New Year, New Opportunities!

Just a quick note to let you know the KCLB is happy to announce several new ways to get involved in our work!

For our opportunities under the State’s new $25MM Legacy Cities Access Program, which provides funds for New York State Land Banks to rehab affordable homeownership opportunities (so we can continue our amazing work):

For our opportunities under our current affordable homeownership rehab homes that are under construction, we also have two opportunities:

Perhaps most exciting of all, we are now hiring a new member of our team. CLICK HERE to find out more about our Development Project Manager role!

Stay tuned for more updates…we have a ton of exciting work planned for 2022!

Who needs the Kingston City Land Bank?

On behalf of all of us here at the Kingston City Land Bank, it is a pleasure to share with you this summary of some of our milestones in 2021.

We have made many great strides throughout this tumultuous year, but they all truly pale in comparison to having the first 3 families in our affordable homeownership program move into their new homes in time for the holidays. We completed this first phase of our pilot program on schedule, recently returning these long-vacant homes purchased from the City of Kingston for the full price of back-taxes to productive use.

With these sales, the properties were returned to the tax rolls, of course. More importantly, I believe, this milestone should be seen as a community-led source of pride for the future of our City. All 3 families, who are long-time Kingston residents, have moved into what we hope is a permanent place to call home for generations to come.

I am overwhelmingly proud to be part of such a scrappy, volunteer-led organization. My hope is the KCLB serves as a local beacon for the change that a few dedicated people can make when they decide to do so. We remain humble, take the work (but not ourselves!) seriously, and remain intentional in achieving realistic outcomes. Do yourself a favor and learn about our unique, talented, and growing team HERE.

We like to say that we build the most affordable, well-designed homes in our City. And we do. The concept of combining low-to-moderate first-time single-family homeownership with historic preservation is not a new one, but quality execution of this idea is indeed rare. 

Because this is working, we received a lot of national (and even international) press this year, as folks recognized and celebrated what we were up to. We were thankful for their support of our model, but at the core: our business is local. 

The commitment we have to our ongoing partnership with the Mayor and Council, without whose approval we would not have the opportunity to acquire properties and continue our work, is central to what we do. For this patient, necessary and enduring relationship with City Hall to keep our pipeline moving forward—rather than allowing speculative investors to purchase properties at auction or otherwise–we are very grateful.

However, the largest metric of our success has been, and will continue to be how you, the community of Kingston, think of what we are doing. Despite the current challenges in meeting face-to-face, in addition to our monthly public board meetings—generally held on the 4th Monday of each month via Zoom at 6:30pm—next year we will start holding regular public info sessions about our work. If conditions allow, we will probably also hold quarterly in-person meetings as well.

Please consider signing up for our mailing list HERE to become part of the conversation and be informed of the many opportunities we have planned next year…we need your input!

Unfortunately, living in what is suddenly and quite apparently the hottest real estate market in the United States is a recognition that many longtime residents may be forced out of our community, as housing prices and rents escalate dramatically. 

Of course, identifying a problem does not mean we are the holistic experts to solve it. In addition to completing work on the final 2 homes in our pilot program, we were pleased earlier this year to launch our first community-led RFP for “as-is” properties, so that all of us at large can participate in the process.

In 2022, as we are able to purchase more properties from the City of Kingston, we will expand this program to provide as many opportunities as possible for community experts in affordable rental housing to open up new opportunities to stay in our city. To learn more about the 4 Pathways we use to return properties to the tax rolls, click HERE.

Also in 2022, our new Community Stewardship Program will allow us to directly connect with and pay directly for the time of community residents to amplify our message. This new program will seek to achieve a variety of community benefits to combat displacement, including providing first-time homeownership training.

Statewide, Albany has also recognized the value of the work of Land Banks by prioritizing the importance of our work in the State’s new 5-year housing plan. Substantively, this year the State has launched a new program to support our affordable housing rehab work, in partnership with M/WBE and BIPOC developer/contractors. This $25,000,000 entirely State-funded initiative will allow us to continue to place our current properties and future properties back on the tax rolls as affordable homes for our community, rather than opportunities for speculative investors.

