ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
CONTRIBUTING TO THIS ISSUE: SUMMER 2017
// DEBORAH BERKE PARTNERS // NYS PRESERVATION LEAGUE LACEY THALER REILLY WILSON ARCHITECTURE & PRESERVATION // SCHNEIDER FAMILY OF SERVICES // DESIGN GOSHOW ARCHITECTS // DATTNER ARCHITECTS // HOLMES KING AND KALLQUIST
HISTORIC PRESERVATION ISSUE
A PUBLICATION OF
CONTENTS 2 From Our President 3 We Speak for Historic Buildings by Joe Aliotta, AIA 4
From Our Executive Director
6 Interrogating “Adaptive Reuse” Through Design by Maitland Jones, AIA
10 Creativity Saves a Neighborhood Landmark by Joseph Coppola, AIA and Amy Stroud
12 Funding Strategies for Preservation Projects by Dan Wilson, AIA
Historic Preservation and Public/Private Partnerships by Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy & Preservation
The Importance of the Historic Tax Credit Program in New York State by Jake Schnieder, AIA
Community Renewal In Breezy Point, NY - Goshow Architects/Louis Berger Breezy Point Home Elevation Study by F. Eric Goshow, AIA
Historic Preservation Tax Credit – case : Hotel Syracuse by Dean Biancavilla, AIA
History of SEIC by Cynthia Herbach, Executive Director
New York State has historically been the canvas for great architects and exceptionally designed buildings. From Buffalo to New York City, we experience the richness our rehabilitated historic buildings add to the fabric of our communities. These projects range in scale from very large prominent building complexes to small storefronts along charming alleyways. What all these projects have in common is the rehabilitation of these structures would not be economically feasible without the use of Federal and State tax credits. The current policies on HTC’s have contributed to countless successful projects that have greatly enhanced our communities and local economies. The majority of these buildings would eventually have fallen victim to the wrecking ball without the use of Tax Credits. Preservation projects unite communities, revitalize main streets, protect endangered buildings and boost our local economies. You could say these projects are the most “green” buildings of all, their environmental impact has already been amortized and the addition of modern systems in historic buildings makes them both comfortable and efficient. With proposed tax reform on the horizon these tax credit development tools are in distinct danger of being eliminated. It is critically important that our members be heard in advocating to our elected officials for maintaining our current Federal and State Historic Tax Credit programs. Preservation is a bipartisan issue, where members from all parties benefit from preserving our rich architectural history. Please join me in advocating for the conservation of these funds. Historic Tax Credit projects not only enhance the community, but are good for the economy, encourage private investment and create jobs. Please let your voice be heard in protecting the current State and Federal Tax Credit programs and I urge our elected officials to remember the importance of these buildings and the stories they tell and, with continued preservation funding, these buildings can contribute for generations to come.
>> Front Cover: Photo courtesy of Deborah Berke Partners >> Edited by Nick Isaacs SUMMER 2017
WE SPEAK FOR HISTORIC BUILDINGS By Joseph Aliotta, AIA Vice President, Government Affairs
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Without support from many sources, including government, other architectural gems could face the same fate as Wright’s great Larkin Administration Building, which was torn down in 1950.” Our historic buildings have stories to tell and it is up to all of us to deliver the message on their behalf.
compared to a cumulative expenditure of $23.1 billion. These yields are further proof the federal HTC should be maintained and even be enhanced. The AIA supports the passage of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R.1158/S.425) which would expand reuse and redevelopment opportunities in underserved areas, while maximizing the impact of the state HTC.
While some states are eliminating their state Historic Tax Credit (HTC) programs, the state of New York is excelling, in fact, leading the nation in the rehabilitation of historic properties.
In 2013, AIA New York State (AIANYS) was instrumental to the update and expansion of New York State’s HTC. The law signed four years ago extends the credit through December 31st, 2019. Since 2014, AIANYS has advocated for a bill (S.5161-A/A.8416), which would make the program permanent, while gradually extending the maximum cap from $5 million to $9 million. Making the credit permanent would remove investment uncertainty and ensure that these projects continue to move forward unabated. The gradual expansion of the maximum cap would allow communities to pursue more ambitious and challenging reuse and redevelopment projects. Again, these efforts may all be for naught if the federal HTC is culled or diluted.
Since 2013, the state and federal HTC program has leveraged $3 billion of investment in New York State historic commercial properties.
Despite the immense success of this program, it may be in serious jeopardy if the federal government opts to abolish the federal HTC as part of the Congressional Majority’s “A Better Way” tax reform blueprint. The impetus to deliver a victory for the new administration places tax reform at the top of Washington’s “to do” list. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its components oppose any plan which would eliminate or weaken the credit. The elimination of the federal HTC would have a profound effect on the state of New York, which is tied directly to the state HTC by law. Even a proposed weakening of the federal HTC would drastically harm the efficacy of the state credit, and dry-up private investment in restoring historic properties. We must impress upon the New York Congressional delegation the importance of the federal HTC to our communities. Tax reform is important to our businesses, families, and the economy as a whole, however, we should not be approaching tax reform with a pennywise and pound-foolish attitude. The data overwhelmingly supports the HTC’s return-on-investment;
It is incumbent upon us as champions of preservation to stand-up and speak-out in favor of the federal and state HTC programs. AIANYS has already met with several members of the New York State Congressional delegation on the topic and distributed a letter to the full delegation supporting the federal HTC program. • •
rehabilitated more than
in private investment
in federal tax receipts
since the program’s inception, the HTC has
If you serve on local historic preservation boards or societies, reach out to your elected leaders in support of this initiative. If your firm is engaged in historic preservation projects, contact your member of Congress and ask if they would like to schedule a tour of a rehabilitated historic building in their district. Members of Congress will be inundated with requests to support various disparate tax credits which help a particular industry. It will be important for the design community to set itself apart in its advocacy efforts. Impress upon the members of Congress that preservation of our historic treasures is as an investment in our communities and the general quality-of-life of its inhabitants. Impress upon members of Congress that there is no question that the federal and state HTC programs provide a net-positive in terms of generated economic activity and job creation.
