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Upstate Upswing


Upstate New York is booming, and builders are finding opportunities in a wide range of projects. By Staci Davidson

The New York State housing market set sales records in 2016, increasing by at least 10 percent over 2015. The state’s realtors’ association attributes this to a strong economy, high demand and low mortgage rates. The housing market in New York City always gets a lot of attention, but builders in Upstate New York are also doing all they can to keep up with demand while maintaining high-quality standards. Many in the state are working to maintain that demand by expanding the first-time homebuyer incentive.

There is progress throughout New York in the construction of single-family homes, custom homes, multifamily developments and mixed-use properties. For example, in late 2016, the $24.4 million Ebenezer Square apartments opened in West Seneca. The mixed-use development replaces a long vacant big box store and offers 25 affordable apartments integrated with a 75-unit licensed residential program serving individuals with behavioral health concerns. 

“These strategic investments help support some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers by ensuring they have access to a safe and decent place to call home,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project brings together affordable housing alongside supportive residential programs, creating a truly integrated community that will foster recovery and independence.”


Operated by Living Opportunities of DePaul, the three-story, 124,000-square-foot building at 2400 Seneca Street features one and two bedroom apartments. In addition to offering modern, well-appointed apartments, Ebenezer Square offers stable housing in a service-enriched, recovery-oriented setting to adult individuals with a psychiatric disability. Licensed by the OMH, residents will have 24/7 access to care and can receive living skills training, medication management, linkages to medical and dental care, health education, as well as educational and vocational services. 

Residents will also have access to off-street parking, lounge areas on each floor, outdoor picnic areas, and a community room. Staff and security are on-site 24-hours a day. 

Additionally, Ebenezer Square features the latest energy-saving solar technology. A 150-kilowatt solar array is expected to generate 172,000 kilowatts annually, which will account for about 75 percent of the building’s electrical usage. To offset the cost of the solar panel installation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $50,000 in funding through the NY-Sun Initiative. NYSERDA also contributed an additional $250,000 through its Low-Rise Residential New Construction Program. The project received $184,050 in New York State Solar Tax Credits.

“The Ebenezer Square project will significantly benefit disadvantaged New Yorkers by offering affordable, energy efficient housing,” said John B. Rhodes, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO. Governor Cuomo’s innovative REV strategy ensures all New Yorkers have opportunities to benefit from clean energy and energy efficiency as the State drives progress toward healthier, more sustainable communities.”

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