Brief History of Syracuse Housing Authority

SHA Owned and Federally Funded Housing Projects:

1935 On September 10, 1935, the City of Syracuse Common Council passed an ordinance establishing the Syracuse Housing Authority. The resolution creating Syracuse Housing Authority was officially signed on October 19, 1935 the first meeting of the Board was convened on that date.

1938 Construction of NY1-1 Pioneer Homes began the first housing project to be constructed in New York State and was one of the first five housing projects in the United States. It was fully occupied by 1940. Pioneer Homes originally consisted of 678 family and elderly units, both row houses and 3-story walk ups. It was originally built on a cleared site, bordered by East Adams, Renwick Avenue, Taylor and South Townsend Streets. In 1967, 44 (5 buildings) apartments were demolished to make room for the Route 81 overhead highway construction. Pioneer Homes has since undergone major renovations in 1990-94 and units were reconfigured and now has 214 one bedroom units and 398 family units for a total of 612 apartments.

1949 Salt City Homes: (NYS-35) was originally built and funded by New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Located off E. Fayette Street, it consisted of 4 low rise buildings with 201 apartments for low income families. In 1965, a 236 Moderate Income Federally assisted housing development was built adjacent to this project for another 200 families and was called Fayette Arms, privately owned and managed by the Teamsters International. Management was performed by the Teamsters Local Union, but failed financially during the early 1970’s. HUD foreclosed on it and took over the property sometime in the late 1970’s. Fayette Arms was then renamed “Eastview Homes” and continued to be privately managed by another company appointed by HUD and financed with HUD Section 8 subsidies. HUD wanted to dispose of the Eastview Homes property so in 1980, they agreed with SHA to combine it with Salt City Homes to make one entire housing project of 400 family units. SHA sold Salt City Homes to MB Management from Boston, MA and it was rehabilitated with the proceeds from the issuance of Tax Exempt bonds and managed with Section 8 project based subsidies and was renamed Hilltop East and West. In 1990, MB Management filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and SHA was obligated to either take over the management or find another housing agency/company who would manage the property. In 1992 Interstate Realty Co. of Marlton, NJ took over the property and renamed it Rolling Green Estates and Sunset Terrace and has managed it to this day, also with Section 8 subsidies. SHA, since 1980, no longer has any ownership or management responsibility to the property.

1954 James Geddes Homes was built in two phases: NY1-2 consisted of two elderly high rises and 33 row house buildings for a total of 331 apartments. This phase was occupied in late 1954-55. The second phase (NY1-3) consisted of two more elderly high rises and sic additional row house buildings for families totaling 146 units. This phase was completed and occupied in 1961. The entire James Geddes Housing project now consists of four elderly high rise buildings, and 39 row house buildings for families – totally 477 apartments. It is bordered by Gifford Street, Niagara, Wyoming, Otisco, Tully and Toiga Streets. It underwent a major renovation in 1988-90 which added front porches and back storage sheds, new flooring, cabinets, etc.

1963 Central Village and Almus Olver Towers (NY1-4) Central Village was built on a cleared site bordered by South State Street, Oakwood, East Castle and Burt Streets and it originally consisted of 240 family (CV) units. Central Village underwent a $10 million dollar renovation in 1992-95 and some units were combined to make larger family units. It now consists of 183 family apartments. Almus Olver Tower, an elderly high rise was built soon thereafter and it originally consisted of 225 one and two bedroom units for senior citizens. It underwent major renovations in 1999-2001 and it now consists of 188 one and two bedroom senior apartments,

1969 Toomey Abbott Towers (NY1-5): Originally built with the cooperation of Syracuse University at 1207 Almond Street. It was an experiment with the elderly living alongside college students. It originally was built to house 340 zero, one and two bedroom units. It underwent an $11 million dollar major renovation in 1990-93 and it now consists of 308 units for the elderly and disabled. It also contains an Enriches Housing Program on the premises. It now has a large community space, commercial kitchen, snack bar, computer room, laundry facilities, library and chapel. It also has a ground level private grocery store in the same building for the resident’s convenience.

1974 Ross Towers (NY1-9) consists of two towers with a community space in between; this project was acquired through the turnkey development process. It houses 160 one and two bedroom units for the elderly and disabled and is located at 710-712 Lodi Street. It underwent a major renovation starting in 2000 and was done in phases and completed in 2005.

1973 Vinette Towers (NY1-10): also acquired through the HUD Turnkey construction process, it houses 152 units for the elderly and disabled and is located at 947 Pond Street on the City’s north side. It is under modernization renovations starting in 2009 and is scheduled to be complete by 2012.

1985 Fahey Court (NY1-11) originally was a city school building named Jefferson School, it was converted/renovated into 30 elderly apartments located at 100 Pastime Drive on the corner of Court Street on the City’s north side.

