On may 12, 2022, construction was completed on a new $32 million affordable housing development and arts center within the newly formed Cherry Street District in the city of Ithaca, New York.
Known as Ithaca Arthaus, the 123-apartment development includes arts-related community facilities and offers 40 homes for young people in need of supportive services to live independently.
Located on Cherry Street along the Cayuga Inlet waterfront in a former industrial area southwest of downtown Ithaca, Ithaca Arthaus is close to the Ithaca and Greyhound Bus Stations and multiple grocery stores, including a food cooperative, as well as pharmacies, medical offices, financial institutions, and retail options.
“We are committed to providing access to quality, affordable, supportive homes where New Yorkers can live, earn, learn, and play in the communities they love,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Ithaca Arthaus is an exciting mixed-use development that will drive economic and creative growth in the city’s new arts district and bring essential affordable homes with supportive services for those who need them.”
Ithaca Arthaus is part of Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. The Governor has introduced and successfully secured, in the recently enacted 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.
Acting Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis said, “The city appreciates Vecino’s commitment to undertake this project, they have been a wonderful partner in working to address the need for more affordable housing in our community. Congratulations on the opening of Arthaus on Cherry Street. I would like to recognize the essential financial support provided by the New York State’s Homes & Community Renewal, as well as local incentives delivered by the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency, to make this project a reality.”
The development includes 123 affordable apartments with 40 homes reserved for young people who are aging out of foster care programs. They will receive support services through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award to Tompkins Community Action, Inc., administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Every Ithacan 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 hundreds of 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 development’s ground floor includes two spaces – the Cherry Gallery and the Cherry Studio – for residents to engage in art and theater-related activities, with assistance from Cherry Arts, Inc., the nonprofit company that runs the Cherry Artspace, located next to the new development.
The Cherry Gallery will provide an exhibition space for visual arts as well as salon-style showings of music, multimedia, and performance art. The Cherry Studio will provide a gathering and rehearsal space for workshops, after-school programs, and group activities.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “Supportive housing provides unhoused New Yorkers with the services they need to remain stably housed. The supportive units at the Arthaus will give young adults in the Ithaca area safe, affordable homes together with vital supports. I applaud Governor Hochul for continuing to make affordable housing a priority of her administration, including projects like the Arthaus that offer targeted assistance for individuals and families to ensure they remain housed and succeed in the community.”
The developer for Ithaca Arthaus is the Vecino Group.
Rick Manzardo, President of the Vecino Group said, “Ithaca understands the importance of art in the community. We are thankful to the city and our partners who understand the need for affordable and supportive housing can extend into the creative realm and trusted the Vecino Group to be part of that growth in the form of Ithaca Arthaus. Not only do our residents benefit from a place where they are supported in creating and sharing their art, but the community too gets to experience the heart and energy creative expression can bring to our lives.”
The development’s energy efficient measures include ENERGY STAR rated windows and appliances, efficient ductless split-system heating and cooling, energy efficient LED lighting, direct metering for electricity, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and building envelope insulation levels 25 percent greater than code requirements.
State Senator Tom O’Mara said, “We are grateful for ongoing state investments like this one to assist the work of local agencies and communities to secure affordable housing for area residents. Ithaca Arthaus will improve the lives of many young people in need of supportive services. The new housing development will make an enormous difference for residents and help them live independently and safely in a quality setting while they continue to enhance and strengthen the fabric of the local community.”
State funding for the $32 million Ithaca Arthaus includes $4.8 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $10.9 million in equity and $14 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Ithaca Arthaus is a $32 million investment that will anchor the city’s new Cherry Street District with affordable rents, exceptional arts-based community amenities, and supportive services for many young people transitioning to their first permanent, stable homes. We’re excited to bring such a well-rounded development to fruition, and we thank the city of Ithaca, the Vecino Group, Cherry Arts, and all the partners who share our vision of building bright, exciting downtown destinations across the great state of New York.”
Images courtesy of Vecino Group.