News & Events> Development Plan Recasts Historic Mill for Affordable Housing
A boarded-up former mill factory in Middletown, New York is undergoing a significant transformation, creating both affordable rental housing and a community-based culinary arts job training café. The project is being developed by the nonprofit social services agency, Regional Economic Community Action Program, Inc. (RECAP) and a development company, Mill Street Partners. The total development cost for the project, known as The Mill, is estimated at over $13.3 million. The Leviticus Fund is supporting the project’s critical pre-construction phase by providing $775,000 in predevelopment financing.
The Mill is on the site of the former Fuller Brothers Hat Manufactory and includes several of the original buildings dating back to 1874. The project proposes reusing the main, three-story mill building for 27 of the 42 affordable rental units. The mill building will also include 1,550 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, which will serve as a third location for the Fresh Start Café, RECAP’s culinary arts job training program. An additional one-story building on the property will be renovated and used as a community facility for the project’s residents. The remaining one-story annexes will be demolished to make way for a four-story addition that will be used exclusively for affordable housing.
The former mill, which has been vacant since 1978, holds rich historic and architectural value for the city of Middletown. In its day, the city supported a variety of manufacturing businesses such as shoe and furniture factories. Development of The Mill will preserve some of the signature features of the former hat and silk factory, specifically the main mill building and the factory’s smokestack.
The New York State Housing Trust Fund awarded RECAP $1.89 million to fund both the affordable housing units and the Fresh Start Café. RECAP has also received $902,643 in federal low-income housing tax credits, which will generate over $8.3 million in total equity for the project.
“The Mill project is an extraordinary opportunity for RECAP to preserve and reuse a historically significant building in Middletown that is a rich part of its heritage,” said Greg Maher, the Leviticus Fund’s Executive Director. “The development of much needed affordable rental housing, along with a culinary arts job training program, will create a vital resource for the community. Leviticus is proud to support such a high impact project.”
The need for more affordable rental housing in the city of Middletown is backed up by data from the most recent U.S. Census American Community Survey. Of the over 4,800 renter households in the city, 54% are recognized as cost burdened because they are paying more than 30% of their income for housing-related expenses. Renters over the age of 65 represent 19% of this group, and 51% earn less than $20,000 annually.
The affordable rental units proposed in The Mill will serve individuals and families earning between 30% and 50% of Middletown’s area median income (AMI). Renters earning incomes at these levels are most cost burdened by housing expenses. The 42 proposed rentals will be a mix of unit sizes, with the majority being either one-bedroom or two-bedroom units. Four of the units will be designed for special need households, specifically three for mobility impaired and one for either vision or hearing impaired tenants.
The Mill also includes a number of energy saving features within individual units as well as in the overall project’s design. Most notable is the photovoltaic (PV) energy system that will be installed on the roof of the main mill building. The PV system is expected to meet 10% of the building’s electrical load and provide power for the project’s common areas.
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