Architects should not assume that others will bear the weight of this undertaking. We must continue to lead. We must speak for historic buildings. We must speak for the built environment. We must speak for healthy and livable communities. We must rise to the challenge. WE SPEAK FOR HISTORIC BUILDINGS
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INTERROGATING “ADAPTIVE REUSE” THROUGH DESIGN By Maitland Jones, AIA
>> Photos courtesy of Christopher Payne
>> Transforming existing buildings for contemporary uses provides opportunities to strengthen communities, reinforce a sense of place, conserve resources, and create a meaningful dialog between past, present, and future. Adaptive Reuse, however, is an inadequate term for what that practice can do. Three recent projects by Deborah Berke Partners sit on a span from what we think of as “reverent” to “irreverent” in relation to traditional historic preservation practices. Each of these projects responds to the requirements of public funding and program, as well as the found conditions of the existing buildings; they to create a fusion of old and new, that respectfuls the past while creating fostering new possibilities for the today and beyond. In Buffalo, we recently completed the Hotel Henry, a project which redeveloped three buildings in the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, a National Historic Landmark-designated complex designed by H.H. Richardson. In Fredonia, New York we just celebrated the opening of the renovated and expanded the Rockefeller Arts Center, a visual and performing arts school originally designed by I.M Pei & Partners, and in New York City, we are currently completing a new visual and performing arts center in a former elementary school originally designed by C.B.J. Snyder. The Buffalo project, which relied on Federal Historic Tax Credits and $76.9 million in redevelopment funds from New York State, is the most reverent of the three (Goody Clancy served as the historic preservation consultant). Richardson’s architecture is monumental. The building has a complicated history—it served as a place of both care and confinement—so we judged a subtle approach as an appropriate response, one that was also in keeping with the requirements of the of the State Historic Preservation Office and other regulatory bodies. The building’s vast scale, broad corridors, high ceilings, and tall windows are awe-inspiring in the literal sense. Our design preserves Richardson’s proportions and deploys discreet interventions to adapt the building to its
new use as a boutique hotel, conference facility, and a forthcoming architecture center. Tiny former patient rooms are combined to create generously scaled guest rooms. Furniture-like “bump outs” in the corridors accommodate the new bathrooms. Perhaps the project’s strongest gesture is a new glass cube entrance, which reoriented the hotel toward the newly restored landscape, originally designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, updated by Andropogon. A new glass and blackened-steel stair, which is illuminated at night and visible on the exterior, brings visitors up to the lobby level. Legibly contemporary, the entrance pavilion signals the renewal of the building, a crucial benchmark in the redevelopment of the overall campus and a meaningful contribution to the revitalization of Buffalo. The State University of New York at Fredonia is defined by a campus masterplan and populated by a series of austere modern buildings designed by Henry Cobb and Pritzker Prize Laureate I.M. Pei., amongst which is the Rockefeller Arts Center. The New York State University Construction Fund tasked us with renovating and expanding the center to include additional classrooms, studios, workshops, as well as a new entrance that would better welcome students as well as the public, who attend performances and events. Where Pei used a language of concrete and glass with dark metal accents, our new addition inverts that language to use expanses of weathering zinc and glass with concrete accents. Large planes of glass, including on the cantilevered, double-height dance studio, reveal the activities within to the campus, and allow the building to act as a beacon to the community. New board-formed concrete accents with distinctive diagonal striations demark our concrete-work from that of the original building. At once an homage and a reinterpretation, the approach here is to be reverent but assertive. It was important that the addition stand out: it provides a much-needed west entrance. We admire Pei’s design language without parroting it, offering instead a related language more fitting for today. >> continued on next page INTERROGATING “ADAPTIVE REUSE” THROUGH DESIGN
In New York City, we are currently completing work on an arts and community center located in a circa 1894 former Public School 122 building in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The center will house a number of non-profit visual and performing arts groups, including the avant-garde theatre PS122, as well as community and social service organizations. Several of these groups previously occupied the school building in an ad hoc fashion. Working for the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Cultural Affairs, our rethinking and expansion of the building provides these groups with professional facilities that will allow them to better fulfill their missions. To give the institution visibility for the first time (their tenancy there was, in some respects, undercover before), and in keeping with the scrappy tradition of many of the tenant groups and of the neighborhood itself, we have taken an irreverent approach to the existing school building, repurposing it for new uses in the way a hermit crab occupies a discarded shell. In a disused side-yard we have inserted a new circulation spine that extends a floor above the roofline of the original building. Clad in perforated steel, the new volume is both shimmering and rugged, a clear departure from
>> Photo courtesy of Field Condition
the masonry school building. A new metal canopy extends from the circulation spine out to the sidewalk, providing a covered area for visitors and heightening the building’s presence at street level. The 225-seat theater for Performance Space 122 is placed in a rooftop addition, allowing for a column free space and requiring limited structural reinforcement, a pragmatic and opportunistic design decision. In place of the building’s missing cornice, we have designed a perforated metal bench to line the perimeter of the room with an integrated light sculpture by artist Monica Goetz. Lighting along the cornice and the street-level canopy will subtly “breathe,” creating a dynamic nighttime presence for the building. These three different approaches illustrate the complexities and rewards of successfully transforming old buildings for new futures. Reverent, irreverent, or somewhere in between, the relationship between old and new architecture should reflect the needs of today while responding inventively to restrictions of regulations, budget, and program. The blandness of the term “adaptive reuse” belies the richness of its possibilities. Maitland Jones, AIA, is a partner at Deborah Berke Partners in New York City. In 2017, the firm received the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
NOVEMBER 9-11, 2017 EXPO: NOVEMBER 10, 2017
CREATIVITY SAVES A NEIGHBORHOOD LANDMARK By Joseph Coppola, AIA and Amy Stroud
>> When it was built in 1903, Public School 186 was the first public school in Harlem’s newly developed Hamilton Heights neighborhood in Northern Manhattan. One of over 400 schools completed by architect C.B.J. Snyder between 1891 to 1923 when he served as New York City’s Superintendent of School Buildings, today, P.S. 186 is one of a handful still standing. The structure was designed with Synder’s innovative H-Plan, inspired by the Hotel de Cluny in Paris, which provided ample light and air into the classrooms, courtyard entrances that doubled as safe recreation areas, and made the most of a dense, midblock urban site. P.S. 186 was designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style with a broad cornice at the top of the building and a first-story base finished in cast stone. Terra cotta window trim accented the masonry façade. The first and fifth floors were clad in buff brick, and the second through fourth floors in red brick. The school was accessed through raised exterior courtyards (facing West 145th and 146th Streets) and enclosed by stone walls capped with decorative iron fences; boys and girls used separate entrances, as was customary at the time. The school was considered the architectural and academic pride of the community for decades after it was built. After years of budget shortages, deferred maintenance, and concerns about egress, the school was closed in 1975. It sat empty until the former school was purchased by the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem (BGCH) in the 1980s. Years of debate followed about what to do with the much-loved site, as the non-profit struggled to find a way to afford to renovate it. Meanwhile, the building
continued to deteriorate. The roof caved in, much of the cornice was lost, and trees grew through what had once been classrooms. Many feared the building would be torn down. In 2012, the non-profit partnered with an affordable housing developer/builder, and engaged Dattner Architects. Together, we developed a creative and viable scheme to restore this historic structure. Vision, technical prowess, determination, and teamwork transformed the dilapidated building, creating both the community center BGCH had dreamed of as well as much-needed affordable housing for local residents. In 2016, the building reopened with its vibrant mixedused program, addressing local needs. The 100,000-square foot residential portion transformed former classrooms into 79 affordable apartments. A fully restored building exterior and historic features in common spaces, such as the historic corridors, ornamental stairs, and restored principal’s platform, add to the charm of the residential space. The project is participating in the Enterprise Green Communities program to provide sustainable, environmentally friendly, affordable homes. The Boys & Girls Club of Harlem is located centrally at the base of the restored building. As a tribute to the building’s original use, the main children’s entrance echoes the entryway of the former school building from the South Courtyard, where the children gathered and entered the school from 1903 until it closed in 1970. The Minerva Entranceway on 145th street is used for the BGCH administrators, further anchoring the Club’s key presence in the community. >> continued on next page
Restoration Approach, Methodologies, and Design for Adaptive-Reuse When the decision was made to restore the structure, the design team encountered numerous obstacles. Nature had reclaimed the school’s top floor, allowing trees to grow through where windows and skylights used to be, with deteriorated wood flooring supported by earth and weeds; open window holes throughout exposed former classrooms to the elements; the formerly extravagant, detailed cornice had been stripped away on all sides; and the upper floors provided a home to animals, resulting in rot and extreme odor.
