The Community Preservation Corporation and Syracuse Family Announce Rehabilitation of Long-Vacant Building In Syracuse

Financing Provided Through CPC’s New ACCESS Initiative - Created to Empower BIPOC Real Estate Entrepreneurs and Invest in Communities of Color

The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a leading nonprofit multifamily housing finance company, and Wilford Stephens, Jr. and Sarah Stephens announced financing for 2520 South Salina Street in Syracuse, NY. CPC is providing in $780,000 construction and permanent financing to help the Stephens renovate the vacant building to create eight, four-bedroom rental apartments that are naturally affordable to residents of the community.

Financing for the project is being provided through CPC’s Acquiring Capital and Capacity for Economic Stability and Sustainability (ACCESS) initiative, which offers funding and technical support to black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) developers and real estate entrepreneurs, and targets high-quality housing projects in communities of color.

“We are so excited to have been able to partner with CPC to make this project happen. This building has sat neglected and vacant for decades, detracting from our community. The South side of Syracuse has seen little significant investment, and we are excited to bring quality housing and investment to our neighborhood. I grew up in the building, my grandmother and Aunt lived here, my mother worked multiple jobs as a single mom, so when she was working, I was here running the hallways with my cousin. It was a beautiful building and will be again,” said Wilford Stephens, Jr.

“Entrepreneurs like the Stephens family are the backbone of our communities, and we’re excited to be partners in helping make their vision for this property a reality,” said Lawrence Hammond, Senior Vice President, Director of ACCESS at CPC. “Their work to revitalize long-vacant properties helps provide new housing opportunities that are badly needed, and serves as a catalyst for positive momentum and change in the neighborhood. At CPC, the work we do through the ACCESS initiative isn’t just an investment in capital, it’s an investment in time and support, and in the success of our partners.”

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Wilford and Sarah Stephens to provide the financing for their rehabilitation of this prominent, long vacant building on the Southside of Syracuse.  I’m glad we were able to work together to provide the flexibility they needed through our Flex loan product along with additional leverage provided through our ACCESS initiative. We’re looking forward to seeing the Stephens’ bring this building back to life as a new resource of housing and as a point of pride for the community,” said David Breed, Neighborhood Mortgage Officer, CPC.

2520 South Salina Street was originally built as an apartment building in 1950 and has gone through several cycles of ownership. Mismanaged by its most recent former owner, its ownership was transferred to the City of Syracuse due to nonpayment of taxes, and then to the Syracuse Land Bank. Having sat vacant and deteriorating since July 2002, the building became a hazard to the community, attracting scrap metal thieves, squatters, and other criminal activity.

The Stephens plan to completely renovate 2520 South Salina Street, erasing the blight it had created, and returning it to the community as a resource of high-quality housing and an anchor for future revitalization efforts. Its rehabilitation will result in eight, four-bedroom apartments, each with two bathrooms. Half of the units will be naturally affordable with rents at approximately 57% of Area Median Income (AMI) and the other half at 77% AMI.

The building will also be outfitted with multiple sustainable features, including new LED lighting throughout the units and common areas, energy-efficient windows in the entire building and new energy-efficient natural gas heating systems. The renovations will maintain the original floor plans and will include rehabilitation to the interior floors, walls, fixtures, plumbing, electrical, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops.

To help realize their vision for 2520 South Salina Street, the Stephens’ needed assistance closing a financing gap to keep the project moving forward. Sarah became familiar with CPC through her professional work with real estate developers who have partnered with the company to finance their multifamily projects.

Wilford Stephens, Jr. has been a Syracuse City firefighter for over 13 years, and his wife Sarah is self-employed as a funding procurement and grant management specialist in helping property developers with additional financing sources throughout Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson and Finger Lakes regions. She has overseen, managed and procured over $500 million in grant funds over the last 20 years. The couple’s commitment to serving their community goes a step further with this renovation,  bringing more high-quality housing options to the community.

The couple has also purchased and rehabilitated three other from the Land Bank: 122 Moore Ave, 204 Jamesville Ave, and most recently 124 Benedict Ave. The Stephens’ renovated and remodeled each of these properties that now serve as owner-occupied homes, helping to improve and revitalize the Outer Comstock neighborhood.

In addition to providing financial support, CPC’s ACCESS initiative offers guidance and technical assistance by providing their borrowers with a professional development consultant, if needed, to help ensure their success as they navigate their projects.

Now in its second year, CPC’s ACCESS initiative has delivered approximately $7.4 million in predevelopment, construction and permanent financing to BIPOC developers for multifamily projects across New York State, with a robust pipeline of projects currently under consideration. ACCESS has also created new strategic partnerships to help advance racial equity in real estate development; including partnering with TruFund Financial Services on a $6 million initiative to help emerging BIPOC developers build their capacity and growing their business infrastructure, and with New York State on its Legacy Cities Access program that will transform blighted and vacant structures into newly renovated, move-in ready homes that will expand affordable homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, specifically first-time buyers and households of color.

CPC launched its $20 million ACCESS initiative in the summer of 2020 to provide financial resources, capacity building opportunities, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs of color who have historically faced barriers to entry in the real estate development market, with the goal of promoting and enabling greater racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.

About The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)

CPC is a nonprofit multifamily finance company that was founded in 1974 to provide financial resources to stabilize and revitalize underserved communities. Today, CPC uses its unique expertise in housing finance and public policy to expand access to affordable housing and drive down the costs of housing production, advance diversity and equity within the development industry, and impact the effects of climate change in our communities through the financing of sustainable housing. Since its founding, CPC has invested over $12 billion to finance the creation and preservation of more than 220,000 units of housing through its lending and investing platforms. CPC is a carbon neutral company and has been rated AA- by S&P. Visit CPC at communityp.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.