Land Bank wants $ 100,000 CDBG loan through Schenectady to rehabilitate Prospect Street home

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It is expected that the City Council will assist in providing the Capital Region Land Bank with the funds to reinvent a dilapidated two-family home that has been vacant for at least four years.

In light of the city’s ongoing efforts to eradicate the rotting in the Eastern Avenue neighborhood, where 25 properties have been demolished, the council will vote on a $ 100,000 loan to the Capital Region Land Bank to redevelop 110 Prospect St .

The Council’s Finance Committee approved unanimously last week.

The work would mimic what’s happening at nearby 760 Eastern Ave. was done, a land bank lot whose outdated arrangement was overcome by volunteers from Schenectady County’s Habitat for Humanity. Work on 760 Eastern Ave. are at the end.

The Habitat for Humanity Reha, a pilot project with the Landbank, made available redistribution of the two-family apartment prevailing in Schenectady.

Both units used to have a living room, formal dining room, and hallway that led to four small bedrooms with small closets, with a kitchen at the rear of the units.

“We just don’t live like this anymore,” says David Hogenkamp, ​​project manager at the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority.

With a view to multi-generational living, the rehab created a two-story main apartment that moved the kitchen and living room to the louder street level. Three larger bedrooms and an office have been set up at the rear of the property.

On the second floor there is a separate bedroom with one bedroom that could be used for a mother-in-law or an income generating unit.

“You’re more in a situation where I might have a bigger family and maybe want a little more space, but I still want the rental income,” said Hogenkamp. “Or maybe I’m at the point in life where I need a bedroom with one bedroom and I’m using the rental income so that someone else can set up the larger unit.”

Madelyn Thorne, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, said it was the first time Schenectady Habitat had worked on a home with an income apartment.

“This is genius. It’s all his, ”Thorne said of Hogenkamp. “And the [the efficiency unit] will make that even cheaper. It’s a great idea for a Habitat homeowner to have that extra income. “

The agencies will “layer” a number of different funding sources, ensure that homeowners are aware of the various mortgage programs that are available to their potential buyer.

“That was a difficult project,” said Thorne. “It is much work. We did it in the middle of COVID and a minimal number of volunteers to hire. That’s why I’m really very proud that the volunteers stayed with us. “

Without the benefit of the volunteer program, the 110 Prospect St. Project has the Landbank works with the city and Graduates of his Section 3 training program, said Hogenkamp.

The municipal office for affirmative action offers classroom building courses to Section 3 residents of Schenectady. which is intended for low-income residents and residents of social housing. It is administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

City officials turned to the Landbank about a partnership, Hogenkamp said Affirmative Action Director Ron Gardner for “doing a great job creating new programs for people in the community to get employment opportunities.”

“Whether you, me or someone else, when you start one of these rehab facilities, you start with high goals and lots of enthusiasm,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy of the benefits of the project. “Are you halfway through and you say why the hell did I get in there?”

‘Good opportunity’

Hogenkamp said he assumes the land bank would invest an additional $ 100,000, including for Design costs and asbestos removal. Construction work is scheduled to begin this construction season. It could be ready by the end of the year.

The property will likely be for $. offered for sale$ 185,000 to $ 200,000 to a buyer who Committed to home ownership and meet the guidelines for affordable housing, said Hogenkamp.

“We could sell it for a small loss,” he said. “But what we’re going to do is make it a good long-term home ownership opportunity using various programs” for qualified buyers.

The Land Bank is regulated by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority. Schenectady’s land bank has existed since 2014. In 2012 the state put land banks into effect.

The Landbank has raised more than $ 9 million in grants for projects, most of which came from bank settlements following the late 2008 mortgage foreclosure crisis.

“It was a really good way for the state to realize that the foreclosure crisis isn’t all due to bad mortgages,” said Hogenkamp. “We had this abundance of vacant and abandoned properties that had deteriorated so badly that they were no longer of any value.”

The Prospect Street project is across from a new, LEED-certified house that the Landbank built with participants from the YouthBuild Schenectady Social Enterprise and Training Center. Two lots were razed to make way for this project.

More than 25 dilapidated properties were demolished in the Eastern Avenue neighborhood.

Hogenkamp said the property on Prospect Street has become “a healthy mix of opportunities for homeowners and tenants in the neighborhood.

“IIf we can continue to promote home ownership there, it will certainly only further stabilize the neighborhood, ”he said.

Hogenkamp said the land bank would continue its work in the neighborhoods. It invested more than $ 100 million in Hamilton Hill while it was still 44 Demolitions in Mont Pleasant between country bank and town.

“People’s property value is significantly affected when they are right next to vacant lot, and $ 70,000, they say initially, could depreciate the value of your home. YesThey remove the worst from the worst, ”he said.

The Eastern Avenue neighborhood got a big boost in 2019 when New York State Homes and Community Renewal approved residential property tax credits needed to complete the $ 19 million Renaissance Square project funding.

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