Woodstock Commons and the Lace Factory
Rural Ulster Preservation Company
Woodstock, New York
Rural Ulster Preservation Company (RUPCO) was named one of only 17 organizations nationwide to earn full green organizational accreditation from the office of Housing and Urban Development. High environmental standards are important in these and all RUPCO developments. “Our preservation efforts go beyond buildings,” said Joan Lawrence-Bauer, director of communication and resource development for RUPCO. “By protecting the environment, we ensure that people will be able to enjoy these properties for generations to come.” RUPCO is one of many CHC repeat borrowers.
Made famous by the historic music festival in 1969, Woodstock, N.Y. has been a haven for artists of all types for more than a century. However, in this town where wealthy people have second homes, the high cost of housing often forces struggling artists to live in substandard housing. “Some were living in a tent city or in cabins with no running water,” said Lawrence-Bauer.
Town leaders are very familiar with the quality of RUPCO’s work and selected them to develop a 28-acre vacant parcel near the business district. RUPCO navigated a ten-year process of local approvals before breaking ground on Woodstock Commons. Opened in January 2013, it was the first new affordable housing in Woodstock in 30 years.
CHC provided RUPCO with a revolving line of credit to cover pre-development expenses and bridge financing for new construction of 53 affordable apartments. Twelve units are reserved for working artists, and 20 are reserved for low- and very-low-income seniors. Working families and individuals make up the rest. All residents earn below 60 percent of the area median income; some earn as little as 30 percent.
While high green environmental standards are an important component of all RUPCO developments, so is creating a natural setting that will be enjoyed for generations to come. In keeping with that commitment, the buildings at Woodstock Commons take up less than one-third of the site. The remainderis designated “forever wild” and will remain forested and protected. Lawrence-Bauer describes the many benefits to the community. “People from town take nature walks and hikes on the grounds. Having children in this development is helping to keep schools open,” she said. “Some of our residents volunteer at the library. It’s all about community.”
CHC also provided RUPCO with a line of credit to cover pre-development expenses and bridge financing for the Lace Factory property, a 19th-century mill structure located in the mid-town section of Kingston, NY. The Lace Factory had functioned as a warehouse for the past two decades. When repurposing and restoration is complete, the Lace Factory will add 55 new units of low- and very-low-income housing, giving priority to people who make their living in the arts. All units will be handicap adaptable. The existing subterranean boiler room will be developed as a community studio and gallery space. Amenities for the arts community and a community sculpture garden will complement the interior gallery space.