by Andrea Palmer
The Saratoga Housing Authority is partnering with Norstar Development on a 63-unit affordable workforce housing project in Saratoga Springs.
When Paul Feldman took over as authority executive director he was asked to serve on a task force to address the affordable housing needs in the city. As the task force started looking, there was not much available land on which to develop housing.
“I realized I had some land already owned by the Housing Authority, under a declaration of trust, that we could develop. We had three acres of land behind the Stonequist high-rise. It was basically going unused other than a picnic area out there for Stonequist residents, and some community gardens,” said Feldman.
The project, called Promenade Apartments, received $3.9 million for the project on land adjacent along West Circular Street.
Feldman met with Steve Longo from the Albany Housing Authority to get input on how to proceed. The authority then took on Norstar as a partner. They worked with Norstar on the design and plan and came up with funding from the state.
In addition to the 63-unit project, Feldman also submitted an application to the state for $3.2 million to put another 24 units near the Jefferson Terrace complex.
“We’ll be putting up 87 units of affordable housing over the next year and a half or so,” said Feldman.
Promenade is expected to be complete in the spring of 2021.
“When I was on the affordable housing task force, I met with several business owners and had a lot of sharp business owners on my board of the Housing Authority. Saratoga Springs is primarily a service-oriented, tourism-driven city. We have all these places that employ people but don’t pay them very much. Many employees can’t afford to live in Saratoga,” said Feldman.
“So if you’re running a restaurant, and you have employees driving to work from Albany or Lake George, maybe in a car that isn’t very good, you’ll get call-offs and that impacts your business. If you’re a teacher or a cop or fireman just starting out, it’s hard to afford to live here. There are real ramifications to everyone in not having affordable housing in Saratoga Springs,” said Feldman.
“So we decided we would gear the project towards the workforce. With this project, people can literally walk to work if they work on Broadway.”
The task force had a market study done, and found there were over 1,000 housing units built over the prior 10 years—none of which was affordable housing.
Affordable housing is generally defined by HUD as spending 30 percent or less of one’s income on housing. In Saratoga Springs, this is based on the Albany-Schenectady-Troy average median income.
The Saratoga Housing Authority will also be looking to rehabilitate the existing public housing in Saratoga Springs, starting with Stonequist Apartments.
“We did a procurement for the rehabilitation project and are partnering with Norstar on that as well,” said Feldman.
“Our Housing Authority’s direction is to add and upgrade the housing stock of the city, and we’re off to a pretty good start,” he said.
by Andrea Palmer