April 19, 2008


Housing Visions project nearing completion


Photos by Bob Ellis/staff photographer      
Dave Wilson, left, and Mark Barone work on a house at the corner of south Main and Argyle streets Friday morning. Syracuse-based Housing Visions hopes to have the homes completely renovated by the end of summer.

Staff Reporter

Work is nearing completion on the first of the 30 apartments in the south Main Street area that a Syracuse company is renovating for low-income families.
Housing Visions expects to complete its project by the end of summer.
Susan March, manager of construction services for Housing Visions Unlimited, said two of the eight buildings that are being renovated or constructed are nearly ready for occupancy.
Housing Visions, a nonprofit company, is developing the $8.2 million housing project, dubbed Cortland Crown Homes.
The company, which is using tax credits to help fund the renovations, is working with the Cortland Housing Assistance Council to rent out the apartments.
The 30 apartment units will be available to those families who fall below 50 and 60 percent of the state’s median income level.
Amanda Heath, an administration assistant at CHAC, said the minimum and maximum income restrictions to qualify to rent the apartment units depend on the size of the family.
For example, a family of three would have to have a maximum income level of $23,700 for 50 percent and a maximum income level of $28,440 for 60 percent.
Emma Dippolito, operations manager at CHAC, said some of the apartments would require a 50 percent maximum income level while others would require 60 percent.
Of the 30 units, two will have one bedroom, eight will have two bedrooms, 18 will have three bedrooms and two will be four-bedroom apartments. Of the 18 three-bedroom apartments, three will be accessible to people with physical disabilities and an additional two units will be for the visual and hearing impaired.
Dippolito said CHAC has been receiving applications for a couple of months now and expects to have one building ready for rent in May. The remainder of the buildings will be available for rent once they are completed. Dippolito said most likely one building each month.
“They’re hoping to have them all occupied by Nov. 1,” she said.
Three of the eight buildings have been demolished by the company and replaced with new structures. Those properties are at 148 Main St., 1 Frederick Ave. and 5 Union St. The three new buildings will have 14 apartment units.
Housing Visions is in the process of renovating another five buildings that did not need to be replaced at 152, 156, and 164 Main St., and 2 Argyle Place. The building at 156 Main St. used to be two connected buildings, but after the rehab will become two separate buildings, which are called 156 Main St. front and 156 Main St. rear.
“It’s a rolling set up,” March said. “The buildings are done one at a time.”
March added that most of the buildings have been sided but more siding will be done next week.
Nine buildings were actually purchased by Housing Visions in 2006, however, the site on the corner of Main Street and Frederick Avenue will be used as parking and green space.
Approximately 70 percent of the money for the project comes from private investor equity raised from low-income tax credits, with another 25 percent from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corp. and the state’s HOME program, which is intended to expand the supply of decent, safe and affordable housing in the state.
Another 5 percent of the funding comes from the city of Cortland’s Community Development Block Grant funds.
The Cortland County Industrial Development Agency accepted a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement in February 2006, which will allow Housing Visions to pay a fixed rate of $12,000 annually, or 10 percent of annual rental income, whichever is higher, on the properties.