SCHENECTADY — Hillside Crossing, a new seven-building, 85-apartment affordable housing development, in Schenectady’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood is completed, according to New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.
The complex, which will include 26 units specifically for “people in need of support services to live independently,” is another in the state’s $20 billion Housing and Community Renewal plan finishing its final year. The goal over the past five years was build and preserve 100,000 units and 6,000 for supportive housing, in order to make housing accessible and combat homelessness, according to a press release from the Homes and Community Renewal commission.
“Investing in high-quality, supportive housing developments is how we recover from the COVID pandemic in a way that enhances lives and truly benefits the entire community,” Visnauskas said. “The $40 million Hillside Crossing complex transformed decayed and blighted properties in Hamilton Hill into 85 beautiful, sustainable and affordable new homes. The dedication demonstrated by The Community Builders, the city of Schenectady, and the state of New York brought this project home – and made it home for hundreds of people. That’s true progress.”
The complex will be a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartments with rents said to be affordable to those making 70% of the area median income or lower, the statement said. In the city of Schenectady, the area median income was $45,438 per household in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; 70% of that would be $31,806.60.
The main five-story, mid-rise with 54 units is on Albany Street between Paige and Germania streets. Three “low-rise buildings” with a total of 21 units are located at the corner of Albany and Craig Streets, and include washer and dryer hookups. The three “two-story townhouse buildings” with 10 apartments are at Stanley and Delamont streets, including washer and dryer hookups as well as resident parking.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said the work of beautifying Hamilton Hill has been on his mind longer than the last five years and he challenged developers to look beyond one or two streets.
“This was almost a decade-long project where it started from an interest on a more limited scope on Craig Street,” he said. “I challenged them to approach it with a wider vision. They have done the Electric City Barn, the other houses, the ribbon cutting today, which is part of the second phase.
“But, again, it’s, just providing a safe, decent and affordable housing in Hamilton Hill and eliminating blighted, rundown, dilapidated structures that were not contributing really any benefit to the community.”
The mayor also put a spotlight on local businesses and programs that jumped in to support the project financially. McCarthy said this was not a simple project to get done. It had its complexities and people and groups from the community came together to make it happen.
While the Housing and Community Renewal commission had $40 million for Hillside Crossing and other state and federal moneys have assisted, the statement released Thursday mentioned various city programs and The Schenectady Foundation playing a role as well.
“It’s extremely important,” the mayor said, of local support, “but it shows our ability to put together a coordinated effort that results in housing opportunities that wouldn’t exist otherwise.”
He also credited the CEO of Better Community Neighborhoods, Inc., Jennica Huff, a former senior project manager for The Community Builders, Inc., for the instrumental role she played in the project. McCarthy called it another example of this being a “community effort.”
The presence of Huff on the project was also a positive for Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association President Marva Isaacs. She thought Huff did a good job, and said she hopes the new complex is safe and better than the rest of the new or renovated buildings in the neighborhood.
Isaacs and McCarthy are both looking forward to the Hillside Crossing being sustainable housing. It will include LED lighting, “highly effective” insulation, energy saving windows, low-flow and water sense labeled plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, and low-Volatile Organic Compound emitting products including paints, coatings, adhesives, sealings and composite wood, according to Thursday’s statement.
“I’m very proud of this because they are the incremental benefits of sustainability that benefit not only the residents who are in these housing units, but the overall global climate change that we’re dealing with in some ways very aggressively, [and] sometimes in a very flawed manner,” McCarthy said.