighborhood.

Photo of Inner Loop courtesy of the City of Rochester.

270 on East was constructed on a parcel of land acquired by the city of Rochester as a part of its Inner Loop East Transformation Project.

This massive revitalization and redevelopment effort launched in 2016 to convert the 1950’s era below-grade Inner Loop highway into a vibrant, safe, and walkable residential and commercial community.

270 on East is near Union Square Apartments and Charlotte Square on the Loop, two other HCR-financed developments constructed as part of the Inner Loop’s transformation.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “270 on East has created a safe and affordable home for 112 families, seniors, and veterans in the heart of downtown Rochester. Governor Hochul’s commitment to increasing the supply of affordable housing across the State, especially in the urban communities of Upstate New York, will continue to create diverse, inclusive, and thriving mixed-use neighborhoods where people will want to live and work. Thank you to the City of Rochester, Christa Development, CSD Housing and our supportive services providers, Eagle Star Housing and Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, for their work in making this a reality.

The newly constructed five-story building includes 49 studio apartments, 36 one-bedroom apartment, and 27 two-bedroom apartments. All 112 apartments are affordable to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, with 36 affordable to those at or below 60 percent of AMI and 63 affordable to those at or below 50 percent of AMI.

Photo of Inner Loop East Transformation Project public information session courtesy of the City of Rochester.

Supportive housing provides a caring and supportive alternative that veterans and seniors can call home, and also receive needed services,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “The newly constructed supportive housing on Rochester’s Inner Loop will not only provide a safe haven for veterans and seniors, but also additional affordable housing opportunities for other struggling New Yorkers.

Services and rental subsidies for the 55 supportive units are funded by the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Department of Health. There are 35 homes reserved for seniors who have access to services provided by Episcopal SeniorLife Communities.

These services include home health services, care coordination, transportation, the development of Healthy Aging Plans, mental health screening, and support with grocery shopping and meal planning and preparation.

An additional 20 supportive units are reserved for veterans who have access to services provided by Eagle Star Housing. These include transportation services, vocational training, and educational services.

Assemblymember Demond Meeks said, “The completion of 270 on East is a major step towards improving living conditions for our community. Housing insecurity can only be addressed through purposeful efforts to provide quality and affordable housing. We must continue to work collectively towards creating an equitable and inclusive neighborhood for all families and residents in the city of Rochester.

Residential amenities include a roof patio, multiple resident lounges, a business center, and laundry facilities on each floor.

The energy efficient development is designed to meet Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star for Homes standards and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Low Rise Residential New Construction Program standards, utilizing efficient light fixtures, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, low flow water fixtures, and Green Label Plus carpeting and pads.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “Access to affordable housing is a critical component in my administration’s focus on ensuring the health and safety of Monroe County’s residents. The housing complex at 270 East Avenue in the heart of downtown Rochester will transform the lives of our most vulnerable community members, and I thank New York State, Governor Hochul, and NYS HCR for their investment in this much-needed resource.

270 on East is near bus stops that connect riders to all parts of Rochester, healthcare, pharmacies, banks, and daycare facilities.

Representative Joe Morelle said, “The completion of 270 on East illustrates our steadfast commitment to expanding affordable and supporting housing in our community. I’m proud to have delivered federal funding for this project that is helping to build an equitable and inclusive future while also revitalizing Rochester’s downtown corridor. I’m grateful for Governor Hochul’s dedication to strengthening housing opportunities and look forward to our continued work together to uplift Rochester families.

The project was developed by CSD Housing, LLC and constructed by Christa Construction.

Michael F. Dehmler, Managing Member of CSD Housing, said, “270 on East is an excellent example of how high quality affordable and supportive housing can significantly enhance community redevelopment goals and initiatives. CSD Housing is extremely proud to have had the opportunity to play a critical role in the city of Rochester’s vision for a reimagined ‘inner loop’ and to significantly contribute to the housing diversity available in a premiere Rochester neighborhood.

State investment in 270 on East included $5.3 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $9.5 million in equity and an additional $12.6 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal through the Middle-Income Housing Program and New Construction Program. The City of Rochester provided $1.5 million.

State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “New York State is proud to join our partners in government and community agencies on this critical investment in Rochester housing. I look forward to the future of this neighborhood as we reconnect Inner Loop neighborhoods with the rest of the city and create new opportunities for growth and equity for generations to come.

270 on East complements Governor Hochul’s plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. The Governor has introduced and successfully secured, in the 2022-23 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.

Featured image of 270 on East is courtesy of Christa Construction.

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