Last month, we met our $30,000 fundraising goal to directly buy down the purchase price of the final 2 homes in our pilot program: 149 Greenkill and 124 Franklin, directly making them even more affordable for our community. Now, these homes are under construction. It appears you think we are on the right track, and we humbly thank you for that!

If you’d like to support our ongoing work in 2022 and beyond, please consider contributing to our Holiday Fundraising Drive, going on until the end of the year.

Thank you!

Sincerely and In Partnership,

Mike Gilliard

Executive Director

Kingston City Land Bank Begins Construction on 124 Franklin and 149 Greenkill

The Kingston City Land bank is pleased to announce that construction has started on 124 Franklin Street and 149 Greenkill Avenue. Both properties were acquired from the City of Kingston in 2021 for the full price of back taxes. Both properties have been vacant for decades. 

In 2022, both  homes  will receive a full rehabilitation, including major interior and exterior renovation. Once complete, each home will be sold to households earning at or below  100% or less of AMI (area median income). Homes will be offered for sale via a public offering. Interested parties can sign up on our website now to be made aware when the homes are for sale: www.kclb.org/homes 

Following the KCLB’s successful fundraising campaign in 2020, the purchase prices will be reduced by a total of $30,000. These donations will allow these well-designed, affordable homes to be even more affordable than originally envisioned. The KCLB expects to continue this direct-impact fundraising model in 2022, allowing donors to directly and immediately impact the results of our work. Please visit our donation page for more information: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/donate/ 

Both homes are part of the KCLB’s Affordable Homeownership Pilot Program. Previous homes sold and renovated within this program include 174 Hasbrouck Avenue, 248 Main Street, and 64 Van Buren Street, which were also sold in November 2021 for affordable prices to three first-time home buyers.

The KCLB has many more exciting initiatives planned for our community in 2022! Sign up for our mailing list at kclb.org for updates and opportunities to participate in our work.

124 Franklin Street
124 Franklin Street, looking downstairs to the front door

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is a 501c3 organization that was formed with the purpose of acquiring title to tax-foreclosed and other distressed properties in the City of Kingston, removing barriers to redevelopment and returning properties to the tax rolls. Its mission is to foster an equitable community where vacant or distressed properties are transformed into community assets that improve the quality of life for Kingston residents, stabilize and enhance neighborhoods, and create new pathways for social and economic development.

Media inquiries: secretary@kclb.org

Kingston PILOT Phase 1: Fact Sheet

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Historic, acquisition and completed photos of 64 Van Buren, Kingston, NY 12401

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) commenced the first Phase of its 5-home PILOT program in July 2020 with the acquisition of 3 vacant single-family homes: 64 Van Buren Street, 174 Hasbrouck Avenue and 248 Main Street. All were purchased from the City of Kingston for the full value of back taxes, a total amount of $87,121.

Following a public RFP to select General Contractors, rehabilitation of the properties began in February 2021. After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce the most well-designed affordable homes in Kingston, the KCLB offered them for sale for the following subsidized sales prices: $132,211 (64 Van Buren Street), $159,641 (248 Main Street) and $162,519 (174 Hasbrouck Avenue). The homes were offered to the general public and applicants were qualified based on household size and household income.

In August of 2021, the KCLB signed contracts with all 3 selected families to purchase their homes. The families then began the process of working with Ulster Savings Bank to secure their mortgages. Closings have begun this month and we expect all 3 families will be Home for the Holidays!

