Amsterdam’s Woodrow Wilson Townhouse complex is scheduled to be completely renovated by the summer of 2015 thanks to more than $8 million in state funding announced Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The $8.25 million award is part of more than $95 million granted to shovel-ready efforts to build affordable housing across the state.
The 100-unit, 1970s-era Woodrow Wilson complex is well past its useful life, said Duncan Barrett, chief operating officer at Albany-based Omni Housing Development LLC, the facility’s owner.
The units all lack adequate insulation and have expensive-to-operate electric baseboard heat and electric hot-water heaters. Many of the townhouses contain asbestos.
“Virtually every surface and every piece of equipment and every light fixture and every appliance on the site needs to be replaced,” Barrett said.
The per-unit cost for the renovation is high due to the scope of the work, said Barrett, noting that the asbestos abatement alone will cost more than $1 million.
Knocking down the structures and starting from scratch would be even more costly and would result in added expense for the tenants, the majority of whom hold Section 8 vouchers, he said.
“[The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] granted the project the continuation of the Section 8 vouchers and the state granted the project some of the subsidies in order to preserve this project, so if we demolished it and replaced it either on that site or someplace else, rents would go up very significantly,” he explained.
Rental fees will not go up as a result of the rehabilitation project, and energy expenses should go down, he noted.
The project is slated to start at the end of May and finish before June of 2015.
Also receiving state affordable housing development funds is a new project in the town of Ballston.
NRP Group LLC has been awarded $3.33 million to build 52 units of workforce housing within four miles of the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
Patrick Ziegler, Ballston’s town supervisor, said he was unaware of the project or the potential funding for it until he received a press release from the governor’s office Wednesday morning. He had yet to learn further details as of Wednesday afternoon, when he spoke with The Gazette.
“I would certainly welcome the job creation as well as the potential impact to the local economy,” he said. “Hopefully this is the start of something good for us here.”
Ziegler said the town has yet to seen any significant increase in population spurred by the businesses in Luther Forest Technology Campus.
The project manager from NRP Group LLC could not be reached for comment.