TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. — In an area with a dearth of affordable housing units, INHS is working to add one more option, and received a big assist from New York State with the announcement of a funding grant Wednesday afternoon.

The Village Grove/Crescent Way development, planned for the village of Trumansburg, received a $6 million award from the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal (NYS HCR). It was one of 16 projects funded statewide in this latest round, and the only one to be funded within the Southern Tier region. NYS supportive housing grants are only awarded a few times each year, and typically fewer than one in three applicants are funded in an application round.

For the sake of clarity, the apartment building is the Village Grove Apartments, while the larger mixed-income development is referred to as the Crescent Way subdivision. The $25 million project will be located on about 19 undeveloped acres at 46 South Street on the south side of the village.

At full build-out, the project will host 17 market rate for-sale housing units, 10 affordable for-sale townhomes, 6 affordable rental townhomes, and 40 rental apartments in a two-story building with elevator. Subdivision plans also include a new childcare facility for the Trumansburg Community Nursery School.

According to the press release, seven homes are to be set aside for homeless adults and veterans who will have access to rental subsidies and services provided by the Salvation Army and funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) and the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program.

The all-electric development has also been awarded $932,280 from NYSERDA’s Buildings of Excellence competition to support the inclusion of sustainable development practices in the mixed-income project. In 2019, the project was awarded a $300,000 grant from New York State to help cover pre-development costs.

“We are thrilled to have received funding to support Village Grove in Trumansburg — our greenest project to date and first to achieve ‘Passive House’ certification,” said INHS Executive Director Johanna Anderson. 

“These projects would not be possible without the support of Governor Hochul and her commitment to providing sustainable, supportive, high-quality affordable housing,” Anderson added. “We applaud this commitment and are grateful that we are able to have a hand in providing these critical housing services to our community.” 

Originally proposed as Hamilton Square in spring 2017, the project is a co-development between INHS and local architect and businesswoman Claudia Brenner. The development garnered significant controversy during the review process from local residents opposed to the scale of the project and to the presence of lower-income housing. After multiple revisions and back-and-forth with the village planning board and elected officials, a scaled-down project received preliminary approval in the fall of 2019, and final approval in the spring of 2020.

An example townhouse string at the Crescent Way property.

Unlike market-rate housing where construction costs are typically covered by the developer and a commercial lender, the low return on investment for lenders leads affordable and supportive housing to seek alternative funding to cover the financial gap so that construction can begin. Affordable housing financing is like a puzzle, to be put together from a variety of public and private funding sources, from bank loans to tax-exempt bonds to tax credits, and all these different sources have to fit together in a certain way for maximum financial leverage.

The project is due to start construction next spring, according to INHS Strategic Communications Manager Justina Fetterly. Full buildout of the project will take part over a few years in phases.

Alongside Brenner and INHS on the project team are HOLT ArchitectsTrowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects, and engineering firms Taitem Engineering and T. G. Miller P.C. Purcell Construction Corporation has been retained as general contractor for the apartment construction.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.