AIK Property Group to lead $3.7 Million Rehabilitation of Nine Vacant Properties Into Affordable Homeownership Opportunities
Legacy City ACCESS Program Designed to Eliminate Neighborhood Blight and Expand Access to Homeownership for First-Time Buyers and Households of Color
AMSTERDAM, NY – Mayor Michael Cinquanti was joined by New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), the Capital Region Land Bank, and AIK Property Group, a local minority and women-owned real estate developer, to announce the start of the rehabilitation of nine foreclosed and city-owned properties through HCR’s Legacy City ACCESS program.
The project consists of two single-family homes, six two-family homes, and one three-family home. The properties that are being renovated have a total of 17 units and are located on Rockton Street, Glen Avenue, Fairview Place, Wilson Avenue, Division Street, Locust Avenue, Arnold Avenue, and Brandt Place. These homes are being renovated by two minority owned contractors: BKJ Construction and Happy Electric.
“No aging industrial northeast City like Amsterdam can hope to meet the demand for working family housing without an effective strategy for rejuvenating its aging working family neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michael Cinquanti. “New York State’s Legacy program is a perfect tool for developing such a strategy and the Schenectady County Land Bank and AIK Property Group are proving to be the perfect partners to integrate it successfully. Our City is thrilled to be working with both!”
“We want to make sure the American dream remains an option for Millennials, Gen Z, and future generations to come,” said Pamela Swanigan, Co-owner and Developer for AIK Property Group. “The only way that dream will continue to be attainable is if homes are affordable. We have young people saddled by insurmountable debt and rent payments as high as a mortgage. Our mission is to give people a chance to create generational wealth who traditionally have been left out of that conversation. We are so grateful that CPC, HCR, the Land Bank, and the City of Amsterdam have given us the support we need and share the same goals to strengthen the community.”
Robert DiCaprio, Vice Chairman of the Capital Region Land Bank said, “we are thrilled to see work begin on the transformation of nine vacant buildings into future homeownership opportunities. We thank AIK Property Group and the team at New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and Community Preservation Corporation for working with the Land Bank to bring over $3.5 million of new investment through the Legacy City program to the City of Amsterdam.”
“Entrepreneurs like AIK Property Group are the backbone of our communities, and we are excited to be partners in helping make their vision for these properties a reality,” said Lawrence Hammond, Senior Vice President, Director of ACCESS at the Community Preservation Corporation. “We are proud to administer a program that both helps minority owned developers grow their businesses, and gives first-
time buyers of color an opportunity to build generational wealth and long-term stability through affordable homeownership. Many thanks to Governor Hochul and her team at HCR for supporting Legacy City ACCESS, to Mayor Cinquanti, and to the Capital Region Land Bank for their partnership.”
HCR is providing $2.6 million in financing for the project through the Legacy City ACCESS program, and CPC is providing $987,400 in financing for the project. The project also includes $207,600 in Land Bank Initiatives Funding from HCR via the Capital Region Land Bank.
Legacy City ACCESS is a partnership between HCR and CPC, a not-for-profit community development financial institution that focuses on the preservation and creation of affordable and workforce housing.
The program is designed to transform blighted structures into newly renovated, move-in ready homes that will help expand affordable homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, specifically first-time buyers and households of color. Qualified properties owned by land banks or municipalities are transferred to local developers with a preference for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). Following rehabilitation, sales will prioritize purchasers of color and low-income households, helping to tackle the issue of generational wealth building through homeownership.
CPC is providing construction financing and technical assistance to the developers for all the Legacy City ACCESS projects through its ACCESS program, an initiative that provides financial resources and capacity-building support to Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) real estate entrepreneurs who have historically faced barriers to entry in the development industry.
The program is available in communities north of New York City that are addressing blight through redevelopment of municipally owned property. The properties must be located in disadvantaged communities, as defined by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and where there exists a legacy of historical disparities in homeownership access for households of color.
Applications generally must consist of three primary partners: land banks or municipalities, local minority developers, and homeownership counseling agencies who work together to identify eligible properties, scopes of work, financing, and future homebuyers.
The program makes up to $150,000 per unit available in cost subsidy for assemblages of up to ten 1-3 family buildings as first-time homeownership opportunities. Homebuyers will have access to HCR’s State of New York Mortgage Agency Give Us Credit program – a statewide initiative that uses alternative credit analysis to increase homeownership for applicants who have been underserved in the homeownership market, particularly applicants of color. HCR will offer these potential homebuyers down payment assistance to cover acquisition and closing costs.