The design approach for the adaptive-reuse of this historically significant former school building was informed by a deep respect for the building’s architectural past. Dattner Architects worked closely with preservationist Michael A. Tomlan, FAPTI to ensure that the original Italian Renaissance Revival style exterior was faithfully restored, along with character defining interior features, including the original H-shaped corridor configuration. Contemporary insertions were designed to complement the historic building, and new materials such as glass and chrome accent the new programmatic elements.
It was clear from the state of the building, that preservation would be costly, and complicated. The development team was committed to creating safe and attractive affordable apartments and a new flagship for BGCH – while respecting the building’s integrity and original features. The development needed to meet the strict sound attenuation and environmental sustainability requirements for Affordable Housing in New York City, respond to community concerns, and fulfil BCGH’s programmatic goals.
The result is transformative. This once antiquated and unsafe building is again the pride of the community. Proudly reveling in its original stature, it is recognized as magnificent, a beautifully designed and restored historic landmark that serves local youth as well as a community in need of affordable homes. Despite its deteriorated condition at the start of the project, the building has been approved by the National Parks Service as a historically significant example of early 20th century school architecture, and is now included on the National Register of Historic Places. The successful conversion of this dilapidated, but formerly grand 20th Century public school building, into a mixed-use housing and community facility was only realized through dedication and collaboration of the owners, designers, and contractors.
To achieve this, the Development Team partnered with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development as well as several financial institutions including Red Stone Equity Partners, Bank of NY Mellon, and Low Income Investment Fund to create a viable financial plan for the restoration and adaptive reuse. Their financing package involved participation from SHPO and the NPS Historic Preservation Office to allow the project to receive Historical Tax credits.
Written collaboratively by Joseph Coppola AIA, Principal, and Amy Stroud, Marketing Manager, at Dattner Architects, a New York Citybased firm that focuses on social infrastructure projects. Joseph was the Principal-in-Charge for the adaptive reuse of P.S. 186.
CREATIVITY SAVES A NEIGHBORHOOD LANDMARK
FUNDING STRATEGIES FOR PRESERVATION PROJECTS By Dan Wilson, AIA
>> If you work long enough as an Architect you realize that it is on rare occasions that a private client has the resources to fund a large project with their own finances. Outside of government, corporations and wealthy benefactors, more often than not, we need to work with multiple funding sources to fund a project. Architects who understand these opportunities are a valuable asset to their clients and a major factor in the success of the project. Unfortunately, project financing is not something that is part of our education and usually takes years to understand. Funding for preservation and adaptive reuse projects is particularly difficult due to their relatively high construction costs. However, there are numerous grants, tax credits and loans designed to make saving and reusing our architectural heritage economically viable. The following information is intended to give you an overview of some of the funding source available to preservation projects. Some of these sources, like grants and Historic Tax Credits, can be difficult and time consuming to obtain and usually require an experienced design team, grant writers, attorneys, and accountants.
Many public grants require specific bidding procedures to ensure that the project is available to all qualified firms and contractors. Also, most New York State funded grants mandate that a goal is established for Woman and Minority Owned Business Enterprise participation and recently, some require a percentage go to Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses as well. Each granting source will have different rules and requirements and in general, applying for, receiving and processing the grant does add significant time to a project schedule and costs. Many grants are reimbursable, which requires the client to pay upfront for all of the services before being reimbursed by the grant.
Examples of some groups that offer preservation related grants: • Preservation League of New York State • NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation • Homes and Community Renewal • New York Council of the Arts • New York Landmarks Conservancy
Grants, the most sought after funding source are cash gifts given to the client to perform a specific task that is part of the overall project. While a gift of cash is always a popular choice with clients, there is no such thing as free money. Grants take an investment in both time and money to obtain and administer. At one of the New York State Office Parks, Recreation and Historic Places (NYSOPRHP) seminars regarding Environmental Projection Fund Grants, the handout had a piece of red tape stapled to the cover. This was intended to remind all in attendance of the large amount of paperwork and bureaucracy that is required once awarded a grant.
