Walnut Avenue Homes Unveiled Monday

Article reposted from http://www.niagara-gazette.com/news/local_news/walnut-avenue-homes-unveiled-monday/article_40e664a8-677d-542f-9915-501ff52010f0.html


A multi-million-dollar housing project billed by supporters as one of the “building blocks” in the redevelopment of an inner-city neighborhood took center stage during a ceremony on Monday.

Local and state officials gathered to dedicate the Walnut Avenue Homes, a 41-unit development of seven new buildings and adaptive re-use of another. Officials said the project, undertaken by the private developer Housing Visions with assistance from the city and the state, will provide affordable housing for low-income individuals.

“This is more than one affordable housing development – this is the building block of a stable, safe and vibrant neighborhood of the kind that will drive the revitalization of Niagara Falls,” said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who visited Niagara Falls to take part in the dedication ceremony. “Through the collaborative work of many state agencies and the private sector, we are providing homes and a supportive environment through YWCA of Niagara for people who have faced economic hardship and domestic violence.”

The project, on Walnut Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets, involved new construction for 32 units in seven buildings where vacant structures once stood, and the re-purposing of an historic, long-abandoned educational building, for nine additional units.

The project is sponsored by Housing Visions, which is partnering with the YWCA of Niagara to provide 13 units, and support services, to formerly homeless women and their children. All units were constructed using green building practices and incorporating energy efficiency measures that adhere to NYSERDA’s Energy Star Labeled Homes Program.

In addition, funding for the $12.2 million development included:

• $6.9 million of tax credit equity through Homes and Community Renewal which was leveraged from $727,055 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits; $1.1 million from the State Housing Trust Fund and $1,037,066 from the State HOME program;

• $1.67 million from the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Homeless Housing Assistance Program;

• About $577,000 of Federal Historic Tax Credits and $364,408 of State Historic Tax Credits through New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation;

• $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding and

• $102,500 from New York State Energy Development and Research Authority.

“The Walnut Avenue Homes project, thanks to the efforts of Housing Visions, HCRC and the YWCA, will ensure that the city’s continued growth, and the revitalization of our downtown corridor in particular, will be enjoyed by all residents for years to come,” said Mayor Paul Dyster.