1985 Benderson Heights (NY1-12) this was new construction of 56 family units located off Moore and Benedict Avenues on the near south side of the City off West Colvin Street. New streets were constructed and named Penta, Oriskany, Cliffside and Jericho Drives. It was renamed Benderson Heights in 1986 in honor of Ida O. Benderson, the then Chairman of the SHA Board of Commissioners. This development recently underwent some modernization and now has new siding, new insulation and new windows which were completed in 2010.

1985 Scattered Sites (NY1-16): 90 large family row house units were newly constructed on 10 different sites scattered throughout the near west and south west sides of the City. These sites were all vacant lots that were combined to make up 10 different parcels of land. A Community Center was built at 228 Shonnard Street and is also part of this development.

1988 Scattered Site Rehab (NY1-14) consists of a total of 11 family apartments in 5 two family rehabilitated houses located on the near southwest side of the City on McKinley Ave. Seymour Street, Furman Street. West Kennedy Street and one two-family house on Kirk Avenue with an additional rehabbed carriage house on the same site in back.

1989 Charles F Todd Eastwood Heights: Funded with NYS Housing Trust Fund along with the City of Syracuse, the old Eastwood Junior High School was converted and renovated into 49 one-bedroom apartments for the Elderly. It is owned by the City but managed by SHA and funded with Section 8 subsidies.

1990 Langston McKinney Manor (NY1-18): Demolition of the old 381 apartment complex named “Mulberry Square” took place on this 10 acre site in preparation for the new construction of 75 townhouse units for families. The property is bounded by E. Adams Street, South State, E. Taylor and Oakwood Avenue. It consists of 3 cul-de-sacs which were renamed Angelou, Chavez and Latimer Terraces in 1991.

City of Syracuse Owned/Managed by SHA:

1970 - 2012 Infill Housing: Two 9 unit modular buildings were constructed on Oxford and Tremont Streets on the south end of the downtown Syracuse area in the 1960’s. One building (Tremont) was demolished to make way for the Centro Bus Complex, and with the proceeds from the Centro sale, 9 new townhouse units were built in 1980 on Oxford and Blaine Streets to replace that 9 unit building. The one remaining building that housed 9 units at 115 Oxford Street has since been demolished also by Onondaga County in 2004 to make room for the Midland Waste Water Treatment Facility. All owned by the City of Syracuse but managed with Section 8 subsidies by SHA. In 2007 those 18 townhouse units were vacated for the construction period of the Midland Waste Treatment Facility and remain vacant to this day. A redevelopment plan is in the works to demolish them and replace them with 9 single family “Rent to Own” houses in the years 2011 to 2012 to be the Homes of Syracuse.

New York State Tax Credit Program:

1954 Eastwood Homes (NYS-44) was originally built and consisted of 200 family units located on Fobes Ave and Taft Avenue in the Eastwood area of the City. It was renovated in 1999 and reduced to 134 family units with NYS Housing Tax Credit funds and DHCR modernization funds and is now owned by Eastwood Homes LP and managed by SHA.

2013 Homes of Syracuse The City of Syracuse has never before seen 50 new single-family homes built in one year, especially not homes that are affordable.  Also, each of these homes have been built to meet the standards for a New York Energy Star Home, and are designed to use approximately 30% less energy-with one home even having an Onondaga County “Save The Rain” Barrel.  Concurrently, neighbors are reinvesting in their properties and the City of Syracuse is realizing the original intent of this community revitalization initiative.

Each of these lease-to-own homes have income restrictions, meaning in order to be eligible, a family cannot make more than between 30%-60% of Area Median Income, based on family size.  These homes will be leased to the Residents for a period of 15 years and then sold to those residents at a discounted price depending on length of their occupancy in the home.  The development will also provide for significant home-ownership training including credit counseling, financial planning, budgeting, home maintenance and repair, etc.., to assist the resident in converting from renters to home owners.

These 3 and 4 bedroom homes were constructed and will remain affordable with the help of multiple financial partners, including:  The City of Syracuse; New York State Homes & Community Renewal; New York State Housing Trust Fund; RedStone; First Niagara Bank, and, The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.  In order to navigate the complex multi-tiered finance structure of the transaction, the Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA) partnered with The NRP Group LLC (NRP).   

This $11.8M Development experienced significant challenges during construction.  Constructed on all vacant parcels, unforeseen infrastructure, environmental and geotechnical difficulties were encountered throughout construction.  This resulted in considerable Development cost increases.  These unforeseen expenses caused SHA and NRP to invest more into the Development than originally projected.  This investment will be paid back to the partners over time through excess cash-flow payments.  In spite of these challenges, the Development was completed on-time due to the proactive steps taken by SHA, NRP, and their design professionals.  However, due to significant achievement of the neighborhood revitalization efforts, the partners view the project to be a success, making this development a great example of a public-private partnership between a premier local Housing Authority and a national for-profit developer.