• National Trust for Historic Places • Save Americas Treasures • NYS Waterfront Revitalization Grant There are financial sources that provide low interest short-term loans geared specifically to aid in “gap” funding, allowing the client to bridge between paying for the project and receiving the money from the grant. However, the time and cost related to loan closing and interest should be factored into the overall financial plan to determine the net result of the grant. >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture and Preservation, LLP
With all grants it’s critical to understand what types of projects, services, and applicants for whom they are intended. For example, some grants are strictly for religious institutions while others specifically exclude religious groups. It’s also important to understand the focus area of the grant-round for which you are applying. Many of the grants have distinct funding objectives that they are steering their money to. For example, a couple of years ago, New York State had a focus on projects that involved hiking and biking trails. Though grants have been a major part of funding for preservation projects for a long time, the relatively recent addition of the State Historic Tax Credit has spurred a significant increase in restoration and adaptive reuse projects. Since 1976, there has been a federal historic tax credit, but without the New York State tax component it did not provide enough financial incentive for developers in New York to take on the higher cost associated with restoration projects. After many years of advocacy we obtained a state tax credit in 2013. Since then, over $3 Billion of investment has occurred in New York State alone. It is estimated that by the end of 2017 an additional $1.5 Billion of investment has been approved through the tax credit program. In New York State there are homeowner’s and commercial historic tax credit programs, but for the purposed of this article, we’ll be focusing on the commercial version. This program allows for up to 20% of the Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QRE) be used as a credit towards federal income taxes and 20% of the QRE credits towards state income taxes. Collectively, these two tax credit programs can offset up to 40% of the total QREs. For example, in a project with a $5 Million QRE there would be a federal and state tax credit of 40% or $2 Million in credits. If the owner doesn’t have a large income tax burden the credits can be syndicated (sold) to offset the cost of construction. After calculating the cost associated with obtaining and managing these credits the typical return is around 35% or in the example above around $1.75 Million (around 30% if syndicating (selling) the credits or around $1.5 Million). Getting $1.5 Million to offset a $5 Million construction cost is a large incentive but it’s not easy. In order to properly and efficiently obtain and manage a tax credit
project it is important to have a highly qualified team that is experienced in these programs. We typically recommend the following team members: Architect – Either the lead Architect or a subconsultant Architect that is familiar with the process, understands what can be included in a QRE and has an understanding of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Places. It’s also important for the preservation architect to have a relationship with the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service. Attorney – It’s important to have a law firm that has experience in the proper formation of the legal organization to receive the tax credit and a firm understanding of the IRS and State tax codes. In most cases the Tax Credit Attorney is separate from and in addition to the normal law firms clients use for development. This is of critical importance if the credits are to be syndicated. Accountant – Similar to the specialized tax credit attorney it is recommended that an accountant that specializes in historic tax credits is a part of the team. Many times this is an additional accountant working with the client’s normal accounting firm. Historic Tax Credit Consultant - Some historic architecture firms provide services related to the three step HTC application process, historic building documentation, historic design reviews and national register nomination but there are consultants that provide these services while also providing market analysis and assistance in obtaining investors. In order to qualify for the Commercial Historic Tax Credit Program the property must be listed on the National or State Register of Historic Places, individually or as a contributing building within a historic district, or eligible for inclusion on the register. For the State Tax Credit Portion you also be located within a Qualified Census Tract that has a median family income level at our below the state average. >> continued on next page FUNDING STRATEGIES FOR PRESERVATION PROJECTS 13
A good example of how grants and tax credits work to fund a restoration and adaptive reuse project is Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, New York. Elbridge Boyden built the Hall in 1871. Originally constructed for the Methodist church to host their annual regional meeting â€“ the Hall has hosted such luminaries as William Jennings Bryan, Henry Ward Beecher, Frederick Douglass, Senator Edgar T. Brackett and President William Howard Taft amongst others. In 1976 the Methodists sold the building to the Universal Baptist Church, who occupied it until the buildingâ€™s deteriorating state made it unsafe. In 1999 citizens of Saratoga Springs joined with members of the Baptist Church to rescue the Universal Preservation Hall from collapse. Since then the group has spent over $2 Million on the structural stabilization and repairs to make the building safe to occupy. Since 2013 Universal Preservation Hall has been undergoing the design and funding campaign for the next phase of work including the exterior restoration and adaptive reuse of the building, which was awarded grants from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Landmarks Conservancy of New York and a Technical Assistance Grant from the Preservation League of New York State. A key component of the funding of the project includes syndicating the historic tax credits for the previous and future phases of construction.
Some other tax related programs that can be included in preservation and adaptive reuse projects include State and Federal low income housing tax credits for residential projects and New Market Tax Credits for commercial projects within low income neighborhoods. Typically many of these types of projects also include the implementation of Payments In lieu of Taxes (PILOT) regulated through local Industrial Development Agencies that reduce the property tax burden for the owner for a set period of time. It is important as Architects to have a basic understanding of the multiple funding sources that are available to your clients and projects but it is also important to know your limitation. We have enough work in the design and administration of the project not to get bogged down in the financial and legal details that all these programs require. Therefore, assisting your clients in understanding the funding options and helping them establish a wellqualified team to capture these assets will make you a valuable commodity.
Work to be completed by the fall of 2018 includes complete building system replacements; lobby and elevator addition; theatrical sound and lighting; extensive interior and exterior renovations. Once completed, the former Methodist church will function as a premiere professional performance venue.
