Albany Times Union
$13M aimed at Schenectady housing
Affordability project planned for Hamilton Hill neighborhood
SCHENECTADY — A $13million building project could soon add more than three dozen much-needed affordable housing units to the city’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood.
The project, a partnership with Capital Region Land Bank, MLB Construction Services LLC, and AIK Property Group, a minority-owned housing developer, will convert 18 city-owned vacant lots and properties and one the county owns into 41 new homes on Summit Avenue.
On Tuesday, Mayor Gary Mccarthy said the full City Council is set to vote Monday to “approve an option” for the land bank to acquire the city properties, which is needed for the project to move forward. The proposal was voted out of one of the governing body’s committees last week.
Once the council gives the green light, eight vacant structures will be demolished, paving the way for the work to begin. Mccarthy said the Land Bank is doing most of the financing but that he doesn’t believe they have any firm numbers yet.
“We are very excited to announce this new partnership that will create the opportunity for our residents to realize the American dream of home ownership,” added the mayor.
The city’s Development Department and the Capital Region Land Bank will work with MLB and AIK to build the new duplexes with modern kitchens, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and green space.
“We believe this will create a pathway for families to achieve the American Dream, empower a change in family legacy, and strengthen the economic future of both the residents and the community in which they live,” said Pamela Swanigan, co-owner and director of business development. The project is personal for Jim Dawsey, president of MLB Construction, who grew up in the Electric City.
“My father grew up on Summit Avenue with his seven brothers and sisters,” he added. “I’m so happy and grateful to be able to be a part of the revitalization of this neighborhood.”
The new homes will be affordable for first-time homebuyers and potential homeowners.
The Land Bank is managed by Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, the county’s redevelopment agency.
This project is the latest in a long line of improvements in Hamilton Hill and specifically along Albany Street, including renovation of the former Horace Mann and St. Columba schools as new apartments, the renovation of Summit Towers, new construction at the intersection of Craig Street and the cleanup of the former Camanzo’s cleaners location.
Additionally, work is wrapping up at the new Chas Burch Kitchen showroom and the county has optioned the Mohawk auto site for new development.
In this type of real estate agreement, a seller offers an option to the buyer to purchase property at a fixed price within a limited time frame.
A new county library branch was also built on State Street.