The Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a third variance extension requested related to the Gateway Lofts Project.
Southern Tier Environments for Living‘s Attorney, Charles Grieco, submitted the extension request for two variances; one regarding the number of proposed parking spaces and one regarding proposed automotive use setbacks on the parcels associated with the project on Water Street. Both variances had been granted back in 2020 and were granted an extension in 2021 and 2022.
Grieco said this is a very complicated project that includes a series of older structures with environmental contamination, “Because of the environmental clean-up, we’re in the Brownfield Clean-Up Program. We have to work with DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) through that process. That’s an ongoing process. We just submitted a new work plan to the DEC two days ago that they had requested. And because of the type of housing that we’re talking about here, there’s state approvals that are needed, state funding that we’re relying on, private financing that we’re relying on that are all still things that are in process.”
Grieco said the site plan approval has also received an extension from the city.
STEL Director of Real Estate Development Steven Ald said the project remains critical for both STEL and Community Helping Hands, “STEL has borrowed over a $1 million so far against the potential of this project, so STEL would be in a hard way if we gave up on this. And Community Helping Hands would lose their place of business, they would be out of business I believe, as would St. Susan’s Kitchen.”
Ald said both organizations are committed to moving forward once financing is in place. He said the various tax credits are the “sticking point” right now, given that there are four different kinds the project is trying to take advantage of, “We have Brownfield tax credits, we have State Historic tax credits, we have federal historic tax credits, and, of course, the largest is the housing tax credits. Investors are used to seeing simpler deals. With just the housing tax credit, they’re kind of gravitating toward those deals. Whenever difficult economic times are around, they want the simplest deals possible. Here, we have a pretty complex deal.”
Ald added there are two different investor pools looking at the project now as well.
The Jamestown Planning Commission approved the project in June 2020. Grieco said the estimated costs are now $42 million to complete all aspects of the project.
The Gateway Lofts project calls for creating 110 total units, although 56 of them would be intended for homeless individuals who currently don’t have any other long-term housing options available. That means a total of 54 new units would be intended for renters, most of which would be on low or fixed income.
STEL is hoping to start construction on the project in mid-2024.