Daniel Wilson, AIA is a founding partner of Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture and Preservation, LLP a full-service architectural firm specializing in the renovation, restoration, and adaptive reuse of our nations existing and historic buildings. Located in historic Albany, New York, they provide a disciplined but nimble approach to the preservation of our existing and historic building stock. They also assist clients on submitting National Register Nominations, obtaining Historic Tax Credits and applying for grants.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS By Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy & Preservation
>> A decade ago, after years of advocacy by the Preservation League, New York joined many other states offering Rehabilitation Tax Credits for approved work on historic buildings. In 2009, the governor and Legislature expanded that credit to offer an even more powerful incentive for historic preservation and economic revitalization. Since then, municipalities, economic development organizations, business improvement districts, and property owners have sought to make their communities eligible for the New York State and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits through cultural resource surveys and National Register nominations. But those reports are often prepared by consultants, and those consultants have to be paid. Fortunately for cashstrapped local governments, the Preserve New York grant program provides a catalyst for community preservation. The Preservation League of New York State has partnered with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) on the Preserve New York grant program since 1993, to provide support for historic structure reports, building condition reports, cultural landscape reports, and cultural resource surveys. Applicants must be a unit of local government or a not-for-profit group with tax-exempt status. State agencies and religious institutions are not eligible to apply. Several years ago, the Preservation League noted a surge in cultural resource survey and National Register nomination applications to Preserve New York. Most of these survey and nomination projects had ties to economic development initiatives and property owner interest in using the New York State and Federal
Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Grants were sought to prepare nominations to the National Register of Historic Places with the express purpose of encouraging development in historic downtowns. These nominations were completed with enthusiastic support of property owners and real estate developers. In 2012, the city of Troy received a $5,000 Preserve New York grant to engage a consultant, the Troy Architectural Program, to document seven former textile factories along River Street. The city sponsored the National Register nominations to open the door to new investment opportunities. Five years later that stretch of River Street in Troy has enjoyed increased investment and use of the New York State and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits. The building known as Van Zandt, Jacobs & Company at 621 River Street was part of the Preserve New York-funded project and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. Now known as the Hudson Arthaus, the rehabilitated building provides income-based housing and hosts the Collar Works gallery on the first floor. Once an underutilized building, this mixed-use scheme contributes to the vibrancy of the River Street corridor in North Central Troy. Just down the block, 599 River Street was rehabilitated by The Community Builders for mixed-income and supportive housing. Also listed on the National Register as part of the Preserve New York-funded project, 599 River Street was historically known as the Wilbur, Campbell, Stephens Company, although most Capital Region residents knew it as Mooradians furniture store. The Community Builders completed the rehabilitation using New York State and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, along with other >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of The Preservation League
HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
funding sources. Support from the Community Preservation Corporation supported energy efficiency improvements specifically for rehabilitation projects. Now known as Tapestry on the Hudson, it is also one of the Capital Region’s greenest buildings. The Preservation League provided additional support for the 599 River Street rehabilitation through our 2014 Industrial Heritage Reuse Project feasibility study program, funded by the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Elmira Downtown Development has sponsored two Preserve New York-funded National Register historic district nominations in the last two years. In 2015, the Preservation League awarded $8,500 to Elmira Downtown Development to support the cost of the National Register nomination of the West Water and North Main Street historic district. Johnson-Schmidt and Associates Architects of Corning completed the successful nomination, which has leveraged $1.8 million in investment and led to the rehabilitation of two buildings within the new district. With continued interest in downtown rehabilitation, Elmira Downtown Development applied for another Preserve New York grant in 2017, for the expansion of the Elmira Civic historic district. A $6,795 Preserve New York grant allowed Johnson-Schmidt and Associates Architects to complete this historic district expansion. Elmira Downtown Development already has developers eager to rehabilitate commercial buildings and use the New York State and Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits in the expansion area. To further build on this success, Elmira’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative strategic investment plan, funded by New York State, encourages investment in its historic downtown and has recommended funding for a revolving loan fund and gap financing for downtown rehabilitation projects.
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These are just a few examples of how Preserve New York has led to strategic investment in the rehabilitation of historic places, leveraged significant additional cash and in-kind resources, and protected properties at the local, state and national level through landmark designations. And success stories like these have led to stiff competition for grant funds. Thanks to the Preservation League’s record of making effective preservation grants NYSCA has increased regrant funding significantly in the past three years. At the same time, in response to growing demand, the League has successfully lined up additional funding, including the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation for projects on Long Island.
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Historic preservation continues to rely on publicprivate partnerships to create successful rehabilitation projects. The Preservation League has demonstrated that leveraging private investment with public incentives is the best way to catalyze rehabilitation and economic development in historic communities. From Plattsburgh to Long Island to Jamestown and Buffalo, communities throughout New York State have recognized the importance of historic preservation and its role not just in maintaining community character, but in supporting economic renewal. The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HISTORIC TAX CREDIT PROGRAM IN NEW YORK STATE By Jake Schnieder, AIA
>> As an architect and developer specializing in adaptive reuse projects in Buffalo, NY, I’ve become very familiar with the nuances of the federal and state historic tax credit programs. The valuable role these programs play in the revitalization of neglected neighborhoods and in the preservation of NY’s historic buildings cannot be understated. In this article I hope to demonstrate how the Historic Tax Program has helped to stimulate Buffalo’s economic resurgence and assist in the physical renaissance we are currently enjoying in Western New York. The valuable historic architectural fabric that exists throughout our state is an asset New York cannot afford to waste. Unfortunately, the wealth of historic infrastructure that lines our streets is frequently taken for granted. This rich contextual backdrop to the daily lives of our citizens provides an environment that sets our communities apart from modern and sometimes monotonous streetscapes we find in newer cities and towns across America.
Why does Buffalo still need gap financing to bring projects to fruition during this current period of economic renaissance? The answer lies in the fact that Buffalo is listed by Wells Fargo as the 2nd most affordable housing market in America in cities with a metropolitan population of at least 1,000,000. In spite of the current positive economic trends we’re enjoying, the average rent in Buffalo in 2016 was $765.00 (Buffalo Niagara Partnership). That’s 85% of the national average and significantly less than average rents in peer cities like Cleveland ($980.00), Pittsburgh ($1,121.00) and Milwaukee ($938.00). Due to this disparity, housing projects in urban settings throughout New York State, that do not incorporate some form of gap financing, either historic, low income or brown field cleanup (BCP), rarely pencil out. To make matters even more challenging for developers, Buffalo typically pays an up-charge of 3% when compared to the national construction cost index. Simply put, without the HTC program, the growth of Buffalo’s downtown housing community, and the increase of housing projects in city neighborhoods would not be happening.
Countless numbers of projects across New York would have faltered without the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program. The “gap financing” provided by the HTC program is an essential development tool in overcoming significant additional costs inherent in the restoration of historic buildings. These aged structures are oftentimes neglected and in a severe state of disrepair. The gap financing made available is critical when structuring economically viable development projects.
