CONTACT: Steven T. Longo
Albany Housing Authority
FOR RELEASE: April 30, 2010
City and State Housing Officials Plan Groundbreaking Ceremony
For the Substantial Rehabilitation of 176 Units at Ezra Prentice Homes.
Today, City and State and Federal officials attended the groundbreaking of the substantial rehabilitation of Ezra Prentice Homes in the South End neighborhood in Albany, NY. Steve T. Longo, Executive Director of the Albany Housing Authority, which is the developer for this project, led the officials through a tour of the first three buildings to be completed this spring. All 176 units are expected to be completed by early spring 2011.
Officials participating in the ceremony included U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, Mayor Gerald Jennings; Brian Lawlor, Chairman of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation; Albany Housing Authority Executive Director Steven T. Longo, and Vice President Ian Arias from PNC.
Mr. Longo said “I would like to thank everyone for helping us celebrate the commencement of this huge undertaking. Without the leadership of Mayor Jennings and partners such as HUD, Fannie Mae, the State of New York, and the private sector lending community represented by PNC, this project would not have been possible. We put together a dedicated team for this project. I would like to thank Gibraltar Construction Inc. our Construction Manager on this job; CK Dennis Architect, our architecture and design firm for Ezra; and Reno & Cavanaugh and Cannon Heyman & Weiss- our attorneys for this endeavor. Ezra Prentice is evidence that a good team can and will make things happen in our neighborhoods”.
The first phase of Ezra Prentice was built in 1966, followed by Phase II, which was completed in 1972. While improvements have been made over the years, this major infusion of federal, state and private funds permitted the Housing Authority to finally make the significant improvements that will preserve affordable housing for the next generation of South End residents.
The $26 million rehabilitation at Ezra involves both interior and exterior improvements, including many energy saving components. Funding for these improvements was made possible through Fannie Mae tax exempt loans, federal stimulus funds, a bridge loan and equity investment of tax credit proceeds from PNC, and 4% tax credits and a TCAP capital funds award from the Housing Trust Fund Corporation. Mixed finance endeavors such as Ezra Prentice make it possible for public housing units to undergo significant improvements, which is not possible using public funds alone.
While most of the units will be re-leased to former Ezra residents, other interested families can apply for units at the Albany Housing Authority offices. Renovated units will be occupied as completed vacant units come on line. These 176 units offer families the opportunity to enjoy quality housing with financial options that serve more of their individual needs with monthly payments ranging from $423 to $571, according to family income. All of the units must be rented to families whose income does not exceed 60% of the area median income for the Albany MSA. The Ezra Prentice development is comprised of 24 one-bedroom, 89 two-bedroom, 58 three-bedroom and 5 four-bedroom apartments.
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims said, “HUD is proud to join with the State of New York, the City of Albany and the Albany Housing Authority to preserve affordable housing for hundreds of families well into the future. The ARRA grant will help extend the life of desirable affordable housing in the city, and it will also create a significant number of jobs in the community. This is consistent with HUD’s mission, which is to invest in people as well as buildings.”
Mayor Gerald Jennings said, “It is developments such as Ezra Prentice that make it possible for the residents of Albany to have options for safe, affordable and quality housing. Neighborhoods such as the South End are the fabric of our great City, and the revitalization efforts that are taking place in this community are evidence that our neighborhoods can be rebuilt and brought to life once again. ”
Brian Lawlor, Commissioner of DHCR and CEO/President of nyhomes said that Tax Credit Assistance Program grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are an important element of the financing package, helping to jumpstart work at Ezra Prentice that had been stalled by the economic downturn. “Congratulations to the Albany Housing Authority, Mayor Jennings and the City of Albany, and to all the partners that came together to make this rehabilitation possible. The substantial improvements at Ezra Prentice will make the 176 housing units safer and more energy efficient, add to the quality of life in Albany’s South End, and help keep this development affordable for years to come.”
Ian Arias, Vice President of PNC Bank, said, “As a lender and equity investor in this project, we are continuing to provide greatly needed capital for such worthy community projects. While other lenders have decreased their community involvement during these difficult financial times, PNC has stepped forward and remained a constant in countless affordable housing projects such as Ezra. On behalf of PNC, I would like to congratulate the Albany Housing Authority on this most recent endeavor”.