City looking to apply for State grant funding to foster housing and economic growth in Plattsburgh

(PLATTSBURGH- May 15th, 2024) - The City of Plattsburgh is in the process of completing a grant application that aims to restore and revitalize 2 Brinkerhoff Street, a vacant building that sits on a main intersection in Downtown Plattsburgh, into a boutique hotel and restaurant. Through the RestoreNY program, which was announced on February 21, 2024, $60 million dollars are available to support local efforts to transform blighted, underutilized structures into vibrant residential, commercial and mixed-use developments. An additional project, the restoration of 206 US Oval will be submitted as part of next year’s RestoreNY application. The City is holding a Public Hearing on Thursday May 16th at 5:30PM at City Hall.


What is the RestoreNY Program?

The 2023-24 State Budget provided new funding for the Restore New York Communities Initiative and gave Empire State Development (ESD) the responsibility of implementing this program for the sole purpose of revitalizing urban and rural areas, disadvantaged communities, and stabilizing neighborhoods. Municipalities, defined as counties, cities, towns, and villages are invited to submit a Request for Funding, due in May, for projects to demolish, deconstruct, rehabilitate and/or reconstruct vacant, abandoned, condemned, and/or surplus properties. 


An important goal of Restore NY is to revitalize urban centers, rural areas, and disadvantaged communities. It is anticipated that upon completion, the projects funded by Restore NY grants will attract individuals, families, industry and commercial enterprises to the municipality. It is further anticipated that the improved community and business climate will result in an increased tax base thereby improving municipal finances and the wherewithal to further grow the municipality’s tax and resource base, lessening its dependence on state aid. 


2024 City of Plattsburgh Project

2 Brinkerhoff Street

In February 2024, the owner of White Rainbow LLC met with City staff to inquire about the RestoreNY program. The owner expressed interest in submitting an application for converting 2 Brinkerhoff Street into a 10 room boutique hotel. Upon reviewing the details of this project, City Staff worked with the owner to submit a Letter of Interest to ESD. This project would convert a vacant building into a commercial space that would foster tourism in the City’s downtown area while adding jobs to the local economy. 


Future Projects

206 US Oval 

In late November, the Common Council agreed to withdraw its foreclosure proceedings and cancel the tax lien on the vacant and dilapidated property at 206 US Oval. City staff met with the property owner, Lake City Holdings LLC in December 2023 to determine a plan for leveraging State resources to convert the vacant property into residential or commercial space. The RestoreNY program was identified at the time as a compatible program and both parties agreed to pursue an application when the program was announced by the state. 


“When the topic of 206 US Oval was raised by the Council via the foreclosure proceedings, the city had two pathways: leave it as is or take ownership. Under no circumstances does it make sense for the city to take ownership of this property and then saddle our taxpayers with being both the property owner and developer,” says Mayor Rosenquest. “My team went to work to reach out to the property owner, community stakeholders, and potential developers to formulate a plan that would not only save this building from demolition, but to also find real options for renovation and a return to taxable status. At this time, we’ve been discussing alternatives with a reputable developer who's interested in working with the city to find viable options to restore the building with a focus on middle income housing,” says Mayor Rosenquest.


Because the project at 206 can be categorized under a special program designation within the RestoreNY program, the City is opting to work with the developer to reformulate the application and submit this project for future funding. This will be coordinated over the year with the property owner and interested developer for next year’s funding round.


When reviewing both projects for RestoreNY funding, City staff met with grant consultants Barton and Loguidice to discuss project eligibility and application competitiveness. Barton and Loguidice agreed that both projects were compatible with RestoreNY program guidelines. Community Development staff also reviewed the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and Proposed Zoning and Land Use update and determined both projects were in alignment with the goals and objectives of those plans. 


Cost to the City

The City of Plattsburgh will pay a $500 application fee for the project application submitted to the RestoreNY grant. The grant request being made to the state totals $2.5 million for the Brinkerhoff project. The RestoreNY program requires a 10% match of funds being requested. The match portion of the RestoreNY grants would be funded through the private contribution of the developers and not by the City. These funds would be “firmly committed” via a signed written agreement between the City and the Developer to provide the match amount upon successful award of the grant. If awarded grant funding, the Community Development Office would oversee the administration of the grant for successful project applications.


“This program is designed to be a public/private partnership and requires the municipality to be the program applicant in coordination with private partners. These partners are obligated, via programmatic agreements, to fund the project at the time of award. For anyone claiming ‘free money’ for bad actors is either grossly misinformed or hasn’t taken the time to research the facts,” adds Rosenquest.


Future Projects and Community Input

As per the RestoreNY program guidelines, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was not required to select projects for this program. A memo was provided to the City’s Common Council on April 29th outlining the projects that were being considered for applications. Regardless of the outcome of the grant applications for these two proposed projects, the City of Plattsburgh will continue to work collaboratively with local and regional developers, land owners, business owners, and the general public to leverage state resources to transform vacant, blighted and underutilized properties in the City into viable housing and commercial development opportunities. It is only through this partnership that our community will be able to achieve its goal of becoming a thriving City.


The City plans to utilize its public engagement platform in the future to gather more community feedback on potential future projects and also invites landowners, businesses owners and developers to contact the City’s Community Development office to learn more about programs and opportunities. Please email or call 518 536 7642. A public hearing will be held on Thursday May 16th at 5:30PM at 41 City Hall Place for those who wish to ask questions or provide comments.