New York Capital Region Cities Funded to Restore Riverfronts

ALBANY, New York, January 20, 2008 (ENS) – The state of New York’s Restore NY grant program has awarded millions to Capital Region cities to support the redevelopment of waterfront areas and decaying urban blocks.

The city of Troy will receive $2.5 million to demolish City Hall and begin work on the north waterfront area along the Hudson River that will include construction of retail and office space, apartments and condominiums, a hotel and parking facilities. It will be a start on a 20 year strategy to remediate brownfields and redevelop over 100 acres of waterfront land as a mixed use area of entertainment, historic housing, employment, and educational facilities.

Troy City Hall on the Hudson
River will come down to make
way for a more environmentally
friendly riverfront development.
(Photo courtesy RPI)

“We are thrilled that the leaders in New York State recognize the work, vision, and excitement in the city of Troy,” said Mayor Harry Tutunjian. “This funding will leverage millions of dollars in private investment and create significant developments along the Hudson River. We owe much thanks to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Governor Eliot Spitzer for their commitment to this program that will undoubtedly benefit our residents and taxpayers.”

Bruno said, “The Restore NY’s Communities Initiative is a vital tool for creating additional economic development opportunities throughout New York State by turning gutted buildings into new, productive facilities. These projects will help generate optimism among residents, and help foster an environment that encourages job creation.”

The city of Rensselaer, just south of Albany, will receive $1.4 million in Restore NY funds to demolish the former Rensselaer High School to make way for construction of a large scale mixed use development along the Hudson riverfront that will include 40,000 square feet of retail space and 50 housing units.

Bruno called this grant “a good start” but said additional state funds are needed for the Rensselaer redevelopment.

Under the Restore NY program, $50 million was distributed in 2006-07; $100 million announced Tuesday for 64 projects in 2007-08; and $150 million will be made available in 2008-09.

Through its Restore NY Communities Initiative, Empire State Development funds municipally-sponsored projects for the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant or obsolete structures.

Restore NY was designed as a competitive process with specific criteria. Strong emphasis is placed on projects from economically distressed communities across the state with priority given to projects that leverage other state or federal redevelopment, remediation or planning programs such as brownfields. Round III of the program will begin in 2008.

Restore New York was designed to revitalize urban areas and stabilize neighborhoods as a means to attract residents and businesses. This announcement comes less than a week after Governor Eliot Spitzer delivered his State of the State address, where he spoke about the need to create livable communities.

“The $100 million investment in Restore NY funding demonstrates the state’s commitment to provide a catalyst for meaningful community development projects throughout New York State,” said Governor Spitzer.

“This year’s projects represent the tremendous potential in urban communities, which will spur economic activity and allow our neighborhoods to flourish,” the governor said. “Creating resonant communities will provide the foundation for New York’s Innovation Economy for generations to come.”

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