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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of renovations at St. Bernard’s Park Apartments, an affordable housing development for adults aged 55 and older in Rochester. The $27 million rehabilitation preserves affordability, increases energy efficiency, and enhances quality of life for 160 households.
“Safe and reliable housing should be within reach for all New Yorkers, regardless of age or income,” Governor Hochul said. “For seniors living on fixed incomes, however, it has become increasingly difficult to afford a quality home. With our investment in St. Bernard’s Park Apartments, we are protecting a critical resource for Rochester’s seniors and enhancing quality of life for both current and future residents.”
The 14-acre St. Bernard’s Park was originally constructed as a seminary in 1891. In the early 1990’s, New York State Homes and Community Renewal restored the campus’ six historic buildings and converted them into 147 affordable apartments. The new renovation improved the existing apartments and transformed underutilized space into an additional 13 residences.
The scope of rehabilitation focused on increasing energy efficiency with solar panels, roof replacement, high efficiency plumbing and electric fixtures, HVAC optimization and LED lighting in apartments and common areas. Other upgrades included painting, new flooring, kitchen sinks and appliances, and new bathroom fixtures. Common areas were upgraded with new flooring, lighting, and painting.
The complex’s security, fire alarm and intercom systems were upgraded, and new emergency lights were installed. Exterior upgrades included masonry repointing and resurfacing of the parking lots.
All 160 apartments are affordable for households aged 55 or older with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. There are 14 studios, 120 one-bedroom apartments and 26 two-bedroom apartments.
St. Bernard’s Park Apartments is in the Maplewood/Charlotte neighborhood along the banks of the Genesee River, and is located near stores, restaurants, supermarkets, state and federal government offices, places of worship, parks and several hospitals. Multiple bus routes run along Lake Avenue, as well as two stops directly on the property, connecting the development to the surrounding area including downtown Rochester.
The developer is CB Emmanuel Realty. Edgemere Development served as a consultant.
State financing for St. Bernard’s Park Apartments includes $2M permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $5.8 million in equity and $9.2 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation awarded Federal and State Historic Tax Credits that generated $6 million in equity and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $56,000. The city of Rochester provided $600,000.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This $27 million investment in the historic St. Bernard’s Park Apartments preserves affordability for 160 households and ensures that the development will continue to serve the Rochester community for decades to come. The renovated apartments now include modern and energy-efficient features that contribute to a healthier environment for residents while significantly lowering energy costs. The ongoing COVID pandemic has demonstrated how essential secure homes are for protecting New Yorkers and we are grateful to CB Emmanuel for their outstanding efforts in preserving this unique and beautiful property.”
St. Bernard’s Park Apartments is part of the state’s unprecedented $20 billion, five-year housing plan. Homes and Community Renewal is in the final year of the plan, which makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. Since 2011, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested $688 million in the Finger Lakes region to create or preserve nearly 8,000 affordable homes.
Commissioner of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, “The former St. Bernard’s Park, once a seminary and later a property of Kodak, was recognized on the State and National Register of Historic Places in the 1996 following a transformation into senior housing to serve the greater Rochester community. Now 25 year later, the site has been able to access historic tax credits for further upgrades and preservation of the site, demonstrating the importance of the program’s use in updating existing adaptive reuse projects across the state.”
Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “The City of Rochester is proud to support the renovation of St. Bernard’s Park Apartments, which provides much needed affordable housing for our seniors and preserves one of the city’s most beautiful historic landmarks. Thanks to our partnerships with the New York State government and the private sector, we are rebuilding our city and bringing jobs and opportunity to our residents. I want to thank CB Emmanuel Realty, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the many New York State agencies that supported this project for making this investment in our city and for helping us advance our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”
Managing Director/Co-Owner, CB-Emmanuel Realty, LLC. Benathan Upshaw said, “The size and scope of St. Bernard’s Park Apartments will have significant positive impacts across the community, especially for seniors. This unique and expansive project will continue to provide residents with high quality and affordable living space that seniors deserve and connect them to services via Lifespan, our social service partner.”
Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “Affordable housing for vulnerable populations, like our seniors, is essential for us to create and maintain safe, inclusive, and caring spaces in our community. This collaborative investment by state and federal partners will help equip St. Bernard to become a more equitable and more environmentally sustainable housing resource which will ensure that residents in Charlotte and Maplewood will have access to affordable units for years to come. I applaud the state and local partnerships that made this restorative work possible.”
Assembly Member Sarah Clark said, “Today is an exciting day for the Maplewood and Charlotte neighborhoods as we welcome this incredibly timely project at St. Bernard’s Park. Now more than ever, affordable, quality senior housing is needed in our greater Rochester community. This renovation helps more of our beloved neighbors and family members age in place, and is a sizable investment in critical sustainability efforts which supports improved quality of life. We are blessed to have in our own backyard beautiful and historic architecture like we see here at St. Bernard’s Park. I am grateful this investment will help to preserve and keep it thriving for years to come.”
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.