The new ownership of Niagara Towers and Urban Park Towers apartment buildings is looking to carry out renovation work.
Orbach Affordable Housing Solutions, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., bought both properties with the intention of rehabilitating them. The 200-unit Niagara Towers is at 910 Cedar Ave., Niagara Falls, and the 150-unit Urban Park Towers is at 77 Main St., Lockport.
Orbach’s counsel Stephen Yonaty said the towers will be rehabilitated inside and out, and new emergency systems will be installed due to the number of false alarms going out to police and fire departments. Orbach’s investment is ballparked at $60,000 to $80,000 per apartment unit.
“I think it’s going to be a benefit to the whole community,” Yontary said, “and definitely for the residents.”
Both sites are described as affordable housing projects targeting seniors with income of 60% or less of area median income. Niagara Towers was developed in 1980 and Urban Park Towers was built in 1978. Both properties last received renovations in 2007.
To help finance the new round of renovations, Orbach has asked the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency to issue tax-exempt bonds.
For Niagara Towers, Orbach is seeking tax exempt bonds totaling $19.3 million, tax credit equity worth $10.9 million, and a seller’s note worth $4.39 million. Total planned construction costs are $34.9 million and planned permanent costs add up to $39.3 million.
For Urban Park Towers, Orbach is seeking tax exempt bonds worth $16.5 million, along with tax credit equity of $7.9 million and a seller’s note of $5.29 million. Planned constructions costs are $29.7 million and planned permanent costs total $33.59 million.
Both properties have existing house assistance payment contracts with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for all units, and these contracts will be extended for another 20 years.
NCIDA board member Clifford Scott, who is also the executive director of Niagara Falls Housing Authority, said previously that Niagara Towers is a troubled asset with a history of troubled landlords and security issues and the IDA should be careful about who it works with.
At each property, Orbach intends to do rehab in place, meaning work in the apartment units will be done while tenants are out for the day, so that they come back to fully finished interiors.
Orbach currently operates 30 rental housing properties across the country, accounting for 5,351 apartment units and 12,069 tenants, according to its website. The company also owns and operates Tonawanda Towers in Tonawanda.
Representatives of Orbach could not be reached to comment on the rehab plans for Niagara Towers and Urban Park Towers.