Celebrating the Sale of 149 Greenkill

On October 26, the Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) celebrated the sale of its fourth property, 149 Greenkill. The KCLB and its Board of Directors congratulates the family on their new home!

KCLB started major interior and exterior rehabilitation of this property in December 2021. This is the fourth home in KCLB’s Affordable Homeownership PILOT program. Launched in 2020, under this program the KCLB purchases vacant properties from the City of Kingston for the full price of back taxes and rehabilitates them into well-designed affordable homes.

4 More KCLB Homes Under Construction!

October 4, 2022

THE KINGSTON CITY LAND BANK ANNOUNCES FIRST CLOSING UNDER THE STATE’S NEW CONSTRUCTION FINANCING PROGRAM FOR AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP TO REHAB FOUR VACANT HOMES IN KINGSTON

The Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) is proud to announce that it is the first organization in New York State to close on funding and commence construction under the New York State Legacy Cities ACCESS Program. This is also the KCLB’s first development partnership with Maeda Construction, a Certified MWBE General Contracting firm based in Staatsburg. Goldstein Hall provided legal counsel to the partnership. Homeownership Counseling services will be provided by PathStone Community Improvement of Newburgh.

The KCLB purchased 29 Rogers Street, 63 German Street, 237 East Union Street, and 169 Hurley Avenue from the City of Kingston for the full price of back taxes. The properties will be fully rehabbed and sold to first-time homeowners. Sales and marketing will commence in mid-2023.

To fund this work for our community, the Community Preservation Corporation provided $866,661 in financing and New York State Housing and Community Renewal’s Housing Trust Fund Corporation provided $600,000 in financing.

The Legacy Cities ACCESS Program was established in 2021 to provide resources to New York State Land Banks, MWBE and non-profit developers to rehab vacant 1-3 unit properties into affordable homeownership opportunities for underserved households.

“We are excited to be the first organization to close under HCR’s amazing new Legacy Cities ACCESS Program,” says Daniel Kanter, Board Chair of the KCLB. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the City of Kingston and all involved to scale our efforts under this program to provide many more well-designed, affordable homes for current and future residents of our community.”

“This program helps to fulfill a great need in the Mid-Hudson region,” says Robert Drost, Principal at Maeda Construction. “Developing these vacant buildings to provide first time, affordable, home ownership will change people’s lives for the better, and we get to be a part of that.”

“We would like to congratulate Kingston City Land Bank and Maeda Construction on this innovative and exciting project to create more affordable home ownership opportunities for the City of Kingston,” says Brian Hsu, Partner at Goldstein Hall.

“Increasing access to housing in the Hudson Valley that working families can afford is my priority, and it’s why I advocated for the Legacy Cities Program and secured historic housing investments to make it a reality,” Senator Michelle Hinchey said. “The Legacy Cities ACCESS Program will change lives by building generational equity and wealth through homeownership for first-time homebuyers who may never have had this opportunity. It is incredible that our Kingston community will be the first-ever beneficiary of this program, thanks to the leadership of Kingston City Land Bank and so many regional partners. Owning a home is a hallmark of the American Dream, and I will continue to fight for long-term solutions to help more upstate New Yorkers secure safe, reliable housing within their budget.”

“I want to thank Governor Hochul for her efforts in creating this new program and congratulate the Kingston City Land Bank for being the first in New York State to utilize this critical funding. Affordable homeownership is the cornerstone of rebuilding our neighborhoods that for years have suffered from disinvestment,” says City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “These four homes were formerly vacant, tax foreclosed properties, and now, though our partnership with the KCLB, will be redeveloped and these neighborhoods will be transformed.”

“The Kingston City Land Bank’s ability to access funding from the newly created New York Legacy Access Program is a welcome development in getting Kingston families into homes that have been vacant and abandoned for far too long,” says City of Kingston Ward 9 Alder Michelle Hirsch. “This funding will help revitalize our neighborhoods while bringing home affordability to the City of Kingston.

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

Our Newest Affordable Home is For Sale!

Want to own an amazing, affordable home in Kingston? Consider becoming a Kingston City Land Bank (KCLB) homeowner!

