Omni Development Taps into Downtown Residential Market

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For Immediate Release
October 26, 2015
Rebecca Haizmann, Communications Coordinator
518.465.2143 x10

Photo credit: Downtown Albany Business Improvement District

The ribbon cutting for Omni Development Company's Steuben Place Apartments was held on October 26, 2015. From left: NYS Senator Neil D. Breslin, I. David Swawite, president and CEO of Omni Companies, Assemblymember John McDonald, Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, Lisa Aronowitz, Mark Aronowitz, vice president Real Estate Services for Omni Development, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Sarah Reginelli, president of Capitalize Albany Corporation and CEO of City of Albany Industrial Development Agency, Chris Leo, vice president NYS Homes & Community Renewal, and Georgette Steffens, executive director of Downtown Albany Business Improvement District.

Omni Development Taps into Downtown Residential Market

Apartment Investment Quick to Attract Tenants

ALBANY, NY … The City of Albany, Omni Development Company, Inc. (Omni), Capitalize Albany Corporation, the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency, and Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) held a grand opening of the Steuben Place Apartments, located at 40 Steuben Place (58 N Pearl Street), on Monday, October 26, 2015 at 10:30 AM. Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan and Mark Aronowitz, vice president real estate services for Omni were joined by Sarah Reginelli, president of Capitalize Albany Corporation and CEO of the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency, Georgette Steffens, executive director, Downtown Albany BID and Chris Leo, vice president of NYS Homes and Community Renewal’s Office of Community Renewal formally opened the residential conversion.

The project is Omni’s first market-rate residential project. The $4.9 million mixed-use conversion turned a vacant Class C office building into 29 studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units with ground-level retail space. Using the historic property as the framework, the company incorporated modern design elements. The layout and philosophy have worked; since leasing began in August, 18 units have been spoken for, and 45 percent of completed apartments are occupied. Construction of remaining units is expected to be completed in November.

 â€œThe transformation seen here in a building steeped in history epitomizes the dedication being shown to this City’s future while simultaneously maintaining our unique architecture,” said Mayor Sheehan. “I commend Omni for their active role in Albany’s future and their investment in our newest neighborhood.”

Historically, the building served as office space for the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, commonly known as D&H, at a time when the railroad business was thriving. Later, the property housed various state agencies before being purchased by Omni in October 2014. The additional market-rate units now represented at this location add to a growing neighborhood, which, according to a Zimmerman Volk study, can support 100-200 new units annually over the next decade.

“Maintaining the integrity and historical architecture of this building was a critical component of this project,” says I. David Swawite, president and CEO of Omni Companies. “Taking a 100-plus-year-old building and transforming it into a one-of-a-kind property representing Downtown’s bright future is something of which we are very proud. We couldn’t have completed this project without the financial foresight of our partners, including the New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Regional Economic Development Council, Capitalize Albany Corporation, and Berkshire Bank.”

James S. Rubin, commissioner/CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, "HCR is proud of the role we’ve played in making Albany a 24-hour community. This revitalization project includes affordable and market rate apartments that bring residents and businesses downtown. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, HCR is working side-by-side with public and private partners like Omni and the City of Albany on projects like Steuben Place that breathe new life into communities."

Over half of residential conversion projects completed in downtown Albany to date have received assistance from the State, through New York State Homes and Community Renewal.  The funding is taking blighted, vacant buildings and breathing new life through the creation of apartments and commercial spaces, bringing new residents, neighborhood services and amenities, and new jobs to Downtown.  These conversion projects have also assisted in lowering the central business district’s vacancy rate by 2% in just one year.

“The opening of the Steuben Place Apartments is yet another great step for the City of Albany,” said Senator Neil Breslin.  “We continue to see new investments made in both commercial and residential spaces throughout the Capital City, further demonstrating that Albany is a city on the rise. I commend Omni Development for bringing this important project to fruition.”

As part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, the project received New York State Main Street Grant monies which resulted in three affordable units, with additional funding made available through Berkshire Bank.  New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s (HCR) New York Main Street Funds were granted to Capitalize Albany to help renovate the commercial space as part of the fourth round of the Consolidated Funding Application. This project was also made possible in part due to financial assistance provided by the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency in the form of mortgage recording, sales and real property tax abatement.

“The momentum in Albany is undeniable,” said Reginelli, president of Capitalize Albany Corporation and CEO of the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency. “We are thrilled to have Omni stepping into the Downtown residential arena and providing mixed-use opportunities during a critical growth period for both the residential and retail markets. As implementation of Impact Downtown Albany continues, we are capturing Albany’s potential through dedicated stakeholders like Omni Development, support from our economic development partners, and Governor Cuomo’s visionary understanding that creating strong urban centers leads to regional economic growth.”

“Today is another great day for our District as we celebrate new, modern apartments, as well as our newest Downtown residents,” said Steffens. “This transformational undertaking represents not just this project, but what lays ahead for our Capital City. As we welcome these neighbors, it is another chance to highlight our 24/7 community that features world-class dining, arts, and entertainment. As our District’s largest property owner, Omni has long understood the value of investing here, and it is exciting to see their first foray into Downtown residential come to fruition.”

Showings are ongoing, with units now available for occupancy. To schedule an appointment, contact Lisa Aronowitz at 518.650.4500 or email Featuring 11’ ceilings and spacious living area, custom California Closets, fully-equipped modern kitchen, original wood trim and wainscoting hardwood floors, large windows, and passenger and freight elevators, units range in price from $950 to $1,900 and include parking, high-speed internet, wifi, cable, dedicated storage space, and an on-site 24-hour fitness center. The 2,600-square-foot ground-level retail space will a house Downtown market slated to open late fall.

During the event, thanks were expressed to Darius Shahinfar, City of Albany Treasurer, Tracy Metzger, chairperson of the IDA Board, and Jeffrey Sperry, Capitalize Albany Corporation boardmember for their support.

About Capitalize Albany Corporation:
A catalyst for economic growth, Capitalize Albany Corporation facilitates transformational development projects, serving as the City of Albany’s economic development organization. A registered 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization implementing programs and resources to create, retain, and attract business in the City of Albany.

About the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency:
Its mission is to assist in the enhancement and diversity of the economy of the City of Albany (the “City”) by acting in support of projects in the City that create and/or retain jobs and/or promote private sector investment utilizing the statutory powers of the Agency as set forth under the provisions of the laws of the State of New York.

About the Downtown Albany BID:
From international corporations, regional giants and locally owned proprietors, downtown Albany is more than business as usual. Accented by the powerful currents of the Hudson River to the motivating forces in the State Capitol, downtown Albany stands in good company with some of the greatest names in business today. Over 250 companies call downtown Albany home and signs like IBM, Microsoft and Windstream are seen throughout our historic streets. Since 1996, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) has worked to restore, promote and maintain the character and vitality and improve the quality of life and overall image of Downtown for those who work in, live in and visit the Capital City of the most famous state in the world. The Downtown Albany BID is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information about the Downtown Albany BID please visit | @AlbanyBID or call 518.465.2143.

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