Derelict stretch of downtown Batavia, New York’s Main Street to be revitalized with new affordable housing for homeless veterans

On October 23, 2020, construction began on a new 55-apartment affordable housing complex that will help revitalize downtown Batavia, New York. The $14.5 million redevelopment includes 28 apartments set aside for veterans who have a history of homelessness and who need supportive services in order to live independently.

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said, “We have an obligation to ensure all New Yorkers have a safe, stable place to call home – especially those who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Liberty Square will provide a fresh start for more than two dozen veterans in Genesee County, while breathing new life into a formerly derelict swath of East Main Street. Projects like this continue the work started by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo‘s landmark five-year housing plan and reaffirms New York’s steadfast commitment to ending homelessness among our veterans once and for all.

Liberty Square is part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to providing all New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing under the state’s $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan. The plan makes multifamily housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.

The development will rise on a site made vacant by the demolition of three derelict buildings on East Main Street. The new four-story Liberty Square will have 55 affordable apartments serving households earning 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income. Six of the apartments will be fully adaptable for people with mobility impairment and three separate units will be equipped for people with audio or visual impairment.

All New Yorkers, especially our brave veterans who served to protect us, should have a roof over their heads and the decency of a good home,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

This housing development in Batavia will provide affordable housing for people in the area, including veterans who have struggled with homelessness and need supportive services. Now more than ever, as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure New Yorkers have the resources and services they need to live healthy and safe lives. This project in the Finger Lakes is part of our efforts across the state to build back better and more inclusive and enhance quality of life,” she added.

Twenty-eight of the apartments will be dedicated as supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans receiving services and rental subsidies through Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. Eagle Star Housing will provide supportive services and will have an office and counseling space on-site. The project’s developer is Home Leasing.

There are eight studio, 39 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments. Shared amenities include a community room, a fitness center, private patios and balconies, secure interior bicycle storage, raised garden beds, a fenced playground, an on-site management office, on-site parking, and bulk storage incorporated into the apartments.

Energy efficiency and Green Building design requirements will be incorporated throughout the complex, including Energy Star appliances and fixtures in all apartments. This will allow certification under NYSERDA’s Low-Rise New Construction Program and Enterprise Green Communities Version 2015 program.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Acting President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Delivering the benefits of our green economy to all New Yorkers, especially our most vulnerable residents, is a hallmark of Governor Cuomo’s clean energy transition and nation-leading climate agenda. Transforming neglected properties or sites into energy efficient and affordable homes with services for our nation’s heroes who served in the U.S. military is something NYSERDA is proud to support and we look forward to the completion of Liberty Square.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal financing for Liberty Square includes federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $10.5 million in equity and nearly $4 million from the Supportive Housing Opportunity Program. In addition, NYSERDA will provide a grant of $53,000 under its Low-Rise New Construction Program. Redstone Equity Partners is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits equity investor and Five Star Bank is providing construction financing for the project.

Since 2011, HCR has dedicated $604 million in the Finger Lakes Region to finance 95 multifamily developments, resulting in the creation or preservation of nearly 7,500 affordable homes, including 216 in Genesee County. HCR’s investment in the region has leveraged $890 million more in funding from other sources.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused previously unimaginable harm and disruption, but it hasn’t stopped the team at HCR from carrying out Governor Cuomo’s mission to create, preserve and protect affordable housing across the state. It is intensely gratifying to see this essential work continue with Liberty Square – especially when the development dedicates 28 homes for our heroes, as this one does, and another 27 for families. I thank and commend the HCR team and our partners and look forward to welcoming the new tenants to this wonderful new building in Batavia.

CEO of Home Leasing Bret Garwood said, “Home Leasing is extremely proud to start construction of Liberty Square in Batavia and thankful to the community and our partners. Liberty Square will provide an excellent home for families and veterans as well as contribute to the vitality of Batavia.

This announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive revitalization blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – 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, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. 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.

New Yorkers and their families deserve safe, affordable homes, and veterans who have struggled with chronic homelessness are no exception,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “This exciting new project in the City of Batavia will help our veterans who have given so much for our nation. Providing them and other area residents with new housing will provide comfort and financial security during a difficult time.

Rochester-based Home Leasing specializes in the development, construction, and management of high-quality apartment communities. Founded in 2006 by veteran real estate developer and former co- CEO and co-Chairman of Home Properties Nelson Leenhouts, the company is owned and operated by three generations of the Leenhouts Family.

Home Leasing today employs over 170 people who provide support to or are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of affordable, mixed-income and market rate residential communities across New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. With its construction company, Home Leasing Construction, Home Leasing builds quality housing that its team of certified property managers and maintenance personnel efficiently oversee. Home Leasing and Home Leasing Construction are Certified Benefit Corporations.

Rendering courtesy of Home Leasing.

See Home Leasing website.

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