Major Affordable Housing Redevelopment Kicks Off in Rome, N.Y.

Ground has been broken for the redevelopment of Liberty Gardens in upstate Rome, which will include the major rehabilitation of three masonry two-story buildings and the construction of six new buildings on the seven-acre site.

Rome, N.Y.—Ground has been broken for the redevelopment of Liberty Gardens in upstate Rome, which will include the major rehabilitation of three masonry two-story buildings and the construction of six new buildings on the seven-acre site. It’s the first renovation to the property since it was originally built in the early 1950s.

The overall project will include 180 renovated or new apartment units completed in three phases. The unit mix of the first phase will include 14 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom, 35 three-bedroom and five four-bedroom units, with several handicap and hearing and/or vision impaired units. All of the units are affordable housing.

According to the developers, Omni Housing Development LLC and the Rome Housing Authority, despite good management and maintenance over the years, the property’s heating system, insulation, kitchens and baths have become functionally obsolete. Though not applying for any kind of certification, the redevelopment will strive for increased energy efficiency through the insulation of exterior walls, replacement of all kitchens and bathrooms, reconfiguration of unit layouts, replacement of the heating system and site drainage.

The project also includes the preservation of existing green space, increased parking availability, the addition of new senior units and a new community center, and improvements in the property’s structural façade and accessibility. The renovation will represent a “visual improvement” for the property, note the developers, taking the property “from an institutional to a more residential look.” Providing architectural and engineering for the project are RIDA Architects, 3t Architects, Bergmann Associates and Friedman Fisher Associates.

The total construction cost of the first phase, which will be completed in about 18 months, is $13.4 million. Financing, as usual for affordable housing projects, is a complex mix, provided by the Rome Housing Authority, Community Preservation Corp. and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. M&T Bank provided the construction loan, and JP Morgan Capital Corp. and Hudson Housing Capital invested the low-income housing tax credit equity. The project also received a New York State Modernization Grant, Housing Trust Funds and Weatherization Funds.