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July 10, 2007

 

State Pension Fund Investment Provides
Affordable Housing for Seniors in Lackawanna

New York State’s pension fund invested in an affordable housing rehabilitation project for senior citizens in Lackawanna, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.

“We’re always looking for investments that do well for the pension fund and do good for New York,” DiNapoli said. “This project does both. Senior citizens in Lackawanna get safe, affordable housing and the members of the pension fund get a solid return on their investment.”

The 74-unit senior housing facility is located at the former Lady of Victory Hospital on Melroy Avenue. The project renovated two of the hospital’s former buildings, essentially gutting the buildings and equipping them with new roofs, heating and ventilation systems, windows and fixtures. The apartments are handicap adaptable.

The buildings contain one- and two-bedroom apartments with rents on a sliding scale from $275 to $624 per month. Residents must be at least 55 years old.

The pension fund made the rehabilitation of 55 Melroy Avenue possible by purchasing the $747,000 mortgage from the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) in June. Through a partnership with CPC, the pension fund assumes the loan after the project is completed and then collects loan payments from the developer, providing the pension fund with a competitive return on the investment. The loan is insured by the State of New York Mortgage Agency.

“We are proud to have provided the long-term financing for this unique and exciting project that has brought extremely affordable housing to Lackawanna’s senior population. The partnership between the Office of the State Comptroller and CPC has made it possible to address the shortage of senior housing in this market and create a plan to turn this dormant hospital campus into safe, quality housing,” said Joseph Eicheldinger, Director of CPC’s Western Regional Office in Buffalo.

By purchasing permanent mortgages, the pension fund provides money to construct or rehabilitate housing for moderate and low-income families across the state, including housing for senior citizens. Since the program began, 8,100 units have been completed. The pension fund has committed $500 million to the CPC program and invested $254 million in mortgages.

“The renovation of the facility was a significant economic development stimulus for Lackawanna. Not only are we able to serve seniors in a historically and architecturally significant building, but we were able to make a difference in the community,” said Aimée Gomlak, vice president of strategic redevelopment at Catholic Health System, which is the owner of the property. “We are very proud of the construction outcome and could not have done such good work without Kideney Architects, Christa Construction, Edgemere Development, CPC and Key Bank.”

About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
Comptroller DiNapoli is sole trustee of the $154.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund. As part of its diversified investment strategy, the pension fund looks for investments in New York State that will provide sound returns through programs that target affordable housing, real estate, and small and growing businesses across the state.

The Community Preservation Corporation is a not-for-profit mortgage lender that finances residential multi-family development throughout New York and New Jersey. Since its founding in 1974, CPC has invested more than $5.8 billion in more than 124,000 units of housing in New York and New Jersey.

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