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Saratoga Springs Officials Celebrate New Affordable Housing Complex

Officials cut the ribbon on the Promenade Apartments complex in Saratoga Springs
Lucas Willard
Officials cut the ribbon on the Promenade Apartments complex in Saratoga Springs

Officials cut the ribbon Tuesday on a new affordable housing development in Saratoga Springs, a city that is becoming an increasingly expensive place to live.

Saratoga Springs has a growing population and cost of living.

According to the latest Census figures, the Spa City’s median home value was more than $365,000, almost $150,000 higher than the statewide median value.

Outside the brand new Promenade Apartments on Tuesday, Saratoga Springs Housing Authority Executive Director Paul Feldman reflected on the longstanding issue of rising housing prices.

“When I started here about five or six years ago, I was meeting with various stakeholders in the community room and it became very apparent that there was a severe shortage of affordable housing up here in Saratoga Springs. We had commissioned a market study that discovered that something like 1,000 new units of housing was built in the last decade, none of it was affordable,” said Feldman.

The Promenade Apartments complex includes 63 units for low-and-moderate income individuals. Ten units are reserved for veterans.

Planning for the $20 million project began four years ago. Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, a Democrat, spoke at Tuesday’s press conference on behalf of the city council.

“We all worked together for the last few years on this, any affordable housing project that has come across our table. I think it’s critical that we have people that can afford to live here and work here, and that’s our mission at the city council,” said Kelly.

The project includes a four-story building with 41 units as well as three rows of townhomes. Promenade Apartments is located next to the Stonequist Apartments tower not far from downtown.  

Darren Scott is Upstate East Director of Development at NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the state agency that supported the project.

“Communities like Saratoga Springs thrive and become even more vibrant when the individuals and families who work here can afford to live here. Unfortunately, the rising cost of housing in the Capital Region has mean that many hardworking New Yorkers have been priced out entirely or forced to live in substandard housing,” said Scott.

Scott said he hoped the pandemic brought a “little bit of an awakening” to the need for affordable housing.

“Right now we’re in the final year of Governor Cuomo’s $20 billion five-year housing plan to build and preserve more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services…and while I have an audience, I just want to put a plug in for a second housing plan. It’s very much needed,” said Scott.

Also on hand Tuesday, State Senator Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner presented citations from the New York State Legislature to mark the development.  Norstar Development partnered with firm Bonacio Construction and designers Balzer + Tuck Architecture and The LA Group to build the project.

Feldman said the project shows the amount of support for affordable development in the Spa City not just among officials but also neighbors.

“We received nothing but support for this project, so the narrative that was out there that the city was going to fight affordable housing just wasn’t true. And I’m finding that as I move forward with our other projects as well.”

Also in the works: a 24-unit housing development in the area of East Fenlon St and Vanderbilt Avenue, and the potential renovation of the Stonequist Apartments tower.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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