“Restore New York Communities Initiative” awards $102 million to 64 regional projects that revitalize derelict sites and buildings

On December 20, 2022, more than $102 million was awarded to 64 regional revitalization projects through the Restore New York Communities Initiative.

These Restore New York grants will help to reimagine downtowns across our state and transform vacant, blighted, and underutilized buildings into vibrant community anchors,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

Thanks to $102 million of state investment, we are breathing new life into communities from Hudson to North Hempstead, jumpstarting new economic activity, and ensuring that New York State continues to be a place where people come to live, work, and raise their families,” she added.

Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts across the state, helping to remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns, and generate economic opportunity in communities statewide.

The program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls and increase the local tax base.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Restore NY invigorates our urban centers and is a vital tool in the economic development tool kit for rebuilding communities that need it most. This funding will help local governments find solutions to blighted buildings so they can move forward towards a more vibrant future.

More than $19 million has been awarded to three municipalities in this round for special projects. The City of Albany will receive $9.75 million for the Central Warehouse project, the Village of Endicott in Broome County will receive $6 million to renovate the former IBM building, and the City of Utica in Oneida County will receive $4 million to rehabilitate the Mayro Building.

Special projects are awarded to municipalities where a highly visible and blighted property causes severe economic injury and has a depressing effect on the overall economic development potential of the community.

The Capital Region was awarded $19.75 million to support eight projects. Highlights include:

  • City of Albany – (Special Project Designation) $9.75 Million for Central Warehouse: Central Warehouse is a severely blighted, highly visible, 495,000 square foot warehouse in Downtown Albany. This project will transform the building into a mixed-use space with commercial availability on the lower levels and more than 100 residential apartments.
  • City of Schenectady – $2.3 Million for the Wedgeway Kresge Renovation Project: The project involves the renovation of two historic, long-vacant and derelict buildings located at a prominent intersection, and the construction of a five story, 10,000 square foot addition, to create mixed-use space including first floor retail and up to 80 new apartments.
  • City of Hudson – $1.3 Million for the Crescent Building Redevelopment Project: The project consists of the redevelopment of an 18,000 square foot vacant building into a mixed-use space. The building will feature 6,500 square feet of commercial space for a film production company that will create up to 30 new jobs, 2,500 square feet of art gallery space extending over two floors, three new apartments, and 3,000 square feet of new roof-top event space that will overlook the city and accommodate up to 250 people.

Central New York was awarded $11 million to support eight projects. Highlights include:

  • Village of Cazenovia – $2 Million for the Redevelopment of 99/103 Albany Street: The redevelopment of 99 and 103 Albany Street will renovate two properties that have been vacant and neglected for two decades into a mixed-use building with 30 apartments and three floors of retail. This will close the vacant gap in the main street district, a walkable commercial stretch in the core of the village created by the former gas station and auto parts store.
  • City of Syracuse – $1.5 Million for the Washington Square Project: The city will leverage over $100 million to redevelop four properties in the city’s northside. The project will create more than 224 new housing units with both market rate and affordable rental options in this highly distressed neighborhood.
  • Onondaga County – $1 Million for The Castle Project: The Castle project will redevelop a vacant stone church in the City of Syracuse’s Southside neighborhood into conference and event venue with a full commercial kitchen, creating 13 full-time and 29 part -time jobs. Before being purchased by Simply Ingram LLC, an MWBE firm, , the property was owned by the Greater Syracuse Land Bank after being vacant for over 20 years.

The Finger Lakes was awarded more than $10 million to support five projects. Highlights include:

  • City of Rochester – $5 Million for the Rochester Riverway Downtown East Initiative: Consisting of the rehabilitation of up to five vacant privately-owned structures located on the east-side of downtown. The building renovations and their return to full occupancy will contribute to the continued revitalization of the downtown area.
  • Wayne County – $2 Million for the Newark Health and Wellness Center: The funding of this project would further the Village of Newark’s extensive community investment to achieve its redevelopment plans in its Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The demolition of a currently derelict building presents the opportunity to address blight and create a new community asset through building of the Center.

Long Island was awarded $1.265 Million to support one project:

  • Town of North Hempstead – $1.265 Million for the New Cassel Workforce Housing Phase III: The Town will undergo rehabilitation and restoration of three abandoned properties in New Cassel, a predominately low to moderate income area. Once complete the homes will be made available to first-time home buyers who are at or below 80% of the AMI.

