WinnCompanies Transforms Historic Property
- Sep 29, 2015
Boston—A joint venture announced the grand opening of a mixed-income community after the transformation of a historic Depression-era property in Albany, N.Y.
WinnCompanies, an award-winning national property development and management company, in partnership with Albany Housing Authority, opened Livingston School Apartments after a $20.7 million transformation of the building into 103 units of mixed-income housing for seniors.
The four-story, 230,000-square-foot landmark was constructed during the Depression to teach vocational skills to the unemployed and was used as a public school for the Albany community until it became vacant in 2009. WinnDevelopment’s renovation created 12 studio apartments, 76 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments. There are 11 units that are handicapped-accessible, while five are suited for the hearing or visually impaired.
“Historic adaptive reuse projects like the Livingston School hold a special place among all of the development work we do,” said Gilbert Winn, chief executive officer of WinnCompanies. “It means a great deal to us to give this proud and beautiful structure new life as community asset that delivers high-quality affordable housing and contributes to social fabric and economic vitality of the neighborhood and the City of Albany.”
WinnDevelopment launched its adaptive reuse effort in January 2014 with support from the City of Albany, the Albany Industrial Development Agency (IDA), the Albany Community Development Agency (ACDA), the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the U.S. National Park Service. KeyBank, Citizens Bank, Boston Financial, The Community Preservation Corporation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston provided private financing.
“Increasing the availability of and access to affordable housing is a central goal of Governor Cuomo’s administration,” said James S. Rubin, commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes & Community Renewal. “Homes and Community Renewal makes that happen by cultivating partnerships that create or preserve good quality homes people can afford. This results in stronger local economies, and more vibrant communities that are economically and socially diverse. Livingston School Apartments offers mixed-income housing in a beautiful historically significant building with amenities and features that make it easier for seniors to live independently and thrive in the place they call home.”
The project created 140 construction jobs, with 28 percent of workforce hours done by minorities and women; and 84 percent of all labor hours were performed by workers from the Capital District. Low-income residents from the Albany area made up nearly 7 percent of the workforce hours.
“This project demonstrates that Albany can attract high quality partners like WinnCompanies to invest in our community,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Through Governor Cuomo’s commitment to affordable housing and strong collaborations, we were able to re-purpose this beautiful, historic building, create affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities and breathe new life into a neighborhood that abuts the incredible Tivoli Preserve. We are grateful to the State, Federal and financial institutions that made this project possible.”
“This project is an example of best practices for underutilized large-scale historic properties, demonstrating how they can be redeveloped to better serve their communities,” said Sarah Reginelli, City of Albany Industrial Development Agency CEO and Capitalize Albany Corporation president. “The City of Albany IDA is proud to have supported this project and WinnDevelopment. The properties’ reuse created hundreds of construction jobs, preserved a significant Albany landmark and added to the growing number of quality affordable housing options in the City of Albany.”
“We are excited to be a part of the Livingston School Apartments and to witness the rebirth of this majestic building as affordable senior housing,” said Norm Nichols, executive vice president, KeyBank Real Estate Capital. “Affordable housing is very important at Key and this project exemplifies the type of investment that helps improve the quality of life and allows both our clients and the communities in which we do business to thrive.”
Fully occupied in just two months, the Livingston School Apartments caters to residents 55 or older earning between 50 and 90 percent of the area median income for Albany. Property amenities include a management office, resident lounge with a community kitchen and entertainment offerings, fitness facilities, a library and computer center, wellness center for visiting practitioners, soft seating areas and common laundries. All units include Energy Star appliances and fixtures.
The project architect was The Architectural Team and Keith Construction was the general contractor, using funding sources such as Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Federal and State Historic Tax Credits.
The Livingston School is the 28th adaptive reuse project completed by WinnCompanies. The company has transformed historic properties into more than 3,000 units of mixed-income housing valued at $500 million. The company is also working on a 10-year effort to renovate the iconic, 12-story Sibley Building in downtown Rochester for commercial and academic uses, as well as market-rate and affordable housing.