A new 37-unit affordable housing development is helping to breathe new life into Binghamton, N.Y.’s First Ward.
Developer First Ward Action Council rehabbed 11 buildings on the city’s Front Street and constructed a new mixed-use building with two commercial storefronts as well as 10 residential units on the site of the former historic Lincoln Hotel, which had been destroyed by fire.
Binghamton Gateway also includes six units designed to support residents with physical disabilities. The Southern Tier Independence Center will provide services for those residents.
"The project is a real home run: providing attractive housing, removing blight on a main route into town, and helping to create a better environment for business,” says Jerry Willard, executive director of First Ward Action Council. “It’s been a lot of work, but we have had a lot of help from Gov. Cuomo’s housing and economic teams, financial institutions, government officials, and the many consultants and contractors who helped us to put Binghamton Gateway together."
In an area hard hit by Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, the development also focuses on resiliency, with a stormwater management infrastructure, reinforced bracing for exterior walls, and the elevation of mechanical and electrical systems to protect them from flooding.
The $12.3 million development also benefited from disaster recovery funding. New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Unified Funding program provided nearly $7 million of federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds. The state also provided a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) allocation, weatherization funds, and a loan from the Housing Trust Fund Community Investment Fund. Enterprise Community Investment syndicated the LIHTCs, with M&T Bank as the investor. Additional financing included Binghamton RESTORE funds and an Empire State Development grant.
“Our ability to combine our financing mechanisms into a single source provides a powerful benefit for communities and developers that are seeking to jump-start worthy projects,” said James S. Rubin, New York State Homes and Community Renewal commissioner. “For Binghamton Gateway, a sustainable and storm-resistant apartment complex, we congratulate and thank our development and government partners for the crucial part they played in creating these new affordable homes.”