State, city and private firms partnered to restore and reuse this historic convent as affordable and supportive housing

On April 13, 2022, New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas announced the completion of a $20 million project to convert the historic St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School and Convent into an affordable and supportive housing redevelopment.

Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “The Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments project is another great example how historic preservation is breathing new life into upstate cities like Syracuse. The Historic Tax Credit program is driving investments in historic structures, which helps lift local economies, expand housing, promote sustainability and preserve local heritage.

Known as the Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments, the development now offers 54 homes for adults aged 55 and older with half of the apartments reserved for seniors in need of supportive services.

The State’s investment in the historic but deteriorating St. Anthony’s School and Convent has yielded 54 affordable homes that will provide safety and stability for new residents,” Commissioner Visnauskas said.

The lovingly restored century-old buildings are now a community asset for Syracuse’s South Side and a beautiful place to call home. Congratulations to Home Leasing and our other partners for recognizing the potential in the long vacant property and helping to bring it back to life,” she added.

The Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments is part of Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. The Governor is building on the success of the State’s first Housing Plan with a new $25 billion, five-year initiative that will create and preserve an additional 100,000 affordable homes in urban and rural areas across New York including 10,000 with support services.

The St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School and Convent building were originally constructed in 1926 and are on the National Register of Historic Places. After closing as a private school, the Syracuse City School District used the property until 2009. The city’s five-year plan for the Southside neighborhood, the result of a resident and stakeholder-driven planning initiative, identified the property as a neighborhood asset that should be restored.

The renovated property includes 27 apartments for seniors who will have access to on-site services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and administered by the New York State Department of Health. These supportive services will be coordinated and provided by Nascentia Health. The remaining apartments are for adults aged 55 and older with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “Access to affordable housing that also provides wrap around services is an important priority for Onondaga County. Furthermore, bringing life back to the historic St. Anthony Padua Catholic school and Church will provide critical stabilization to an important neighborhood in our City.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, “Affordable housing and housing with vital support services are among the top resources for health that can make a lasting impact. Governor Hochul is proving that this historic and ambitious housing plan to benefit New Yorkers in need is achievable one neighborhood at a time.

Green building and energy efficient features at the Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments include low-VOC building materials, and Energy Star appliances, equipment, and lighting.

Assembly Member Pamela J. Hunter said, “The conversion of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School and Convent into the Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments is a great example of creatively using the resources we have available to create affordable housing options for our residents. While I’m pleased to see so many supportive housing units open to our seniors, I look forward to continuing this work so that more affordable units will be available to the general public.

The redeveloper and property manager is Home Leasing and the service provider is Nascentia Health. The renovations were completed by Home Leasing Construction.

Senator Rachel May said, “The Gardens at St. Anthony’s is a wonderful example of Syracuse’s growth – a property vacant for a long period of time brought back to life with high-quality, attractive, affordable housing designed for our seniors. I am thrilled to see our state’s investments being put to good use, and to see our neighbors starting to move in.

State financing for The Gardens at St. Anthony’s includes Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $11.1 million equity and $2.6 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “With the completion of the Gardens at St. Anthony’s Apartments, Syracuse’s most vulnerable residents now have increased access to affordable and supportive housing that showcases industry leading energy efficiency practices and equipment. Renovation of historic buildings like this one demonstrate that we can transform our existing building stock to advance the State’s goal of reducing harmful emissions while ensuring that all New Yorkers benefit from the transition to clean energy.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation allocated Federal and State Historic Tax Credits that generated $5.9 million in equity and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $52,400 in support. The City of Syracuse provided $700,000 in HOME funding.

Mayor Ben Walsh said, “The Gardens at St. Anthony’s is a creative example of bringing new life to historic structures and providing quality, affordable and accessible housing for people right where they want to live. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her support with the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. I am pleased we were able to invest City resources into this transformational project and I am grateful for the partnership of Home Leasing, Nascentia Health and everyone else who helped make it happen.

Residential amenities include a community room and kitchen in the former gymnasium, laundry facilities, and fitness room.

Photos courtesy of Nascentia Health.

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