In downtown Oswego, New York (population 17,000) the Breneman Company Building once housed a fabric and window shade factory. It went out of business in 1981 and the building was later demolished. The property had remained vacant ever since, blighting the downtown.
On September 15, 2022, a $26 million project to help revitalize the downtown by transforming the site into affordable and supportive housing development was completed.
Lock 7 Apartments (named for a neighboring portion of the Oswego Canal) features 80 affordable apartments, including 40 units reserved for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This new $26 million development adds to Oswego’s resurgence and solidifies downtown as a great place to live, work and visit. The State’s efforts to convert the city’s unused manufacturing properties into affordable housing has created 225 new homes this year alone and boosted economic growth by creating a more active and thriving downtown. Critically, Lock 7 Apartments includes on-site services for 40 households who need support to live independently and in so doing ensures that Owego remains inclusive and diverse as it grows. Congratulations to our development partner DePaul for making this project possible.”
The building is the third state-funded affordable housing development in Oswego to open this year. DePaul is the developer and supportive service provider.
Mayor William Barlow Jr. said, “It has been a pleasure for the City of Oswego to work with HCR and DePaul to bring the new Lock 7 apartment complex to completion. This project fills a large void in the local housing market and gives individuals and families an opportunity for quality and affordable housing in a great location.”
The completion of Lock 7 Apartments complements Governor Hochul’s plan to make housing across New York State more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured 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.
“The opening of Lock 7 Apartments continues the transformation of downtown Oswego into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood that benefits all who live and work here,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“The addition of new affordable and supportive housing opportunities ensures that our economic development efforts in this beautiful waterfront city help us achieve a more equitable New York for everyone,” she added.
The newly constructed four-story building includes a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Forty of the apartments are dedicated to households experiencing homelessness, including seniors and individuals living with mental illness. Rental subsidies and on-site services for these residents are funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health.
Tracy Conley, Vice President & Mortgage Officer at the Community Preservation Corporation, said, “Projects like Lock 7 Apartments demonstrate the impact that mission-driven investments can have in meeting the unique housing needs of a community. This new, sustainable building will provide quality, affordable housing, as well as supportive services that will allow the residents to live with the dignity, stability, and respect they deserve. My thanks to our longtime partners at DePaul for their vision and dedication to providing affordable, supportive housing and to Governor Hochul and New York State Homes and Community Renewal for their continued collaboration and commitment.”
The building was designed to meet the standards of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Low-rise New Construction – Housing program. Sustainable features include Energy Star or equivalent heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and light fixtures; water-conserving plumbing fixtures; and low- or no-VOC paints, primers, adhesives, and sealants.
State Senator Patty Ritchie said, “I applaud the completion of the Lock 7 apartment complex project, which will help provide affordable, energy efficient housing for those who need it most. Not only will the complex help meet a critical need in the community, this effort is helping to develop a vacant property that for two decades has sat vacant. I congratulate everyone involved in bringing this project to fruition and look forward to seeing the difference it makes in the city of Oswego.”
Residential amenities include Wi-Fi access throughout the building, laundry facilities, off-street parking, a community room, lounges, and a computer lab. The development is in a residential area near many local amenities such as grocery shopping, schools, places of worship, medical care, banks, libraries, government agencies and stores.
DePaul President Mark Fuller said, “DePaul is grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and partners for assisting us in increasing our ability to provide permanent housing where residents can access the support services they require to live successfully. We look forward to changing even more lives for individuals in Oswego and across New York State by offering housing stability for the most vulnerable populations.”
Financing for Lock 7 Apartments included Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $12.1 million in equity and $9.1 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provided $3.6 million through the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. NYSERDA provided $68,000 in support and OMH provided a $195,000 Project Development Grant. The Community Preservation Corporation is providing $13.7 million in construction financing with its lending partner JPMorgan Chase. The Federal Home Loan Bank is also providing $800,000.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Affordable and energy-efficient housing is a priority for Governor Hochul and the Lock 7 Apartments project is another prime example of the meaningful public investments we are making to ensure more comfortable, healthy and clean-living options for more New Yorkers – especially for our state’s most vulnerable residents. NYSERDA looks forward to continuing help foster many vibrant, inclusive communities across the state as the result of the State’s commitment to building more supportive housing developments like this.”
Lock 7 Apartments complements efforts already underway to deliver new affordable housing to downtown Oswego, a key component of the city’s redevelopment plan funded by the State’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.
Mark Migliacci, Vice President, Chase Community Development Banking, said, “We’re pleased to support DePaul and the city of Oswego with the development of the Lock 7 Apartments. These high-quality, sustainable homes will be an indispensable asset for the community, increasing the local stock of affordable housing and transforming the lives of seniors and individuals with the addition of onsite supportive services.”
In July, Governor Hochul announced the grand opening of Harbor View Square, a $26.2 million mixed-income, mixed-use housing development in downtown Oswego. Harbor View Square features 75 apartments and over 10,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The development replaced an underutilized city-owned brownfield site located at the convergence of the Oswego River and Lake Ontario.
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The new Lock 7 Apartments will provide beautiful homes with on-site services that will enable individuals living with mental illness to live full and independent lives with families and friends in their own community. Governor Hochul understands the many benefits of supportive housing, and her plan to build and preserve 10,000 units of supportive housing is helping thousands of vulnerable individuals and families get the services they need to live full and productive lives.”
In addition, the recently-completed East Lake Commons features 70 apartments and 3,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Developed by Home Leasing, the $25 million project transformed a blighted city block into a vibrant community near the Oswego River, replacing a vacant, deteriorating shopping center and an adjacent two-story parking garage built in the 1960s on East Cayuga Street in Oswego’s Central Business District.
Image courtesy of Depaul.