Prior to 2009 when changes were legislated to offer developers a 20% New York State refundable tax credit, very few projects in NY State took advantage of the HTC program. Between 1996 and 2005 only 5% (17 buildings) of federal rehabilitation tax credits in New York State were awarded to projects located north and west of Albany. Conversely, in the two-year span between 2010 -11, 668 projects, from thirty-two counties across the state applied for credits, with Buffalo having the most applications. >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of Schneider Family of Services
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HISTORIC TAX CREDIT PROGRAM IN NEW YORK STATE
Anyone who believes that Buffalo’s renaissance would be happening at its current rate without the HTC program is mistaken. New York’s Queen City serves as a microcosm of what is happening nationally. The 2016 National Park Service annual report on the HTC program states that since it’s inception in 1978, $84 billion dollars has been invested into the rehabilitation of income producing historic properties across America. In 2016 alone, $7.16 billion was invested nationally creating 108,528 jobs and 21,139 new or restored housing units. Last year, in New York State, $748 million was invested on historic rehabilitation. These highly impactful projects repeatedly act as catalysts to continued community revitalization, resulting in reduced crime and exponential economic spin off. Housing has been the single most important use under the program accounting for 57% of the projects completed since 2012. The last five projects completed by my company, Schneider Development, LLC, were all urban, mixeduse housing projects using HTC’s. These five projects totaled $65 million in investment, created 250 units of housing, 370,000 square feet of restored historic infrastructure, 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) permanent jobs and 400 FTE, construction jobs. All of these projects were done in previously vacant and derelict, but historically significant structures. Our corporate philosophy of working the edges of the developing urban core, or in neighborhoods we believe will be the next “hot spot” has served us well. Taking what the historic building offers and allowing the structure to direct our re-design is essential to maximize value and retain and highlight historic fabric. No two adaptive reuse projects are the same. Every project we’ve completed has offered its
own set of challenges and pitfalls. These projects unfold as if working a Rubik’s cube; we’re constantly striving to balance tenant mix, market conditions, project costs, schedules and long range operational realities. Even with the HTC as an aid, there are increasing challenges. In spite of Buffalo’s abundant historic heritage we’re now finding it harder to identify and acquire eligible historic property. The existing inventory is, of course, finite. The buildings that remain are often in extremely poor condition and found in less advantages locations. Construction costs have risen due to the current robust nature of the industry. This all adds up to greater challenges when attempting to present investors with an inviting opportunity. Public sector cooperation and sound physical infrastructure are also critically important elements in the revitalization of community. Building in neighborhoods that possess a healthy, inviting public domain make for easier integration of improved historic property. Urban tenants demand safe sidewalks and traffic patterns, good lighting and public amenities. Buffalo and Western New York have made significant strides forward by utilizing the Historic Tax Credit program to leverage projects that otherwise would not be feasible. Eliminating this important program would remove a valuable tool from the development community and be a major step backwards for New York. C.Jake Schneider, AIA, CEO, Schneider Family of Services is a Buffalo based firm specializing in comprehensive architectural services, including all aspects of planning, design and construction.
By F. Eric Goshow, AIA
Sandy brought with it floodwaters and winds that caused extensive damages to residences and businesses. The storm affected all 2,387 homes, ranging from power outages to complete loss of structures. On the southern shore of Breezy Point, homes were lifted off their foundations, while other homes throughout the community were inundated with several feet of floodwaters. When the flooding began to affect the community’s power systems, fires were sparked. The density of homes, combined with lack of access for first responders due to flooding, led to 135 homes lost to fire. In the end, 355 homes were completely lost due to fire and flooding, which is more than 10% of the community’s housing stock.
>> Whether you call it Hurricane Sandy or Superstorm Sandy, the residents of the Breezy Point, NY community call it a disaster. Breezy Point is a unique, coastal community that sits on the tip of the Rockaway peninsula. This exposed barrier island takes the brunt of extreme weather events and unprecedented sea level rise – which was put to the test when Sandy hit. Once a summer campground, Breezy Point has grown into a formalized Cooperative beach bungalow community, home to year-round residents and summer vacationers alike. When anyone visits Breezy Point, they notice immediately the close-knit sense of community. The neighborhoods are defined by dense single-family homes connected by walking paths, creating an intimate sense of place. The U.S. Census reports that Breezy Point was home to 4,000 year-round residents and approximately 12,000 summer residents.
The circulation infrastructure, including roads, sidewalks and sand service lanes, were inundated. But the problems don’t stop with Sandy. The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) 2015 report also states that sea levels in the area will increase from 11 to 21 inches by the 2050’s – combined with increasing temperatures and precipitation, storms will become more intense in the future. Since Breezy Point is surrounded on three sides by water, this is a significant threat to the resiliency of this charming community. According to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), the New York Rising Community Reconstruction (NYRCR) Program is a more than $650 million planning and implementation process established to provide rebuilding and resiliency assistance to communities severely damaged by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy. This study was the catalyst for Breezy Point to develop a series of comprehensive reconstruction and resiliency strategies, and identify projects and actions to help fulfill those strategies. The funding for these projects is provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development >> continued on next page
>> Photo courtesy of The New York Times
COMMUNITY RENEWAL IN BREEZY POINT, NY - GOSHOW ARCHITECTS/LOUIS BERGER BREEZY POINT HOME ELEVATION STUDY
Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. New York State has allocated 102 localities across the state between $3 million and $25 million to implement eligible projects identified in the NYRCR Plan. Armed with $19.5 million in CDBG-DR funding for Breezy Point, implementation is underway. As part of the NYRCR Plan for Breezy Point plan, the Breezy Point Home Elevation Study was commissioned in 2015 and directed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). DASNY then hired the teaming of Louis Berger and Goshow Architects to assess the situation and make recommendations for the community. Louis Berger took on urban planning while Goshow Architects was primarily focused on architecture. The study, the first of its kind, focused equally on architecture and urbanism for the revitalization and renewal of the Breezy Point community and was formally presented in early 2016. “In many ways, Breezy Point was a symbol of the pain and destruction that many residents experienced after the terrible impact of Superstorm Sandy. Today, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we are taking a tremendous step forward by cutting through the red tape that has prevented this community from rebuilding for so long and securing a brighter future for Breezy Point,” said Senator Joseph Addobbo at the press conference announcing the study. Overall, the Goshow Architects/Louis Berger study explores the needs, options and strategies for housing elevation in Breezy Point. While some residents have already opted to elevate their homes, many remain confused by changing regulations and varying costs associated with raising their homes. The study aims to provide the necessary guidelines and standards that will create a basis for community action from an architectural and urban design perspective by: • Understanding the existing architectural and neighborhood character of the community • Documenting the existing conditions and elevation status of homes in Breezy Point • Understanding the flood risk of the community from routine storms, extreme weather and climate change
• Understanding the applicable regulations for home elevation • Developing a community vision for the future of a resilient community • Developing recommendations that are locally-tailored for home elevation, including architectural and neighborhood design guidelines • Evaluating the costs of home elevations and providing collective build-out strategies for gaining economies of scale • Providing information that may allow the community to negotiate a bulk discount rate for home elevations The NYRCR planning process began bringing residents together to envision a more resilient future. The vision for a resilient Breezy Point, as laid out in the NYRCR Plan, focuses on improving the community’s ability to prepare for, respond to and quickly recover from future storm events, while building more secure structures to stand up to extreme forces. Building on the community involvement established by the NYRCR plan, the study process began with a public meeting which was held to share concerns, create face-to-face dialogue and ask important questions focused on the appearance and feel of the community. Residents were polled to determine how many were planning to elevate their homes, and by what means. The surveys and discussions revealed that while 40% of residents planned to elevate, almost as many were unsure of what do to, and only 2% had already elevated, 3+ years after the storm. Many who planned to elevate their homes opted to do so through Build It Back, a program that provides funding from the city to rebuild Sandy-damaged property. After this initial meeting, a second meeting was held to present potential elevation design options for the various neighborhoods of Breezy Point. After initial feedback, the Goshow Architects/Louis Berger team held discussions on how to incorporate the public comments into design guidelines for a final report. >> continued on next page
“This input was essential for our team to understand the context of the community as a whole, as well as understanding how much someone’s preference contributes to the overall design,” said Elizabeth Claassen of Goshow Architects. “All this input ultimately informed our design guidelines in the final report.” According to the New York Times, while some homeowners are still in limbo, and the dock is yet to be repaired, the community overall has remained very resilient. In 2017, many homes are well underway on repairs and local establishments are back in business, or have most major repair work completed. Infrastructure projects like storm water drainage improvements, enhanced dune walkways which ensure ocean-side protection and access to the beach and new construction projects like a multi-purpose relief center that could aid in future recovery efforts, if needed, are already in the works. Breezy Point is also working with the National Park Service to strengthen coastal vulnerabilities in the area’s ecological preserves and parks. The urban planning and renewal of the Breezy Point community is a clear illustration of government funds at work for the benefit of a community. Funds available from the federal, state and local level have helped begin the rebuilding process at Breezy Point and dozens of communities across New York State.
