Monday, November 7, 2022

Urban Renewal Revisited

The long-awaited RFQ (request for qualifications) from the Hudson Housing Authority, seeking a development partner "for the planned redevelopment of its entire portfolio of 135 public housing units and to construct additional mixed income units on multiple sites," was released last Thursday. The entire RFQ can be viewed here

Newly completed Bliss Towers, in 1973--Photo by Gibson

The following is an excerpt from the Scope of Work that appears in the RFQ:
HHA anticipates (not necessarily in this order): (1) the demolition and new construction of the Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments Site; (2) the construction of housing units at the Columbia Street Site and State Street Site; and (3) the construction and/or rehabilitation of housing units at the City Owned Sites and any Co-Developer Sites. . . . Respondents are not expected to provide HHA with a proposed scope of work for the Property. HHA anticipates that a final scope of work will be developed collaboratively with HHA, the City and the Selected Respondent. HHA anticipates that the Project will involve the following:

    • The HHA anticipates the construction of the Project at the State Street Site and Columbia Street Site will happen first and the Bliss Tower demolition and replacement will occur last subject to any required approvals. HHA will facilitate the relocation of the few remaining tenants at Columbia Apartments and upon completion of the portion of the Project to be built at the State Street Site, the HHA residents in the Columbia Apartments will be given the option to transition their housing to the new development at State Street Site. Upon all units in the Columbia Apartments being vacated, the HHA anticipates the demolition of Columbia Apartments, followed by the construction of the Project at the Columbia Street Site. Once all 135 low-income units have been completed to replace the HHA's existing public housing units and all residents have transitioned from Bliss Tower to the new low-income units, the HHA would anticipate the demolition of Bliss Tower, followed by the redevelopment of the Bliss Tower site as agreed by the Selected Respondent, the HHA and the City through the design charette process.
According to this scenario, all 135 units currently owned and managed by HHA would be replaced with new structures built on lot at the northwest corner of Second and State streets and on the current site of Columbia Apartments--property currently owned by HHA. Once that has been accomplished, the RFQ makes it clear that HHA intends to expand its portfolio of rental units not only by building on the current site of Bliss Towers, after its demolition, but also by building on the three sites it now has the option to buy from Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA). The following is also quoted from the RFQ:
  • In addition to the development of replacement public housing units on the HHA Property, the Project will include the development of additional replacement affordable mixed income housing units on properties currently owned the the City's Hudson Community [Development] and Planning Agency (HCDPA). The HHA and HCDPA have entered into an agreement to make these properties available for acquisition and development by HHA and its selected Development Partner.

The RFQ also contains this curious statement:

    • It is anticipated that the Project will be funded in part by a New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant ("DRI") previously awarded to the City of Hudson. It is HHA's understanding that the City intends to dedicate a portion of its DRI award for the implementation of the Project. When completed, the Project will reflect a collaboration among the HHA, the City and the Selected Respondent to address the long-term affordable housing needs of the City.

It will be recalled that the City, after a long public process, proposed projects to be funded by the $10 million DRI grant, and the projects that would actually be funded and the amount of funding for each were determined by the Department of State and Empire State Development. Among the thirteen projects to receive DRI funding, announced in July 2018, is this:

    • Construct Mixed-Use and Mixed-Income Housing on State Street ($800,000)
That's all the DRI money there is for this project. It doesn't seem $800,000 will go very far in paying for the demolition and construction that HHA is proposing.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose you could even get your leg mangled in a bear trap and if you wait long enough, the memory fades to the point where you would willingly walk right into it again.