Local, state, and federal officials had a chance to see the renovated and new homes at Walnut Hill Apartments in Penn Yan recently when a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the $10.7 million rehabilitation which preserved affordability for 59 existing apartments and included the new construction of an additional two-story building with eight apartments.

Renovations included new roofs, windows, and siding for all buildings. Individual apartments were upgraded with new kitchens, baths, baseboard heating, fresh paint, new carpets, and other finishes. New energy efficiency upgrades included the installation of EnergyStar appliances, improved insulation, and weatherization.

As part of the redevelopment, a new two-story building with eight apartments was constructed and the rental office building was expanded to include a large community room with kitchen, handicapped accessible bathrooms, patio, and a playground.

Walnut Hill Apartments was originally constructed in 1972 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as rural affordable housing. The development complex consists of nine one-story buildings with 59 apartments. All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The development is in a residential setting located near a pharmacy, grocery store, Post Office, bank, and library.

Financing for the renovations included $8.5 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). USDA Rural Development provided Section 538 mortgage insurance for a $950,000 loan from ORIX/Lancaster Pollard Mortgage Company and will provide 40 project-based Section 521 rental subsidies. HCR will provide an additional eight project-based Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. The developer is ODS Management.

Penn Yan Mayor Leigh MacKerchar said, “Thank you to HCR and partners for helping us create and improve much needed affordable housing in Penn Yan. I look forward to doing more together in the future.”

Senator Tom O’Mara said, “We are grateful for this investment to renovate and expand Walnut Hill Apartments, which will secure safe, affordable housing for families and residents in Penn Yan.  This project to upgrade existing apartments and add additional living spaces will make an enormous difference in many individual lives and strengthen the overall fabric of the community.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said, “Thank you to New York State Homes and Community Renewal for your strong support and commitment to rehabilitating the Walnut Hill Apartments in the Village of Penn Yan. Our rural communities face a tremendous hurdle in providing affordable housing opportunities for their residents.  The completion of this project benefits the Village of Penn Yan and all who live in the community.”

Yates County Chairman of the Board of Legislators Douglas Paddock said, “As Yates County continues to seek and preserve affordable housing for our residents, we want to thank New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the USDA Rural Development for their commitment to upgrade the current apartments and increase the number of apartments at Walnut Hill.  This latest project is one more source of pride that the residents of Yates County can have in their homes and community.”

Mark Ogiony, President, ODS Management, Inc., said, “The successful completion of the Walnut Hill renovations is the direct result of the commitment by New York State Homes and Community Renewal and USDA-Rural Development to preserve affordable housing properties. Walnut Hill is a testament to that commitment by providing residents of the community a beautiful and peaceful home to reside in for many years to come. Thank you, NYSHCR, Rural Development and the dedicated team that was involved in making the Walnut Hill renovations a huge success.”

Richard Mayfield, NY State Director, USDA Rural Development, “Successful projects like these do not just happen on their own – these projects take partners.  Partners who can collaborate and share a vision. We at USDA Rural Development want to thank those at Walnut Hill, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and the Lancaster Pollard Mortgage Company for being those partners who could share this vision for this community.”

David Bonomo, ORIX Capital, “It is truly fitting that the country’s first ever combined new construction and rehab project financed by the USDA/RD program be completed by such a distinguished development team. This will set the standard for Yates County and the State of New York for years to come. On behalf of ORIX Real Estate Capital, we are honored to have been a part of such a transformative project.”

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. 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.