The research techniques and analyses done by Goshow Architects and Louis Berger for this particular case could not have been possible without public funds – the impact of this study on this historic waterfront community is a testament to how much New York State believes in its resiliency to face any coming storm. As seen with recent superstorms like Harvey and Irma, a holistic approach to disaster response by local governments is not only beneficial to individual homeowners, but to whole communities. F. Eric Goshow, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is a founding Partner of Goshow Architects. He has more than 30 years of award-winning experience in architectural design and planning. Eric’s expertise is in the design of sustainable educational and institutional projects, reflecting his professional interest in accessible, sustainable and healthful design for all spaces. Goshow Architects is one of the largest woman-owned architectural firms in New York City. Established in 1978, Goshow is founded on the principle that architects have a social responsibility to design healthy and sustainable environments to work, learn, and live in. Dedicated to “green building design for the public good”, Gohow Architects improve communities by providing sustainable design solutions for new buildings, as well as the rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation of existing structures. incorporates open spaces, natural lighting, eco-friendly materials, and resource/energy efficient systems.
COMMUNITY RENEWAL IN BREEZY POINT, NY - GOSHOW ARCHITECTS/LOUIS BERGER BREEZY POINT HOME ELEVATION STUDY
HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT – CASE : HOTEL SYRACUSE By Dean Biancavilla, AIA
>> Owners of historic commercial properties have a valuable method of supporting restoration projects with supplemental funds by taking advantage of two tax credit programs. One is a federal program administered by the National Park Service together with the Internal Revenue Service. The State of New York has the other tax credit program administered by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The combination of these two programs amounts to tax credits equivalent to 40% of the renovation construction costs of an historic property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The federal program is covered in detail on the National Park Service website. The essentials of this program are an application in three parts and the first and the second parts must be completed and approved prior to the start of construction. They key to the process is consultations with the SHPO office and the NPS regarding the proposed scopes of work that are written into the Part 2. The part 3 is submitted after the completion of the project. This is a substantial funding mechanism which architects should be aware of. Our architectural firm, Holmes King Kallquist & Associates, of Syracuse has worked on a number of projects that have utilized both of the federal and state tax credit programs. Several of these projects are in various stages of completion and one stands out as a great example to discuss the details of the program – the Hotel Syracuse. The Hotel Syracuse is a twelve story building designed in a Renaissance Revival style by George B. Post and Sons in 1924 who were famous for grand hotel designs. The hotel had been active up until 2007 when the last attempt by a developer to bring the hotel back to full operation failed and it went vacant after. Then a Syracuse native, Ed Riley, decided to intervene.
A newspaper article gives a good account of Ed’s background and how he came to take up this challenge. “At the peak of his career, Ed Riley gave up his job as senior vice president at a national hotel company to save a landmark in his hometown. From his former office on the 31st floor of a skyscraper in Boston’s financial district, Riley moved to a storefront in the vacant Hotel Syracuse, where some windows are boarded and there is no water to flush toilets.” “Riley, 60, is the new owner of the once grand hotel on Warren Street, which the city seized and sold to him July 3, hoping he can bring it back from the dead. The water and steam pipes are broken. Much of the electrical and air-handling equipment dates back to 1924, when the 11-story hotel opened. Bits of ceiling rain down regularly in the 590 rooms.” “Riley, a fourth-generation Syracuse native, must raise money for a $60 million renovation of a massive hotel that’s hosted no guests for a decade. If that isn’t a big enough challenge, fate has dealt Riley a personal crisis. The same day he gained title to the hotel, a member of his immediate family suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm. Riley signed legal papers for the deed transfer in the parking lot at University Hospital. He has spent most of his time since then at the intensive care unit, breaking away to answer calls or to attend a quick meeting about the hotel.” “Riley intends to position it as a full-service luxury hotel, which requires rebuilding all the rooms into more spacious and modern chambers. The renovation will yield about 265 rooms - fewer than half of the current 590. Because luxury rooms in Syracuse will sell for only about >> continued on next page
>> Photos courtesy of Holmes King Kallquist & Associates
The Grand Ballroom, the Grand Lobby and the former Persian Terrace were three of the large public spaces which were researched, investigated for their history and restored to original splendor. The investigations into these elaborately decorated rooms included conducting studies of the old paint layers to determine the original color schemes. The Grand Lobby surrounding the registration desk had a coffered ceiling but painted white to help enlighten the space. Part of the restoration work included putting back some monumental windows which brought more light into the lobby space. In addition, during the demolition of some mezzanine offices the contractors discovered the original paint scheme of the decorative coffered ceilings above the acoustical tile ceilings. This was a polychrome application to the different plaster elements of the ceiling and this was used as the template for the plaster ceiling restoration of the Grand Lobby.
$150 or $160 a night - not the $400 typical of a larger city - the Hotel Syracuse renovation will require more extensive public financing than other projects Riley has supervised.” The hotel also will need a property tax break from the city and a commitment from the county to steer convention center visitors to it, Riley said.”
