Applications open for round two of Restore New York

Originally published in WNYPapers.com on November 01, 2022.

Program promotes revitalization of communities by redeveloping or eliminating blighted structures 

√ Letters of intent due by Nov. 30; applications available here

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the second round of Restore New York grant program applications are open. The $250 million program encourages community development and neighborhood growth through the elimination and redevelopment of blighted structures.

This round of funding makes $150 million in grants available to municipalities to support projects that focus on demolishing, rehabilitating and restoring residential, commercial and mixed-use buildings. The program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls, and increase the local tax base.

Letters of intent are due by Nov. 30. Applications for the second round are available here.

"Revitalizing our communities starts with investing in the historic buildings that have long formed the backbone and character of our neighborhoods," Hochul said. "Restore New York funding gives localities the resources to transform abandoned and neglected properties into modern, 21st-century buildings. By helping to rebuild and strengthen communities across the state, we will stimulate local economies and continue to build back New York better and stronger."

Hochul’s team said, “The goal of Restore New York is to help attract residents and businesses by redeveloping residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties. Each project should align with the regional strategic plan of the Regional Economic Development Council, and projects should be either architecturally consistent with nearby and adjacent properties or consistent with the municipality's local revitalization or urban development plan.

“Funding can be used for vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus buildings, and these properties can be demolished, deconstructed, rehabilitated or reconstructed. Emphasis will be placed on projects in economically distressed communities, projects that leverage other state or federal redevelopment funds, and the project's feasibility and readiness.”

Eligible applicants include counties, cities, towns and villages within New York based on the following:

√ Cities over 100,000 in population may apply for up to $5 million for one project. However, cities of over 1 million in population and counties therein must apply for projects in a distressed area of the city;

√ Cities and villages with populations between 40,000 and 99,999 may apply for one project up to $3 million; and

√ All other municipalities may apply for one project up to $2 million.

Empire State Development may grant a limited number of special awards. Municipalities with populations of 100,000 or less, and counties with populations of 400,000 or less, may apply for an additional $10 million to put toward a second separate project – or toward part of a larger project, in addition to the funding limits listed above.

Hochul’s team said, “Special projects are where the property causes severe economic injury to the community, leaving a highly visible and blighted property, or properties in the central business district of a highly or moderately distressed community, which has a depressing effect on the overall economic development potential of the community.”

An intent to apply form must be received by ESD by Wednesday, Nov. 30. Applications are due by Jan. 27, 2023. For more detailed information on the program and requirements, visit https://esd.ny.gov/restore-new-york.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Restore New York gives municipalities the support they need to create real change in their communities, especially downtown centers. Revitalizing and rehabilitating older buildings has a way of unveiling a neighborhood's former charm and future potential, and though Restore New York, localities have a real opportunity to transform their community and generate new economic opportunities."

New York State Sen. Anna M. Kaplan said, "Blighted structures are a scar on our community and a drain on local resources, so every time we can revitalize a property and get it back on the tax rolls, it's a win for all of us. The Restore NY program will combat blight and help our communities recover from the pandemic era, and I urge every municipality to learn more and apply for funds to help move New York forward."

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov and esd.ny.gov.