On August 5, 2022, a $75 million project to renovate and preserve two outdated Ithaca Housing Authority properties was announced in Ithaca, New York.
A total of 36 apartments and to replace another obsolete Housing Authority property with 82 new affordable apartments.
Ithaca Housing Authority Executive Director Brenda Westfall said, “Our vision and end goal is to provide quality affordable housing for our current and future tenants while ensuring that the properties are energy efficient and meet energy sustainability goals for decades to come. As a lifelong resident of the city of Ithaca, it is extremely rewarding to witness the commitment and support that many different agencies brought forth in bringing our vision to life. This project will both improve and preserve the quantity and quality of affordable housing we are able to provide while complimenting the landscape of the neighborhoods in which the properties are located.”
The 118-unit project, called the Ithaca Housing Authority Redevelopment, is designed to be all-electric and was awarded funding through the Clean Energy Initiative program for multifamily buildings.
Acting Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis said, “The city of Ithaca is pleased to have the support of so many partner agencies in the redevelopment of critically needed low-income housing. Substantial renovations of Overlook Terrace and Southview Garden and, at Northside Apartments the complete replacement of outdated buildings that were first constructed decades ago, will provide families with high quality and environmentally efficient homes. This investment in our community will benefit generations of Ithacans.
As part of this redevelopment project, two of the buildings, Overlook Terrace and Southview Garden, will be substantially renovated.
Overlook Terrace has five residential buildings with ten apartments. Southview Gardens has four residential buildings with 36 apartments, a community building, and a building for laundry and mechanical equipment.
Assemblymember Anna Kelles said, “I am encouraged to see this project move forward at a moment when rising rents, increased home prices, and lack of supply have exacerbated the housing and affordability crisis. We must continue to create affordable and safe housing for low- and middle-income families. This project addresses this need by rehabilitating 36 units, and fully replacing 70 units that were outdated and potentially unsafe with 82 new, safe, and sustainable units. This 118 unit project will add 12 new units, including one and two bedroom units which are currently in acute deficit in Ithaca and all units will be rented at 80% area median income (AMI). Hopefully this is just one more step in a long needed road of adding to our affordable housing stock. I also applaud the project’s sustainability goals with all of the units in this housing project constructed all-electric with air source heat pumps providing heating and cooling, in line with the city of Ithaca and Tompkins County aggressive climate goals.”
The rehabilitation work will include individual apartment renovations such as the replacement and upgrade of doors, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances. Major capital improvements will include mechanical and electrical upgrades; the replacement of water heaters and furnaces to an all-electric option; upgraded laundry facilities; and the replacement of entry doors, vinyl and aluminum siding, soffits and trim, windows, and roofs. The buildings have asbestos containing material that will be remediated and/or encapsulated for a healthier living environment. Site work will include the replacement of existing concrete walks, fencing, and landscaping.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “NYSERDA is pleased to see construction commence on the Ithaca Housing Authority redevelopment project, which demonstrates that clean, resilient and affordable housing can be accessible to all New Yorkers. Through the Clean Energy Initiative, we are working with our sister agency, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, to make strategic investments in multifamily buildings like those being developed through this project, that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and provide healthier, comfortable and resilient living spaces.”
Northside Apartments, with 70 apartments currently, is considered obsolete and will be demolished to make way for a new affordable development that will have 17 residential buildings with a total of 82 apartments – 12 more than the original thanks to a reconfiguration that adds much-needed one-bedroom apartments. The new development will include a one-story community building with a kitchen, office spaces, and a laundry room.
All three properties will be highly energy-efficient and have an all-electric building design pursuant to the New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to curb building emissions. Additional energy efficiency measures will include heat-reflective roofing systems with tapered insulation, ENERGY STAR rated appliances, energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures for a projected 15 percent in total energy savings.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This $75 million investment in the Ithaca Housing Authority speaks to our commitment to upgrading and protecting our existing affordable housing assets. The redesign of these apartments will yield modern and highly energy-efficient homes for 118 households and will preserve affordability and extend the useful life of these buildings for decades to come. Governor Hochul’s bold and forward-looking housing agenda is ensuring a brighter and more secure future for public housing residents in Ithaca and across the entire state.”
In total, there will be 20 one-bedroom units, 34 two-bedroom units, 40 three-bedroom units, 22 four-bedroom units, and two five-bedroom units. All of the apartments will be for households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
Tenants at Southview Gardens and Overlook Terrace will be temporarily relocated and have the right to return to their original apartments.
Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Shawna M. Black said, “This project is an excellent example of re-invigorating our affordable housing options in Tompkins County. We’re proud of what Ithaca Housing Authority offers to our community and that these projects will be energy efficient and align with New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Thank you to New York State, Ithaca Housing Authority, and our Tompkins County Community Housing Fund for contributing to these developments. I can’t wait to see construction begin and to get people back into their homes.”
All 118 apartments will be covered by new Project-Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contracts issued under HUD guidelines for Public Housing Authorities.
The developer is a joint venture between 3d Development Group and Cayuga Housing Development Corporation, the nonprofit affiliate of the Ithaca Housing Authority.
3d Development Group President Bruce Levine said, “Our focus was on the needs of the existing tenants, future tenants, the community at large, and the global need for improved energy sustainability and reducing fossil fuel emissions. This project was made possible by the support received from the state, federal and local government agencies. Because everyone got on board and believed in the goals and initiative, the final result will transform the Ithaca Northside neighborhood for decades to come.”
State funding for the $75 million Ithaca Housing Authority Redevelopment includes $10.6 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will generate $29.7 million in equity, and $18.8 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
State Senator Tom O’Mara said, “State investments in safe and affordable housing continue to strengthen the fabric of neighborhoods and the quality of life for tenants and residents in the city of Ithaca and communities across this region and state. It’s an important commitment that will deliver critical short- and long-term benefits.”
The redevelopment project was awarded $1.4 million from the Clean Energy Initiative. Other funding sources include $9.3 million from the Ithaca Housing Authority, $300,000 from Tompkins County Community Housing Fund, and nearly $91,000 from Ithaca Urban Renewal.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “Every New Yorker deserves access to safe affordable housing, but historic underinvestment has created a housing crisis in places like Ithaca. I am proud that the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that I have fought hard to protect and expand has supplied the millions needed to make these new affordable homes a reality. Housing is a human right and I will keep fighting to get every dollar of federal support needed to help lay the foundation in Ithaca for a brighter, ‘gorges’, and more equitable future for all residents.”
The Clean Energy Initiative developed by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to create more than 1,500 energy-efficient, all-electric or electric-ready, climate-friendly affordable homes in existing multifamily buildings across the state.
“My administration is steadfast in our commitment to preserving and creating affordable housing that is sustainable, high-quality, and comfortable,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.
“Today’s $75 million investment will help strengthen communities and provide new opportunities for Ithaca residents. We will continue to upgrade and modernize New York’s supply of public housing in the Southern Tier to provide a more stable and equitable future for the next generation,” she added.
The Ithaca Housing Authority Redevelopment complements Governor Hochul’s plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the 2022-23 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.
Rendering of Northside Apartments courtesy of 3d Development Group.