Revitalizing IBM’s birthplace: Historic 1927 school building is now affordable housing for 61 families, including formerly homeless

On October 13, 2021, the $22 million transformation of the historic, underutilized Henry B. Endicott School building into 61 affordable apartments was completed in the village of Endicott, New York.

REVITALIZATION readers might remember Endicott from this article in our October 1, 2021 issue, which reported that a Canadian solar company had purchased the former IBM plant there, and was about to turn it into a factory for manufacturing photovoltaic panels.

So, good things are finally happening in Endicott, after decades of hard times after IBM abandoned the town (which was IBM’s birthplace) because they didn’t want to pay the local property taxes.

Ben Lockwood, President and CEO of Housing Visions Unlimited, said, “This building has a long and proud history of serving this neighborhood, and the adaptive redevelopment of this property into residential housing ensures this for the next generation. It represents an ideal strategy to encourage the residential stabilization called for in the Endicott District Revitalization Plan.

Now known as Endicott Square, the redevelopment includes 15 apartments for formerly homeless families who will have access to on-site supportive services.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The redevelopment of the former Henry B. Endicott School into affordable housing is bringing new life and activity to the village’s Jackson Avenue corridor. By providing 61 much-needed affordable homes, Endicott Square is a smart investment that will benefit the community by reducing homelessness and helping the local economy grow. We are grateful to have a partner like Housing Visions that shares our mission for delivering quality affordable and supportive housing to New York’s families.

The two-story 77,000 square-foot Henry B. Endicott School was originally constructed in 1927.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “This is exactly the type of project we envisioned when the Greater Binghamton Fund was announced. Affordable housing continues to be needed throughout our community and these 61 units, including ones that are fully accessible and others that are designated for homeless individuals, continue our commitment to filling this gap. I appreciate the great work by NYSHCR, as well as our other state and local partners to transform another legacy building into a project that benefits the entire community.

Redevelopment of the building was named a priority project by the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council’s Greater Binghamton Fund.

Endicott Square consists of 43 one-bedroom apartments and 18 two-bedroom apartments. Fifty-one apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income and ten apartments are for households earning up to 90 percent of the AMI.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The supported housing units in Endicott Square will allow vulnerable New Yorkers to live in safe and stable homes of their own. Once again, New York’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative is providing housing with services that will yield better health outcomes and allow more New Yorkers living with mental illness to become valuable contributors in their communities.

There are seven fully accessible and adapted apartments for individuals with mobility impairments and three fully accessible and adapted apartments for individuals with hearing or visual impairments.

15 households will have access to on-site supportive services provided by the YWCA of Binghamton and Broome County.

Vacant and underutilized properties are prime targets for redevelopment as they help to revitalize neighborhoods, provide additional housing opportunities and enhance quality of life for the whole community,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “The path forward as we rebuild from the pandemic needs more investments in safe, supportive housing like Endicott Square. We will continue these efforts in communities all across the Southern Tier and throughout the state.

Approximately $375,000 in annual funding for services is provided by the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by New York State Office of Mental Health.

Building amenities include a common laundry facility, bulk storage, community room, playground and an outdoor patio.

State financing for the development is through New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s allocation of Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $15.9 million in equity and an additional $2.4 million in subsidy. The Greater Binghamton Fund awarded $3 million for the project through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. Additional financing was provided by NBT Bank.

Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, “The Greater Binghamton Fund leverages public resources with private investment to support projects like the transformation of this underutilized former middle school. The Endicott Square adaptive reuse project is part of that targeted strategy which is focused on the rebirth of long-neglected urban areas in Endicott, Binghamton and Johnson City. Through the fund, we are further catalyzing efforts to repurpose these historic buildings, creating cultural centers, jobs and affordable housing–all of which will stimulate long-term regional investment and sustainability.

Endicott Village is part of the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan to make housing accessible and to combat homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 homes with supportive services.

Senator Fred Akshar said, “Safe, stable and affordable housing is an essential step in helping break the cycle of poverty and helping those in need in our community get back on their feet, back into the workforce and onto the path to success.

Endicott Square is located in a residential neighborhood with commercial businesses and retail stores nearby.

Mayor Linda Jackson said, “We are happy to welcome Housing Vision’s apartment complex, Endicott Square, to our Village. We feel there is a need for this clean and safe affordable housing. I have met with the team from Housing Visions, and look forward to a long and equally beneficial working relationship for years to come.

Over the last decade In the Southern Tier, HCR has invested more than $276 million to finance nearly 2,900 affordable apartments in multifamily developments.

Photo courtesy of NYHCR.

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