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Liberty Gardens’ renovation moves onto second phase

By Traci DeLore

Date:

ROME — The first phase of revitalization at the Liberty Gardens housing development in Rome is just about complete, with work set to begin on the second phase this fall.

Omni Housing Development LLC is the Albany–based company overseeing the revitalization project. The Rome Housing Authority operates Liberty Gardens, a low- to moderate-income housing development.

Liberty Gardens first opened in 1952, and while repairs have been done and appliances have been upgraded, there has never been a significant renovation of the development, which includes 180 units.

Under the $13.4 million Phase I of the revitalization project, three of the two-story buildings have been renovated with new insulation, updated kitchens and bathrooms, new entry doors, new plumbing and electrical, and other improvements.

“It needed to be completely renovated or it wasn’t going to continue to function much longer,” Omni COO Duncan Barrett says. The buildings had major structural and mechanical issues, all of which are being addressed during the renovations, he notes.

A total of 78 units were renovated in the first phase, and Omni added handicapped-accessible units, something that was lacking before, Barrett says.

The second phase of the project, set to start later this month, will renovate 50 units in three other buildings. Charles A. Gaetano Construction Corp. of Utica is construction manager. Rida Architecture Pllc, 3tarchitects, Bergmann Associates, and Friedman Fisher Associates, PC — all with offices in Albany — have all provided architecture and engineering services. Serway Cabinet Trends in Rome is producing all the cabinets for the units.

Omni is following leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) for homes guidelines in the design and construction of the project. LEED elements include Energy Star-rated appliances and lighting, no- and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and adhesives, and high-albedo shingles designed to reflect sunlight. Landscaping includes rain gardens that reduce runoff from the site and the use of native plants that will not require watering.

Along with the renovations, Omni also broke ground in late August on a 6,000-square-foot community building that will include 1,600 square feet of open community space, a kitchen, a central laundry room, and a computer lab with wireless Internet access.

The building should open in early 2013, while the entire second phase of the project will take between nine and 12 months to complete.

Funding for the project has come from the Rome Housing Authority, M&T Bank, Community Preservation Corporation, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The project also received a state Public Housing Modernization Grant, Housing Trust Funds, and Weatherization Funds. Hudson Housing Capital, LLC and JP Morgan Capital Corporation invested the low-income housing tax credit equity.

If funding lines up, Omni has planned a third phase of the project that will renovate the last two buildings at Liberty Gardens, but Barrett says he is unsure of the timeline as it is funding-dependent.

Albany–based Omni Housing Development LLC (www.omnidevelopment.com), with affiliated companies Omni Development Company, Inc., and Omni Management Group, Ltd., provide a host of services including project feasibility and market analysis, project financing assistance, financial and land-use planning and analysis, design/build, and facility management.    

 

Contact DeLore at tdelore@tmvbj.com

 

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