City & Town of Batavia, GCEDC Launch Batavia Home Fund to Enhance Housing Stock
Posted by admin at 10:00 AM on Sep 8, 2023
BATAVIA – City of Batavia, Town of Batavia officials and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced the creation of the Batavia Home Fund (BHF), an incentive-styled program designed to improve and grow the area’s housing stock.
The fund was created to address shared housing goals and establish methods to fund beneficial activities to enhance the area’s housing stock, including investments to rehabilitate vacant and blighted buildings as well as the conversion of rental properties into single-family homes. Seed funding for the fund has been provided through a grant of $100,000 that was recently approved by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation, a GCEDC affiliate.
“Maintaining a vibrant, strong residential housing stock within the City helps to eliminate blight and encourage smart, sustainable growth,” said Batavia City Council President Eugene (Geno) Jankowski, Jr. “The creation of such a fund furthers the City's strategic goal of enhancing our housing stock as we have recently experienced through investments to create residential units at City View Residences and Liberty Square.”
“The Batavia Home Fund compliments the Town's focus on agricultural, commercial, and industrial growth,” said Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post. “It’s important that as we continue to generate investment from these sectors with our economic development and public sector partners, we will have quality housing stock for the people who are pursuing these careers.”
Multi-Family Residential Projects Will Benefit Fund
The Batavia Home Fund will be supported by host benefit agreements with developers and homebuilders for future multi-family housing projects in the City and Town. Projects will be considered by a committee of City, Town and GCEDC officials to determine how funds raised will be utilized.
The new program mimics the successful Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (B2P) program, which enables brownfield remediation projects with funding from projects with a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement (PILOTs) in the City of Batavia.
“With the successful remediation of brownfield sites in the City, we believe the next step in Batavia’s growth is to provide a more robust offering of housing options,” said Batavia City Manager Rachael Tabelski. “The intent of the Batavia Home Fund is to encourage and incent developers and homebuilders to view Batavia as a market opportunity and in turn work with community stakeholders to identify areas where housing options can be developed.”
Fund Supports Residential Demand, Manufacturing Growth
GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde said the City and Town-led effort supports public demand for housing investments and the capacity for a growing manufacturing workforce to contribute to the economy and community.
From 2015-2020, Genesee County’s private sector employment increased 4.4% along with Batavia’s food and beverage sector growing to almost 1,000 employees. These statistics and data support the county’s need of approximately 4,800 units over the next 20 years as determined in a housing study conducted by Labella Associates in 2018.
“Improving Batavia and Genesee County’s housing stock will only enhance manufacturing growth opportunities,” Hyde said. “With our food and beverage cluster nearing 1,000 workers at the Agri-Business Park and Plug Power and Edwards Vacuum set to hire hundreds of engineers, technicians, and operators at STAMP, this fund is ideally suited to attract and retain talented professionals so they can live in close proximity to their places of employment and contribute meaningfully to our community.”