News Release - City Council Approves Legislation to Advance Three ‘Keystone’ Housing Developments

City of Rochester

News Release 

(Tuesday, April 14, 2020) -- Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the Rochester City Council has approved legislation to advance three affordable and workforce housing developments that will accelerate the revitalization of city neighborhoods and boost the growth of Downtown.

“This legislation represents significant progress on three keystone projects that will help residents from all walks of life, in every part of the city, share in the promise of Rochester and witness their beliefs made real,” said Mayor Warren. “I want to thank our partners in the development community for demonstrating their faith in Rochester through these incredible investments. Safe, quality and affordable housing is a fundamental human right and a platform on which we can accomplish our goals of creating more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

Together, the three projects would produce and /or rehabilitate 329 high-quality rental units targeting a broad range of income levels in Downtown, Northeast Rochester and the east side of the city. They also represent a significant step toward “Reinforcing Strong Neighborhoods,” a key objective outlined in “Rochester 2034,” the City’s 15-year comprehensive plan adopted in 2019.

The three items of legislation were submitted by Mayor Warren and approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The three transmittals will advance the following projects:

Pueblo Nuevo Phase 1

The Ibero-American Development Corp. (IADC) plans to create 75 mixed-income apartments with in-fill development on 15 parcels near the intersection of North Clinton and Clifford Avenues, close to the La Marketa at the International Plaza and the El Camino Neighborhood, the adaptive reuse of 938 Clifford Avenue, the former home of the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School, and the rehabilitation of an existing two-family structure. Phase 1 would also include an outdoor greenspace with raised-bed gardens, a pavilion, a playground and a walkway to La Marketa.

The apartments would encompass a wide range of housing styles including a duplex, triplexes and apartment buildings. Rent prices will be structured to attract a diversity of income levels: from residents earning at, or below 50 percent of the Rochester Area’s Median Income (AMI) to those earning at, or below 90 percent of the AMI.

The eventual completion of Pueblo Nuevo Phase 2 would bring the total number of units to 104 and include the El Camino Community Center.

“Pueblo Nuevo’s project scope, size and locations represent a strategic ‘purpose built’ approach to transform this neighborhood by providing needed affordable housing close to public transportation, existing amenities, support services and job opportunities,” Mayor Warren wrote in her transmittal to City Council.

The design for Pueblo Nuevo arose from the El Camino Revitalization Area Vision Plan, which was developed through extensive community input facilitated by IADC in coordination with the City and the Community Design Center of Rochester.

The legislation includes the sale of 15 under-utilized, City-owned parcels to IADC for $22,100; provide IADC with a City construction and permanent loan of $368,000; and establishes a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement that will assist the project in sustaining affordable rents.

Liberty Lofts at Sibley Square

A mixed-income housing development, Liberty Lofts at Sibley Square marks the third phase of housing development in the former Sibley’s department store in Downtown Rochester. Building owner Winn Development Co. is nearing construction completion of 104 apartments on floors two through five of Sibley Tower, targeting residents who earn from at or below 60 percent of the AMI to those who earn up to 110 percent of AMI.

The workforce housing units underscore an emerging trend in Rochester’s housing market. A growing number of young professionals, including those working in the Downtown Innovation Zone, are seeking rental housing in the urban core. But their incomes are too high to qualify for affordable housing and too low to afford the luxury units that dominate much of Downtown’s market-rate housing. In partnership with the City, developers like Winn and Christa Construction are responding to this growing demand with workforce housing at Sibley Square and Parcel 2 of the Inner Loop East transformation area.

Liberty Lofts will complement two other housing developments in the Sibley building: Landmark at Sibley Square, 72 units of affordable senior housing; and Spectra at Sibley Square, 104 mixed income (affordable and market rate) units.

North Clinton, East Main, Culver Road Rental Housing Project

Home Leasing plans to conduct renovations at three locations of a total of 150 rental units ranging from studios to two bedroom units. Of these, 56 will be set aside for supportive housing, which means tenants would be matched with appropriate service agencies, including Trillium Health, Person Centered Housing Options and Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach, to help residents overcome the underlying conditions that may contribute to their reliance on affordable housing.

The project will ensure the continued affordability of these units, targeting tenants with incomes ranging from 30 to 60 percent of AMI. Rents would range from $447 to $693.

By providing housing for residents at 30 percent AMI, Home Leasing is among the first of Rochester’s development partners to fulfill the objective of a 2018 amendment to the City Charter sponsored by Mayor Warren to provide housing for residents identified with “extremely low income.” The goal of the Charter amendment is to help residents who are paying a disproportionate share of their income on housing, which inhibits their ability to establish savings accounts, build wealth and break from the cycle of poverty.

The legislation authorizes a PILOT agreement on the properties.


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