The KCLB is excited to announce the sale of our latest newly renovated and affordable home, located at 149 Greenkill Avenue! This fully rehabbed 3-bedroom, 1-bath home features a new kitchen, bathroom and large, private backyard. We commenced renovations late last year and expect to complete construction in July.

“After many years of vacancy and neglect, we are thrilled to add 149 Greenkill to the list of comprehensively and beautifully renovated homes that the KCLB has returned to our community,” says Daniel Kanter, Board Chair of the KCLB. “This home is classic Kingston through-and-through, and no detail has been overlooked by our design team or our incredible crew from Maeda Contracting. It’s ready for its next 100 years and beyond.”

“We are excited to bring this opportunity to our community,” says Minya DeJohnette, Chair of the KCLB’s Communications & Community Engagement Committee. “Our marketing campaign will include direct outreach via local businesses, houses of worship and community events. We look forward to meeting everyone and discussing our work in person!”

This is the 4th home in our Affordable Homeownership PILOT program. Launched in 2020, the program is designed to purchase vacant properties from the City of Kingston for the full price of back taxes and transform them into the most well-designed affordable homes in our community! Selling properties this way is one of 4 Pathways we use to return properties to the tax rolls.

The household and income limits to purchase can be found in English and Spanish HERE. To take a virtual tour of the home as we near construction completion, check it out below!

To begin the process to apply to purchase, complete our interest form at kclb.org/homes.

You must complete this form by June 15, 2022 to be considered to purchase!

KCLB 2022 Construction Progress Report: 149 Greenkill and 124 Franklin!

Attached is a sneak-peak of our ongoing construction activities at 149 Greenkill Avenue and 124 Franklin Street…we have been busy!

As of March 2022, construction at 149 Greenkill just passed the 50% complete mark, on budget and schedule!

124 Franklin has been gutted in preparation for a full renovation, and our demolition of a structurally unsound rear addition has been completed. In addition, we repaired the utility lines, so the home has water for the first time in over 20 years!

Overall, our activities on this last phase of our PILOT program is progressing as planned and on schedule. We expect to make a major announcement on our Greenkill home soon.

Stay tuned for more updates!

149 Greenkill
149 Greenkill
124 Franklin
124 Franklin
124 Franklin

KCLB Announces New Development Project Manager

In our efforts to increase our capacity to continue to deliver the most well-designed, affordable homes for our community, the KCLB is pleased to announce that Kyle Cohen has joined us as a Development Project Manager!

Kyle will contribute to ongoing management of the entire portfolio of the KCLB’s real estate assets from acquisition through warranty. He will also research and secure funding and financing sources to support our affordable homeownership and other new KCLB programs.

Kyle has over five years of real estate analysis and project management experience. In 2021 he received a Masters in Urban Planning degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Kyle’s bio and contact information can be found HERE. Please feel free to welcome him to the KCLB!

KCLB Needs Your Help to Secure Funds from the City!

UPDATE: our letter in support of the allocation of ARPA funds to the KCLB is HERE.

Great news: to continue to support the work of the KCLB, the Mayor has proposed awarding us $1.1MM of Federal Stimulus funding! We are very grateful for this opportunity to continue our work: https://kingston-ny.gov/news/?FeedID=1580

These funds would be used to directly fund our mission by offsetting our costs to purchase and rehab additional affordable homes for our community.

On Monday, March 21st at 7pm, the Common Council will hold a VIRTUAL ONLY public hearing for public comment on the Mayor’s proposal. Please contact your local Councilperson this week and voice your support of our work!

And, if you’d like to join the Council’s hearing on the 21st, the details are below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87160108170?pwd=ZS9JN1NmNWdocDFOdXZDWndHR3V6QT09
Passcode: jf4S5KNJ
Phone +1 646 558 8656 
Webinar ID: 871 6010 8170
Passcode: 70136170

Executive Director Michael Gilliard joins housing advocates to promote a $200 million budget proposal to address the housing crisis 

Executive Director Michael Gilliard joined housing advocates in championing a historic $200 million budget proposal to address the housing crisis in New York’s upstate and rural communities.

Executive Director Michael Gilliard

The event took place on March 10 in Albany.

According to Senator Hinchey, this “plan is the first of its kind in the state budget to direct this scale of investment to increase the supply of affordable homes both for purchase and for rent in upstate New York.”

For more information, click here.

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