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Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates New Construction of the Eastman Commons Innovative Affordable Housing Complex

Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren, Assemblyman Joe Morelle,
Eastman Commons President Dave Agostinelli, City of Rochester Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development R. Carlos Carballada, and Common Ground Director of Housing Development & Operations Andrew Haupt

Ground breaking

Senator Joe Robach, Rochester Councilwoman Carla Palumbo, NYS HHAC President Scott Edwards, NYS HCR Regional Assistant Commissioner Tom Nortwick, Norstar Development Executive Director Linda Goodman, JPMorgan Case Community Development Group Vice President Scott Schmid, and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group Vice President Rachel Diller

Rochester, New York (October 21, 2010) – Rochester-based not for profit Eastman Commons, in partnership with Common Ground Community (“Common Ground”) and Norstar Development USA, L.P., have completed financing on an innovative $16 million revitalization project that will bring new vibrancy and growth to Rochester’s historic Maplewood neighborhood.  The groundbreaking today effectively launches the implementation of this important supportive housing development here in Rochester.

David Agostinelli, Eastman Commons President, said “the not-for-profit corporation is ‘elated’ to complete these essential capital financing activities with the support of these important public - private partners.  It is critical to advancing the development of this residential community that will provide safe and attractive supportive rental housing options for its residents with the assistance they need to live independently” in historic Maplewood neighborhood. Agostinelli added: “We are excited because not only are we breaking ground for this important project today, but this Eastman Commons development is also launching a fundamental part to what the City sees as a systems solution, much larger than the 80 units being constructed...  by Eastman Commons contributing to the neighborhood and its economic development with a recovery engine our community needs, 80 people at a time”.

1630 Dewey Avenue, the project site, is currently a vacant laundry facility which will be demolished and redeveloped into an 80-unit rental apartment building emphasizing environmental sustainability and providing affordable housing for a diverse tenant mix of income-eligible adults and individuals exiting homelessness for stable permanent housing. 

Amenities will include a library, computer lab, community rooms, laundry rooms, and an outdoor courtyard for resident interaction and tenant activities.  The building will feature sustainable design elements that enhance energy efficiency and savings, and reduce the building's carbon footprint.  Green building measures include a high-efficiency heating system, water-conserving fixtures for bathrooms and kitchens, an energy efficient lighting plan and Energy Star appliances.  Rochester-based architects Bergmann Associates have designed and planned an attractive residential building that will blend well into the existing community. Norstar Building Corporation is the general contractor. LECESSE Construction, Frederico Construction & Demolition LLC and Kennedy Mechanical Plumbing & Heating, Inc., all of Rochester, and Frey Electric Construction Co., Inc. of Buffalo, are all prime subcontractors to Norstar Building Corporation.

Eastman Commons originated the project and recruited Common Ground to partner on 1630 Dewey Avenue. Common Ground’s twenty plus years of award-winning domestic and international experience in creating and managing supportive housing will ensure that this project - an extremely unique project for the Rochester area - will be a great addition to the community. Norstar Development is the master developer and will oversee project operations during the construction period.

“The Maplewood Neighborhood and the City will benefit from local jobs and affordable, attractive housing options with top-quality design and services for residents,” said Rosanne Haggerty, Founder and President of Common Ground.  “We are proud to be part of the historic Maplewood Neighborhood,” said Agostinelli. “We are very pleased to be investing in this area and contributing to the revitalization planning underway in our community.”

Site abatement and demolition of the existing building has commenced in October.  The development is expected to be completed in December of 2011.  The project has been made possible with financing and subsidies from New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR) Housing Trust Fund Corporation; The New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation (HHAC); The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA); The City of Rochester; Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Tax Credit Investor; JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Construction Lender; M&T - Member Bank - from the privately funded Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; Rochester Housing Authority (RHA); US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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