On November 14, 2022, construction was completed on a $118 million rehabilitation project at the Park Square affordable housing complex in Rochester, New York.
The renovated complex now provides 335 modern and energy efficient apartments next to the city’s Inner Loop.
Representative Joe Morelle said, “Everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home. Park Square will not only help achieve that goal, it will further revitalize our downtown corridor and provide opportunity for vulnerable families. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for her ongoing commitment to strengthening affordable housing and improving quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
Park Square was constructed in 1974 under the New York State Mitchell-Lama Program, which created thousands of homes for low- and moderate-income residents across the state. Governor Kathy Hochul has prioritized the preservation of the state’s stock of aging Mitchell-Lama housing through a $220 million commitment to long-term affordability and building improvements.
The project was developed by Conifer Realty, LLC.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “Access to safe, affordable housing is a basic right, and these much needed over 335 new affordable homes will help generate new economic opportunity, spur investment, and boost quality life for families across Rochester. This investment together with millions I secured to redevelop the Inner Loop East and expand the nearby Strong Museum are revitalizing this region for residents. I commend Governor Hochul for her push to drive the Finger Lakes forward and I am proud that the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has supplied the tens of millions needed to transform this area and lay the foundation for a more equitable future in Rochester.”
Two adjacent buildings that make up the complex are Manhattan Square Apartments at 10 Manhattan Square Drive and The Savannah at 16 Savannah Street. The rehabilitation also included the demolition of a partially condemned parking garage and 40 obsolete townhouses in a building attached to The Savannah. The demolished townhouses will be rebuilt, along with additional affordable housing, in subsequent development phases.
State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “I grew up visiting friends at the former Manhattan Square Park Apartments, now renamed the Park Square. I’m thrilled by the transformation of this downtown housing hallmark. It sets an example for future housing development; a modern design and updated amenities that is also affordable for Rochesterians. I especially appreciate that no residents were displaced in this renovation. Thank you to New York State and the City of Rochester for the investment in this residential community. Now, let’s build more.”
Major upgrades included replacing functionally obsolete water, sewer, and electrical systems, and creating greenspace. Residential amenities include renovated apartments and new appliances, a playground, landscaping, walking paths and plantings, an exercise room, a community room, and two parking lots with 170 spaces. Energy-efficiency was improved through the installation of new windows and doors, new high-efficiency boilers, Energy Star or equivalent appliances, and the replacement of the roof and insulation at Manhattan Square Apartments.
All 335 apartments remain affordable to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. One apartment in The Savannah is set aside as an employee unit.
Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “I want to congratulate Conifer Realty on the successful revitalization of Park Square and thank them for preserving this critical component of Downtown Rochester’s affordable housing market. As we continue to make transformative investments in infrastructure that also increase property values in the Center City, we cannot lose sight of our commitment to building a Downtown for everyone. I am proud of the City of Rochester’s unprecedented support for the Park Square development and thankful for our incredible partnership with Governor Kathy Hochul, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal to deliver equitable access to secure housing to the people of Rochester.”
Park Square is part of the city’s Inner Loop East Transformation project to convert the below-grade highway into a vibrant, safe, and walkable residential and commercial community. Park Square is the fourth state-funded development to contribute to the renewal effort and brings the total of new or preserved affordable homes in the area to 569.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The $118 million rehabilitation at Park Square preserves affordable rents for 335 individuals and families, while also providing important quality of life enhancements that include upgraded appliances, new amenities, and improved energy efficiency. By ensuring that our Mitchell-Lama housing developments are kept safe, modern, and environmentally sound, this affordable housing stock will be a viable community asset and home to thousands of New Yorkers now and in decades to come. Thank you to Conifer Realty and the city of Rochester for their work in making this project a reality.”
Park Square is located within a block of the Strong National Museum of Play and also within walking distance of numerous bus stops connecting riders to all parts of Rochester. Nearby conveniences include grocery stores, a hospital, pharmacies, banks, and childcare services.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “The opening of the Park Square complex is great news for the residents of Monroe County – as hundreds of our neighbors will now have quality, affordable housing, which is key to the success of our County. Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul and NYS Homes and Community Renewal for your commitment to the residents of Monroe County.”
State investment in Park Square included $12.3 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $33.8 million in equity and an additional $31.5 million from the Mitchell-Lama Loan Program from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. HCR also refinanced and subordinated approximately $30.7 million in existing debt. The city of Rochester provided $1.4 million in HOME funds. Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance for 267 units is covered under a Housing Assistance Program contract with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration 2 program.
Conifer Realty Senior Project Director Michael Birkby said, “The completion of Park Square’s redevelopment is the culmination of more than five years of Conifer’s involvement with this community. The hard work of Conifer’s development and property management teams, combined with that of our funding partners and construction crew, preserved Park Square as an affordable home for possibilities in the middle of one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. We could not be prouder of this accomplishment and thank our residents for all their patience during this transformation.”
Over the last five years, HCR has invested $470 million to create more than 4,200 affordable apartments in Finger Lakes Region multifamily developments, including $345 million in nearly 3,500 apartments in Rochester.
“As part of my administration’s commitment to making sure every New Yorker has access to affordable housing, we are taking on monumental transformations to preserve our supply and quality of affordable homes for Rochester’s current and future residents,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“The modernization of Park Square is an integral component of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Rochester as well as our work to protect valuable Mitchell-Lama housing across New York by keeping it safe and affordable. Park Square is a critical asset for the city and an incredible opportunity for residents to live in a vibrant neighborhood with access to all Rochester has to offer,” she added.
The preservation of Park Square complements Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a $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.
Image courtesy of Conifer Realty, LLC.