Schenectady, N.Y. – The Eastern Avenue neighborhood in Schenectady received a major boost today as New York State Homes and Community Renewal approved housing tax credits needed to complete financing for the $19 million Renaissance Square project.
“Today’s approval of critical housing tax credits enables this transformational project on Eastern Avenue to move forward and continue the revitalization of this corridor,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy. “We thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas for providing this pivotal financing tool in support of a major neighborhood revitalization initiative in Schenectady.”
Anthony Jasenski, Chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature said, “Our County economic development team at Metroplex worked closely with the City, the developer Home Leasing, the Capital Region Land Bank and Better Neighborhoods Inc. (BNI) to put together this winning application. This $19 million development, including the historic renovation of the former St. Mary’s school, is the result of a focused, coordinated effort to boost neighborhoods in Schenectady County.”
“Home Leasing is very excited to be part of the great community revitalization work happening in Schenectady,” said Bret Garwood, CEO of Home Leasing. “We look forward to the transformation of an historic school along with a new building that will bring housing and vibrancy to the neighborhood.”
Richard Ruzzo, Chair of the Capital Region Land Bank and the Schenectady County Legislature’s Neighborhood Revitalization & Housing Committee said, “Today we celebrate months of work preparing this project to move forward. The Land Bank’s mission is neighborhood revitalization. Restoring a long vacant school, saving an historic building, replacing vacant structures with new life, Renaissance Square will send a message that Eastern Avenue is coming back strong.”
The former St. Mary’s School on Irving Street will be renovated to house 25 apartments. Three vacant buildings across Eastern Avenue will be demolished to be replaced by 30 apartments with ground floor retail space. All local approvals for the project are in place. The plan is to start construction late in 2019.
“Renaissance Square means 55 new high-quality affordable apartments in Schenectady.
Our economic development team is proud of the fact that over 500 new affordable housing units have been created in recent years with more than 200 more units now in the construction pipeline,” said Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chair.
The Eastern Avenue Neighborhood has been the target of extensive revitalization efforts including the new Tribute Park and splash pad, demolition of over twenty-five run-down buildings, and the renovation or construction of over ten homes and commercial structures. The project is named Renaissance Square to continue the momentum built by the preservation work of Sandra Vardine who saved the former St, Mary’s Church as Renaissance Hall and is currently renovating a former convent building on Eastern Avenue.
About Home Leasing, LLC
Rochester-based Home Leasing specializes in the development, construction and management of high-quality apartment communities. The company is owned and operated by 3 generations of the Leenhouts family and employs over 150 people who provide support to or are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of affordable, mixed-income and market rate residential communities across New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Home Leasing became a Certified Benefit Corporation (“B Corp”) by the non-profit B Lab in 2017. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. In 2019, Home Leasing was recognized as a Top Workplace in Rochester, NY.