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WinnCompanies and Partners Celebrate Completion of $56.6 Million Acquisition and Rehab of “Cedars of Chili”

ROCHESTER, NY– New York State Homes and Community Renewal, WinnCompanies and partners  announced the completion of a $56.6 million acquisition and rehabilitation project to dramatically modernize 320 apartments in Chili, NY, and to preserve the community as affordable housing for approximately 700 residents.

Overseen by WinnDevelopment, the 18-month project at the Cedars of Chili Apartments included the complete renovation of all kitchens and bathrooms, and replacement of heating and cooling systems, roofs, windows, and wood patios and decks across all 60 of the two-story buildings on the 33-acre site.

In addition, the rehab project upgraded the property’s resident lounge, laundry room, management office and playgrounds and incorporated a brand new fitness room, basketball court, and community room. The property is more accessible and sustainable with 17 new fully handicap accessible apartments and numerous energy, water, and health improvements that will benefit residents for years to come.

“We are proud to join with the Cuomo Administration, Monroe County, the Town of Chili and the Bank of America to preserve the affordability of this community and to deliver safe, quality homes for its residents for the next 40 years,” said Gilbert Winn, CEO of WinnCompanies. “There was a real risk that this property would have been converted to market rate rental units if the community had not stepped up.”

Situated just outside Rochester, the Cedars at Chili Apartments was built in 1976 and is one of the largest affordable complexes in an area that is experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing. The rehabilitated community totals 116,620 square feet of residential space, featuring 96 one-bedroom units, 158 two-bedroom units, 49 three-bedroom units, and 17 four-bedroom units. Of those, five one-bedroom apartments, 10 two bedrooms, one three bedroom, and one four-bedroom are now handicap accessible.

A majority of the apartments at the property will be reserved for households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income for the next 40 years.

The project was supported by HCR’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) which provided tax-exempt bonds to support the construction loan and first mortgage; an award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits; Mitchell Lama preservation program funds and an Interest Reduction Payment loan; the Bank of America, which provided tax credit equity, a letter of credit and a subordinate loan; the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), which provided funding for energy efficiency improvements; the Rochester Housing Authority and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversaw the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Conversion; and, the Town of Chili.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), said,  “Cedars of Chili is an important example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to preserving affordable housing opportunities here and across the state. This nearly $56.6 million total upgrade and modernization project enables 700 people to remain in the community they love. A key element of the financing agreement requires rents to remain affordable for the next 40 years. It is a clear vote of confidence in the community and is another reason why the Finger Lakes region continues to move forward.”

“Affordable housing is a priority of mine, my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Cuomo and his team,” said New York State Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson. “That is why I am proud to join WinnCompanies in welcoming many families to homes that will serve them and our community for generations to come. The renovations, which include additional units that are accessible, are welcoming, safe and provide a model of what affordable housing can and should be in our state.”

Staff from WinnResidential, the property management arm of WinnCompanies, will manage the community. Supportive services for residents will be provided by Partners in Community Development, a non-profit organization in Rochester that provides onsite services at low-income housing communities.

“As our economy continues to grow, so does the demand for living accommodations for individuals looking to move here and local residents relocating within Monroe County,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “I’m proud to see this project become reality and I am thankful to Winn Companies for investing in our county, economy and workforce.”

The project created 272 jobs, with workers from the Rochester area filling 144 (53 percent) of those positions. The project met or exceeded goals for the use of minority and women-owned business enterprises. More than 28 percent of the state funds money spent on renovations, approximately $3.6 million, went to minority-owned enterprises, while women-owned enterprises accounted for close to 10 percent of project expenditures, approximately $1.2 million.

“The renovations completed by WinnCompanies at the Cedars of Chili have made a significant impact on the quality of life in Chili. They should be applauded for their effort,” said Chili Councilman Mark L. DeCory.

“Supporting the preservation of safe, affordable housing in communities like Chili and throughout the upstate New York region is vitally important to Bank of America Merrill Lynch,” said Susan Moro, senior vice president and community development executive for the bank. “We are proud to partner with WinnCompanies whose deep commitment, experience and passion for community development made this an ideal project for the bank to financing, providing $27.9 million in debt financing and a $13.9 million equity investment.”

DiMarco Constructors of Rochester, NY served as the general contractor working from designs created by The Architectural Team, of Chelsea, MA. WinnDevelopment acquired the property in 2015.

New kitchens in the community feature new Energy Star appliances, vinyl flooring, cabinets, countertops, faucets, sinks, and GFCI outlets. The new baths feature new vinyl flooring, bathtubs, toilets, toilet accessories, vanities, sinks, faucets, exhaust fans, countertops, and GFCI outlets.

In addition to the renovations previously mentioned, the 18-month occupied rehabilitation effort included:

  • Reconfigured and re-graded sidewalks, patios and site areas to make the paths leading to all units handicap accessible;
  • Improved drainage conditions;
  • Installed new privacy fences, new concrete patio slabs, new storage sheds, new plantings, new dumpsters and fencing;
  • Deployed new fire and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the property;
  • Completely renovated and upgraded the community building and management office;
  • Installed new LED lighting and security monitoring systems throughout the property;
  • Upgraded fire safety equipment in each building; and,
  • Resurfaced, resealed and restriped parking areas.

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

The region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.

WinnCompanies is also the developer of Sibley Square in Rochester, formerly The Sibley Building – once the largest department store between New York City and Chicago. WinnDevelopment is renovating the 1.1 million-square-foot property with a $200 million investment from local, regional and state funding sources.

Sibley Square features 104 market-rate units on floors 9-12, 72 affordable apartments on floors 7 and 8, abundant retail space, professional offices, health care services and 68,000 square feet on the 6th floor devoted to the High-Tech Rochester business incubator. The residential leasing effort is well underway with more than 50 signed leases and residents already occupying floors 9 and 10.

As one of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s priority projects, Sibley Square leads the revitalization effort in downtown Rochester and supports New York State’s focus on rebuilding the Upstate economy. In addition to restoring energy to one of the region’s most historic and celebrated buildings, the project is expected to create more than 1,500 temporary construction jobs and 1,042 permanent jobs.

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