Upstate New York Affordable Housing Redevelopment Under Way

The Corr Community Center, which is an important part of the redevelopment of Liberty Gardens, a 180-unit affordable housing community, has been opened.

Rome, N.Y.—The Corr Community Center, which is an important part of the redevelopment of Liberty Gardens, a 180-unit affordable housing community, has been opened. The 6,000-square-foot center features 1,600 square feet of open community space, a computer center, laundry facilities, a kitchen and other facilities. It will be staffed by a public housing social worker.

Liberty Gardens was originally built in 1952 by the state of New York as public housing for Rome, which is in Oneida County. The property was previously comprised eight brick buildings in a garden apartment configuration. The three-phased project by Omni Housing Development LLC is the first substantial renovation of the property in its 61-year history, and involves major renovation of the existing buildings and the addition of new structures.

The first phase of the overall redevelopment project at Liberty Gardens included the rehab of three masonry two-story buildings and the construction of six new buildings, all on a seven-acre site, consisting of a total of 78 units. Within this total, 11 units are handicap accessible units and five hearing and/or vision impairment units. Phase one was completed in late 2012.

Phase 2 began in September 2012 and involves the rehab of three existing buildings on a four-acre site that include 50 more of the 180 total units. Funding for Phase 3 is currently being sought; it will encompass the rehabilitation of the final two buildings, for a total of 52 more units.

The Liberty Gardens Affordable Housing Redevelopment project is aiming for Energy Star Homes Certification as well as LEED Silver. Architect Dominic Rigosu, HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rater Kevin Stack and consultants from New Ecology Inc. have so far replaced doors and windows, installed new Energy Star-rated appliances and improved ventilation to enhance air quality, among other sustainable features.

The Rome Housing Authority, M&T Bank, Community Preservation Corp. (CPC) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal are providing financing for the revitalization project. CPC provided permanent financing through a $3 million New York State Common Retirement Fund loan. The project also received a NYS Public Housing Modernization Grant, Housing Trust Funds, and Weatherization Funds. Hudson Housing Capital LLC and JP Morgan Capital Corp. invested in the low-income housing tax credit equity.