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Local News

November 9, 2013

$15m local housing plan in works

(Continued)

On Tuesday night, Ben Lockwood, director of development at Housing Visions, reviewed the project and time line before a regularly scheduled Common Council meeting at City Hall. The organization’s corporate offices are in Syracuse.

The Oneonta project will be funded primarily from private equity raised by an investor from the awarding of low-income housing tax credits through the state Homes & Community Renewal office, the summary said.

Housing Visions anticipates receiving an equity commitment from Key Community Development Corp. for the housing tax credits, the summary said. The corporation provides financing for a range of tax-credit and community and economic development projects, according to the KeyBank website.

This year, the city of Oneonta received a state award of $400,000 through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council for the Housing Visions project. That amount, plus $300,000 expected to be returned to the city next year in connection with the Bresee’s Redevelopment Project, will be granted to Housing Visions to buy properties, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said Tuesday.

Miller also thanked the city’s Housing Task Force at the meeting.

According to a timetable presented by Lockwood, property acquisitions would be in the spring with zoning and planning reviews by the city as needed in the summer. Financing requests to the Homes & Community Renewal would be submitted in the fall, with awards announced in spring 2015.

Construction would start in autumn 2015, with project completion targeted for fall and winter 2016, with leasing in summer and winter 2016, the plan said.

Lockwood said Housing Visions considered Oneonta about five years ago for possible projects but “nothing came out of it.” However, this spring, Gary Herzig, a Housing Task Force member, contacted the organization to say the panel wanted to “do something.”

In March, the task force, in a “Comprehensive Housing Plan” document, said issues to be addressed included housing stock not being maintained, lack of affordable rentals, community and government obstacles to housing initiatives and a lack of funding to support housing projects.

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