SCHENECTADY — As work to rebuild the aging Yates Village affordable housing complex continues, officials behind the scenes are hoping the next phase of the project won’t face any of the same pandemic-related obstacles that delayed the project in its early stages.
Crews began demolishing the six remaining apartment buildings that make up the 1950s-era housing complex last week, just months after completing the first $27 million phase of the project.
“We started demo about a week or so ago, so we’re just getting into it,” said Richard Homenick, executive director of the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority.
The next phase of construction, which is expected to cost $87 million and be completed sometime in 2023, involves demolishing the six remaining buildings along Van Vranken Avenue and building 37 smaller buildings in their place that will house 211 apartments, Homenick said.
The housing authority, which maintains 1,000 affordable housing units across seven properties throughout the city, is still in the process of relocating residents and expects the project will be completed in three stages, with crews demolishing two buildings at a time, he said.
There are still 100 families that need to be relocated. Residents will receive Section 8 housing vouchers that can be used anywhere, including outside of Schenectady, Homenick said.
“I anticipated probably by mid-2022 we’ll have all the families out,” he said.
Homenick said he believes construction will go smoothly but is keeping a close eye on the pandemic, which put the first phase of the project behind schedule last year as crews worked to figure out how to navigate the state-imposed safety protocols.
In addition, certain materials, including kitchen appliances, were harder to come by due to disrupted supply chains.
To avoid any issues, Homenick said contractors have been stockpiling materials and ordering supplies in advance.
“Our general contractor has been working with our whole team to get submittals approved and get products ordered so that we don’t see the delays that are being commonly experienced right now,” he said.
The project is being funded through a private partnership with Pennrose and Duvernay + Brooks, two real estate development firms that will assume ownership of the housing project in the decades ahead. A number of public grants have also been awarded for the project.
But the units will remain affordable — not to exceed 30% of a person’s adjusted gross income — through a contractual clause. The housing authority plans to assume ownership of the property once the agreement expires, Homenick said.
He added that the housing authority is also looking at updating several other of its properties in the coming years, including Steinmetz Homes and Lincoln Heights.
“They’re all pretty old. We do very well with maintaining all of them but there is an end of useful life with everything,” Homenick said. “When they become financially obsolete, that’s the concern. We’re trying to stay just ahead of that and keep turning them over so affordable housing will remain in the city.”
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.