Highlights:

  • All homes were built at a cost of $0 to the Kingston taxpayer. Quite the opposite, in fact: the KCLB paid the City $87,121 to purchase the homes
  • The KCLB has not received any subsidies or tax abatements from the City of Kingston or Kingston City School District
  • The KCLB does not employ any City of Kingston staff
  • Benefits of affordable homeownership: on average, the cost of owning, operating and paying real estate taxes as a KCLB Homeowner is half the current cost these families are paying to rent in Kingston
  • The final 2 homes in the PILOT: 149 Greenkill Avenue and 124 Franklin Street, have commenced construction this month. These homes will be fully renovated and sold in 2022.
  • The KCLB offers 4 community-driven Program Pathways to return properties back to the City of Kingston’s tax rolls. See: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/program-pathways/
  • We are currently selling 2 “as-is” properties via public RFP and submissions due 12/13. See: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/opportunities/rfps/
  • We are currently seeking 2 new Board members. Submissions are due 12/1. See: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/2021/10/20/kclb-seeks-new-board-members/
  • In 2022 we expect to start rehabbing 5 additional homes using the State’s new Legacy Cities Access Program. This is the first program to offer direct funding to Land Banks for the rehabilitation of affordable homeownership opportunities. Because of the funding offered by this program, we expect the number of homes we can rehab each year to dramatically increase.
  • Continuing need: Ulster County’s average home price has risen over 30% since February 2020.
  • Quotes from the new homeowners:
    • “I’m very much looking forward to having housing security. We won’t have to move in a year. There won’t be a landlord who wants to sell their house. My kids can grow up in a home. I’ll be able to invest in myself and projects…”
    • “I’m looking forward to independence. Something you own. Planting a garden. To make family memories in something you own vs rent. Also, not paying that high rent.”

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KCLB Board members, community residents and KCLB Homeowner at our volunteer landscaping event

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One of KCLB’s New Homeowners

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174 Hasbrouck Avenue, completed by the Kingston City Land Bank, 2021

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248 Main Street, completed by the Kingston City Land Bank, 2021

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64 Van Buren Street, completed by the Kingston City Land Bank, 2021

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is a 501c3 organization that was formed with the purpose of acquiring title to tax-foreclosed and other distressed properties in the City of Kingston, removing barriers to redevelopment and returning properties to the tax rolls. Its mission is to foster an equitable community where vacant or distressed properties are transformed into community assets that improve the quality of life for Kingston residents, stabilize and enhance neighborhoods, and create new pathways for social and economic development.

Media inquiries: secretary@kclb.org

For more information about the KCLB and to join our mailing list for updates, visit kclb.org  and follow us on Instagram at @kingstoncitylandbank
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the KCLB: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/donate/

KCLB Announces RFPs for 108-110 Henry Street and 24 Hamilton Street

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is pleased to announce two public Request for Proposals (RFP) to purchase two properties: 108-110 Henry Street (2-family property) and 24 Hamilton Avenue (single-family property). Both vacant properties were purchased by the KCLB from the City of Kingston earlier this month.

“We will continue to produce the most well-designed, affordable single-family homes in Kingston, but we recognize there are many amazing, community-led opportunities to return properties to productive use that fall outside our areas of focus,” says Mike Gilliard, Executive Director of the KCLB. “As we continue to follow-through on our commitments to our community, we are excited to offer our first “as-is” sales of properties. We are all smarter together, and we hope to attract creative, community-led proposals for these buildings!”

The RFPs can be found HERE and a summary of our Program Pathways for disposition of properties can be found HERE.

RFP responses are due 12/13/21. Walkthroughs of the properties will take place on 11/9 and 11/10.

 Respondents must submit a qualified proposal with evidence of financial backing for their plan and may propose on each property separately, or together. It is the preference of the KCLB that proposals either produce affordable housing or a strong, demonstrable community benefit.

Help us continue to fulfill our mission of placing vacant and abandoned properties back on the tax rolls while providing a City for All!

KCLB Seeks New Board Members

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is excited to announce we are taking applications for new Board members. The KCLB is specifically seeking individuals interested in Chairing our Finance Committee and helping with our Fundraising initiatives, but welcomes all interested individuals to apply here.

Help us continue to fulfill our mission of placing vacant and abandoned properties back on the tax rolls while providing a City for All! Applications will be accepted until December 1, 2021.

Board member must be residents of the City of Kingston. For a full description of Board member duties and responsibilities, see here.