The Mid-Hudson region was awarded $9.24 Million to support eight projects. Highlights include:

  • City of Peekskill – $2 Million for Cosmo’s Fresh Market of 630 Washington Street: This project, which is has already been approved by the Peekskill Planning Board, will transform and expand the abandoned 630 Washington Street into the new 12,000 square foot Cosmos’ Fresh Market. The resulting commercial activity will bring to life the vacant building conditions in the area, provide essential neighborhood services and create up to 30 new jobs.
  • City of Kingston – $1.5 Million for the Center for Photography at Woodstock: The Center for Photography at Woodstock will adaptively reuse and rehabilitate a 40,000 square foot former cigar factory to allow the organization to relocate from a much smaller space in order to expand its growing arts and cultural programs in Mid-Town Kingston, a thriving creative arts area.
  • City of Newburgh – $1.45 Million for the Lander Street Properties: This is a rehabilitation project for three buildings that have been vacant for nearly a decade. The properties will create 12 much-needed affordable housing units.

The Mohawk Valley was awarded $14 Million to support seven projects. Highlights include:

  • The City of Utica – $4 Million (Special Project Designation) for the Mayro Building: This is a highly visible decaying property in Downtown Utica. The building will be transformed into a mixed-use property with retail, office space and 47 new market rate apartments, and the project will help to transform downtown once completed due to its size and location.
  • City of Amsterdam – $2 Million for the 5 Corners Demolition: This project sits on one of the most heavily trafficked routes in the city and is a highly visible eyesore. The demolition and site development will prepare the site to market for redevelopment, with a focus on affordable housing & commercial uses. This project is a top priority for both the City and County.
  • Village of Ilion – $2 Million for the Rehabilitation of the Former Sperry UNIVAC Complex: This project will take a vacant blighted property and turn it into a mixed-use space with 81 market rate residences which are in high demand in the village. The project has a committed developer with a proven track record for success in the Mohawk Valley.

The North County was awarded $10 Million to support nine projects. Highlights include:

  • Village of Tupper Lake – $1.35 million the Oval Lofts Redevelopment: The Oval Lofts Redevelopment will develop the former lumber mill buildings and junkyard into 71 market rate units and 2,500 square feet of commercial space in downtown Tupper Lake.
  • City of Watertown – $1.35 Million for the 75-79 Public Square redevelopment: Includes Demolition of a blighted building and construction of a new four-story mixed-use building with 19,000 square feet of commercial space, a restaurant, and market rate apartments in downtown Watertown.
  • Village of Potsdam – $1.3 Million for the Six Depot Street redevelopment: This project Consists of the rehabilitation of a vacant condemned space into commercial space, event space, and four apartments in downtown Potsdam.

The Southern Tier was awarded more than $15.7 Million in support of eight projects. Highlights include:

  • Village of Endicott – (Special Project Designation) $6 Million for the IBM North Street Demolition Project: Involves the demolition of 550,000 square feet of vacant industrial/commercial space that can no longer accommodate modern manufacturing needs. The project will create a 10-acre shovel ready site for anticipated new development in the industrial park.
  • City of Binghamton – $2.95 Million for 187 Clinton Street: Involves the development of vacant site in the City’s First Ward into a multi-story building with 102 affordable rental units, replete with tenant amenities and complimentary commercial tenants.
  • Town of Roxbury – $1.8 Million for the Inn at Kirkside: This project will repurpose the historic Kirkside Estate into a hotel/restaurant with an integrated educational program that provides experiential learning to aspiring professionals in the hospitality and tourism industries.

Western New York was awarded $10.5 Million to support 10 projects. Highlights include:

  • Village of Westfield – $1.5 Million for the Welch’s Building: This project will provide historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the three-story concrete and brick Welch’s Building. Constructed in 1909 by the Welch’s Grape Juice Company for their office headquarters, the building is historically significant and regionally important. This project will induce commercial investment and improve local housing stock. through the creation of 46 new housing units, which are highly lacking in this market area.
  • City of North Tonawanda – $1.5 Million for the Lowry School Redevelopment: This project includes the rehabilitation of the former Lowry Middle School, located at 621 Payne Avenue. The building has been vacant and abandoned since 2006 and has become a blight within the Payne Avenue business corridor. Rochester’s Cornerstone Group LTD currently has a purchase agreement with the property owner to redevelop this site into 87 affordable senior apartments.
  • City of Olean – $1.25 Million for the Olean City Centre Redevelopment: The renovation of the site will include re-facade and update to the building exterior, demolition and renovation of the common area ceilings and skylights, roof replacement and demolition of the former interior tenant spaces and former Bon-Ton space that will allow for the construction of street facing retail and upper floor affordable housing units. The project will further advance the community’s ongoing revitalization efforts.

Applications are now being accepted for round two of Restore New York through January 27, 2023. Letters of intent were due by November 30, 2022. Cities, towns and villages all eligible to apply for support for projects that include demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties.

Photo of historic school being restored in Endicott is courtesy of NYHCR.

See full list of projects receiving funding (PDF).

Learn more about New York’s Regional Councils and Empire State Development.

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