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Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Provides Progress Update on Phase II of Liberty Gardens Rehabilitation Project

(June 04, 2013)

Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Provides Progress Update on Phase II of Liberty Gardens Rehabilitation Project

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (MVREDC) today announced substantial progress on Phase II of the rehabilitation of Liberty Gardens in the City of Rome. Along with Phase I—which was recently completed—Phase II is part of the three-phase revitalization of a 61-year old public housing development that will produce a total of 180 affordable, energy-efficient apartments. Phase II is moving forward on the strength of $1.068 million in awards from Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative. The award, in the form of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, will produce $10.1 million in equity for the project, generate more than $15.3 million in economic activity in the area, and leverage funds from other partners including the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) and Rome Housing Authority.

“We are very pleased to see Phase II of the Liberty Gardens redevelopment progressing positively as this strategic investment by the MVREDC will improve the quality of life for members of our community while boosting the local economy,” said MVREDC Co-chairs Lawrence T. Gilroy, President of Gilroy, Kernan and Gilroy Inc. and Bjong Wolf Yeigh, President of SUNYIT. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, projects like Liberty Gardens, which have a significant impact on the regional economy, are going from award to contract to construction faster than ever. This funding will help the Mohawk Valley’s working families gain access to affordable housing and demonstrates that the MVREDC is bringing critical state resources to the Mohawk Valley.”

“Liberty Gardens Apartments will provide more affordable family housing for Rome residents, redevelop a distressed public housing complex for the first time in its more than 60-year history, and provide excellent community and recreation facilities for residents,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner & CEO of New York State Homes & Community Renewal. “With an award from Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative, Phase II is moving forward and injecting millions of dollars into Rome and the Mohawk Valley. I congratulate Mayor Fusco, our valued partners and Omni and CPC, and the MVREDC for making this important economic and community renewal project a priority.”

Liberty Gardens was originally constructed in 1952 under a New York State Public Housing Program. It comprised eight brick buildings consisting of 180 total units constructed in a garden apartment configuration. Over the years, the heating system, insulation, kitchens and baths of Liberty Gardens had become functionally obsolete. This three-phased project is the first substantial renovation of the property in its 61-year history. In the first round of the REDC competition, Phase II was supported by the Mohawk Valley REDC and was awarded funding to support the complete rehabilitation of three existing buildings to create 50 apartment units. The first of the three has been completed and is currently occupied by tenant families, while construction is well-underway at the other two buildings, including rough framing, plumbing, wiring, insulation and HVAC installation.

Additionally, State and local officials today joined with members of the Rome community to celebrate the opening of the new Edward W. Corr Community Center – which was Phase I of the Liberty Gardens rehabilitation project. The Corr Community Center was assisted by New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) and is designed to promote community connections and provide excellent facilities for residents.

Duncan Barrett, Chief Operating Officer of Omni Development said, “Liberty Gardens’ redevelopment will have a broad impact on quality of life in Rome. Residents now—and for generations to come—will benefit from safe, decent housing and educational and recreational opportunities at the new Edward Corr Community Center. The entire community will benefit from the transformation of a distressed property into a handsome neighborhood asset. Omni Housing Development LLC is proud to have partnered with the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council, HCR, the City of Rome, and our financial partners on this worthwhile endeavor.”

Construction on Phase II began in Fall 2012 and will substantially rehabilitate three more of the existing buildings on a four acre site, consisting of 50 more of the 180 total units. The unit-break down for this phase of the project included six one-bedroom (two fully accessible and adapted), 22 two-bedroom (one fully accessible and adapted), and 22 three-bedroom (one fully accessible and adapted) units. Two units, a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom, are for persons with hearing or vision impairments.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo redefined the State’s approach to economic development by establishing 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) across the State. The REDC and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process have transformed economic development in New York State, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up regional economic growth.

Statewide, the first two rounds included $1.5 billion in investments to support more than 1,400 projects, which are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. As part of the first round process, the Phase II of the Liberty Gardens rehabilitation was awarded $1.068 million from New York State Homes & Community Renewal.

The Low-Income Housing Credit Program (LIHC) was established under the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to promote private sector involvement in the retention and production of rental housing that is reserved for low-income households. LIHC provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax liability for project owners who develop rental housing that serves low-income households with incomes up to 60% of area median income. The amount of LIHC available to project owners is directly related to the number of low-income housing units that they provide.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) consists of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies, including the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s efforts to spur economic development and job creation across New York State. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 REDCs to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The REDCs have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of competitive awards, the State is supporting more than 1,450 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating new jobs for New Yorkers and generating investments that grow our economy. For more information on the Regional Councils, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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