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION HERE

KCLB Request for Proposals: General Contracting Services

September 2, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Kingston City Land Bank Continues Its Work for Our Community

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the substantial renovation of two single family-homes in Kingston. RFP documents, details, and deadlines can be downloaded HERE. RFP responses are due 10/6/21 at 5pm.

The two properties—124 Franklin Street and 149 Greenkill Avenue—are the final homes in the KCLB’s 5-affordable-home PILOT program, which was launched in 2020. The KCLB purchased both homes from the City of Kingston earlier this year for the full value of back taxes. Once renovated, the homes will be sold to households earning at or below 100% of Area Median Income.

“Engaging with the local contracting community is another avenue for the KCLB to provide a diverse and growing set of opportunities for all Kingston residents,” says Mike Gilliard, Executive Director of the Kingston City Land Bank. “By continuing to return properties taken by the City through foreclosure to productive use by constructing well-designed, fully renovated, and affordable homes, we provide a counterbalance to the speculative market forces that are pushing many residents out of our City.”

Several open RFPs can be downloaded from KCLB’s website, and additional RFPs will be announced this year. Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in the loop with our progress and become aware of future opportunities to get involved in our work!

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The Kingston City Land Bank was formed with the purpose of acquiring title to tax-foreclosed and other distressed properties in the City of Kingston, removing barriers to redevelopment and returning properties to the tax rolls. Its mission is to foster an equitable community where vacant or distressed properties are transformed into community assets that improve the quality of life for Kingston residents, stabilize and enhance neighborhoods, and create new pathways for social and economic development.

For more information about the KCLB and to join our mailing list for updates, visit www.kclb.org  and follow us on Instagram at @kingstoncitylandbank

Kingston City Land Bank and Kingston Design Connection Announce Rehabilitation Partnership

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Kingston Design Connection (KDC). 

As part of the Land Bank’s ongoing rehabilitation of 174 Hasbrouck Avenue—which will be sold to a first-time homeowner earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income—the Kingston Design Connection will KDC will bring in a team of local designers to perform a full interior rehabilitation of 174 Hasbrouck, which was acquired by the KCLB earlier this year. Upon completion of the renovations this fall, the KCLB will sell the property to a first-time homebuyer at 80% of the Area Median Income. 

174 Hasbrouck

This creative partnership will save the KCLB significant renovation costs while providing the KDC the opportunity to source the design work to rehabilitate the once-vacant property using local makers, vendors, and materials. It also improves the accessibility of the Showhouse’s annual design event and ensures that the mission of the KCLB to provide affordable homeowner opportunities does not change.

“I am so pleased to announce this creative partnership that will amplify the impact of both organizations in Kingston,” says KCLB Executive Director Michael Gilliard. 

For more information about the Kingston Design Showhouse, please visit their website. 

KCLB Featured in Wall Street Journal

July 6, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KCLB Promoted in Wall Street Journal

The Kingston City Land Bank celebrates the national promotion of our work and City

On July 3rd and 4th, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article that featured the work of the Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB). In addition to a profile of the KCLB, the article features photos of our ongoing work to rehab and sell homes under our PILOT program: https://kingstoncitylandbank.org/2021/05/11/application-period-re-opens-for-three-single-family-homes-in-kingston/

“We are honored and humbled to have our work promoted on the national stage,” said Mike Gilliard, Executive Director of the KCLB. “While Kingston has the fastest-rising home prices in the nation, we look forward to continuing to serve to provide housing opportunities for all. This PILOT program is the first of several exciting initiatives we are planning to directly benefit our entire community.”

The Wall Street Journal article can be found here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/older-americans-35-trillion-wealth-giving-away-heirs-philanthropy-11625234216

The Kingston City Land Bank was formed with the purpose of acquiring title to tax-foreclosed and other distressed properties in the City of Kingston, removing barriers to redevelopment and returning properties to the tax rolls. Its mission is to foster an equitable community where vacant or distressed properties are transformed into community assets that improve the quality of life for Kingston residents, stabilize and enhance neighborhoods, and create new pathways for social and economic development.

For more information about the KCLB and to join our mailing list for updates, visit www.kclb.org  and follow us on Instagram at @kingstoncitylandbank