The restoration of the Hotel Syracuse [now called the Syracuse Marriott] encompassed many such historic activities that went towards bringing the building online for its grand opening in the fall of 2016. The tax credit program was instrumental to Mr. Riley’s funding package to carry out this complex restoration. Dean Biancavilla, AIA, is a preservation architect and has worked at Holmes King Kallquist & Associates, Architects, located in Syracuse, NY, for the last 24 years. The firm was established in 1981 and has a staff of 24 inclusive of 7 architects. A third of its practice encompasses historic preservation projects from residential to museums to large projects like the Hotel Syracuse.
“Riley took title to the hotel under the name of his company, Syracuse Community Hotel Restoration Co. 1 LLC. The name was chosen to highlight the need for ongoing community support, he said. The developer said the restoration will need support from local investors, local banks and local governments. And when the Hotel Syracuse reopens, it will have to regain the support of local residents, who for generations held their weddings, parties and proms there.” “The thing that everybody needs to understand is, if you really want to do it, it can be done,’’ he said. Holmes King Kallquist & Associates, Architects teamed with MLG Architects of NYC to work on the project which expanded with several additional scopes of renovation and restoration to where the total project value is now $89 million up from the original $60 million. The project involved a top to bottom restoration – from the reconstruction of masonry parapets to the renovation of the hotel rooms to the alterations in the basement to accommodate new mechanical / electrical systems and new service functions.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT – CASE : HOTEL SYRACUSE
HISTORY OF SEIC By Cynthia Herbach, Executive Director
>> The South End Improvement Corporation, founded through citizen efforts as a not-for-profit corporation in 1978, was at one time one of four neighborhood improvement corporations in the City of Albany. That only SEIC and one other neighborhood improvement corporation survive attests to the steady presence SEIC has had, and the continued need to provide assistance to programs that can stabilize the neighborhood and provide clean, safe and affordable housing in a community that faces ongoing economic challenges. SEIC’s founding mission, following decades of Urban Renewal, large public works projects adjacent to the South End, and the flight of long term residents to other areas of the city and the suburbs, was to encourage city living and enhance the residential character of the area. For forty years, this has been accomplished through local promotion of funding opportunities, sponsoring education and informational activities associated with building rehabilitation, assisted with income and program eligibility verification, provided credit and homeownership counseling and coordinated all contractor work for projects as minor as installing grab bars for the elderly and as major as full structural stabilization. Programs have rehabilitated SEIC-owned buildings, existing structures that are privately owned, and supported new construction efforts. SEIC has also maintained lists of South End properties for sale, managed a community garden, and provided referrals to other organizations and programs. SEIC’s area of impact is primarily within 2 distinct zip codes: 12202 and 12209. According to the 2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, of the 10 zip codes that comprise Albany average median income ranges from $10,675 (12207) to $90,734 (12211). 12202 ranks second at $25,952 while 12209 ranks seventh at $52,788.
Albany 12202 12209 Population
97,856 9,628 10,121
46,362 5,207 4,501
Occupied Housing Units
41,157 4,322 4,197
Owner Occupied Units
15,083 1,071 2,398
Median Household Income
$40,949 $25,952 $52,788
SEIC’s boundaries include four historic districts (Mansions Historic District, South End-Groesbeckville Historic District, Center Square/Hudson-Park Historic District, and Pastures Historic District), is adjacent to downtown Albany and to Lincoln Park, also granted historic designation, and includes several large public housing projects and buildings housing public offices.
>> Photos courtesy of SEIC
Successes SEIC’s small staff of 3, directed by local residents and merchants, have been able to touch more than 25% of the buildings within its boundaries using funding secured largely from the changing landscape of federal and state programs. Over 40 years, SEICS’s most successful programs have been rehabilitation of single family homes and multi-family buildings owned by local residents, enabling families to control their own home and for seniors to age in place. Recent grants awarded to SEIC will expand these efforts: in the first half of 2017, SEIC has been awarded almost $1. 3M in three separate grants from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to address critical affordable housing needs in this area of the City. •
$550,000 from the Home Improvement Program (HIP) through the NYS Affordable Housing Corporation to improve 20, owner-occupied single-family homes. $2,000 - $40,000 can be used for improvements at each home. $440,000 in Homeowner Assistance Rehab Program (HARP) through the HOME Program to provide grants from $5000 - $40,000 to owners who reside in 1- 4 family buildings. Improvements will be made to at least 11 housing units. $300,000 from the HomeBuyer Development program through the HOME Program for SEIC to renovate and sell four, single family homes to income-eligible buyers. While it is more common statewide for such funds to be used to assist buyers with their down payments, SEIC is one of relatively few organizations to use the funds to make existing and vacant buildings ready for purchase.
Funds can generally be used to address health and safety concerns; eliminate health hazards and code violations; repair or replace roofs, heating equipment and boilers and electrical and plumbing systems; improve energy efficiency and accessibility; and modernize kitchens, baths and interior and exterior finishes.
Future For almost 40 years, SEIC has consistently worked to meet its core mission. Whether or not the South End has disproportionately lost buildings to fire and emergency demolition is unknown, but the area’s needs have not changed: safe, clean, and affordable housing, job training and employment. The most successful programs remain those faithful to the original mission of strengthening community: administering low and moderate income housing programs, renovating single family homes and multi-family buildings, and increasing the rate of home ownership. Success in reaching these goals is impacted by a building’s natural pattern of deterioration. A full rehabilitation requires cyclical maintenance and upgrades; for vacant buildings, the rate of deteriorate increases as a function of years since last inhabited. With the number of vacant buildings increasing over the decades, the difficulty and cost of rehabilitation increase. Buildings that are abandoned and have absentee owners, available to squatters and ready candidates for emergency demolition, decrease the value of an entire street. The new state fire code requirement of marking potentially unsafe buildings with a red ‘X’ makes the situation in underserved communities like the South End that much more obvious. Although, like the 1970s, there is a move back into the city, this small migration is predominated by young and retired persons unconcerned with the public-school system. If these, and the city’s newest immigrant citizens could be among the first candidates to reinvigorate the South End, SEIC will need to dedicate its resources to address the unique needs and wishes of these individuals, as well as the existing residents who call the South End home.
HISTORY OF SEIC
SUMMER 2017 >> Photo courtesy of Dattner Architects
>> Photo courtesy of Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture and Preservation, LLP
>> Photo courtesy of Schneider Family of Services
518.449.3334 | AIANYS@AIANYS.ORG 50 STATE ST, 5TH FLOOR, ALBANY, NY 12207
>> Photo courtesy of Holmes King Kallquist & Associates
>> Photo courtesy of The New York Times and Goshow Architects
ARCHITECTURE NEW YORK STATE
>> Photo courtesy of Deborah Berke Partners