Habitat for Humanity officially announced yesterday they will be breaking ground at 150, 152, 154, & 156 Ann Street. The homes, which are sponsored by faith-based organizations, are located at the corner of South Johnston Street, right next to the old Broadway Armory.
This location is ripe for new development. One block north is Broadway, and to the east is the Ann Street Gallery, new park Safe Harbors Green, the Ritz Theater, and Liberty Street – with established businesses and new ventures coming to the scene. For as long as I have known this lot, it has always been empty.
The only original home at this corner is to the left. It was once a burned out shell but has been rehabilitated for years now. The owners were in for quite a shock when they bought it at auction sight unseen, only to find out the cute-sounding house with 8 fireplaces was actually a building with no roof, no windows and missing floors in what people were calling the “hooker district“. This corner has come a long way.
There is still room to do more here. Diagonal the the Habitat site is 147 Ann Street, which also suffered a fire according the 1980 historic district inventory report. It is in horrible shape – from roof to foundation. But it has beautiful cast iron lintels and eyebrow windows which have been better highlighted next door at 145 Ann. It also has a storefront that could become an office or shop. On South Johnston Street there are abandoned carriage houses and garages that are in danger of collapsing at any moment.
According to Habitat, their Newburgh homeowners contribute nearly $390,000 per year in school and city taxes. They have helped 95 families become homeowners.
View of Ann Street facing east, with the Ann Street Gallery up ahead at the left.
View of 147 and 145 Ann Street, diagonal from the Habitat site.
Sometime around the turn of the last century my grandfather, an Italian immigrant bought the building at 221 Ann Street, where he lived with my grandmother for more than fifty years. At one time all the other apartments in the building were occupied by his married daughters. After my grandfather’s death one of my uncles administered the building, where three of his sisters still lived, until it was no longer financially feasible and the building was sold. As a little girl I remember chasing chickens behind the building, and a grape arbor. They slaughtered a cow (and possibly a pig, though my memory is hazy on this) once a year for their own use. There are a lot of stories about 221 Ann Street that I’ve been meaning to write down. The building is still occupied, from what I can tell, but it’s not in great shape. I think all this restoration work, trying to breathe life back into the city (and Ann Street, for the nostalgia of it) is excellent. If I didn’t live so far away I would be pleased to pitch in.
It’s a very good thing for that location.
I would like to suggest to Habitat for Humanity that they add a clawback clause to their homeowners mortgage that prohibits any Habitat owner from conducting drug sales from their property or belonging to any organized gangs.
I have heard that there are problems with this in City of Newburgh with at least one previous property. They should be able to take the property back immediately when a property owner goes into the drug business or participates in gang activity by allowing the property to be used in any way by a gang. .
No can do. H4H sells these properties through a local institution usually, based on what I’ve seen, at market price. Asset seizure can be applied by legal means after a conviction wherein it is permissible. The caveat, the house becomes vacant and any innocent party needs to find alternative living arrangements. Newburgh would be a ghost town. How about enforcing criminal laws. Fwiw, most of the construction performed by H4H in the ‘Burgh has failed to raise the neighboring assessed values. Most of the new homeowners are underwater from day one. Why is that? Whats the goal?
It would be FAR better to have MARKET RATE homes being built. However, a marketing analysis would show that the cost and taxes would be prohibitive for the population that would consider the location habitable. The point is to populate the ghost town of City of Newburgh which is very sparsely populated….Habitat has found that it can offer a successful housing effort…with taxpayer subsidies. I was only pointing out that BECAUSE of the TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES, seems to me that an additional restriction could be added concerning the use of the property. Anything is Possible.
Along Broadway, from end to end, it would be shocking to see more than 60 people on the street walking around during work hours. How many blocks is that? There is basically no retail enviroment in the City that would interest potential stores as the residents during the week have only the type of needs that are fulfilled already–hair, deli, phone, fast food, Dollar store, lunch etc. So it is residential development that has to happen before the normalization comes.
These new houses are at market rate, built by volunteers as well. Some of the material is donated, what isn’t is tax exempt. Where are the subsidies in this case? I disagree regarding Broadways retail environment. Yes it is saturated with beauty care, pizza joints etc., as are most towns and cities in the U.S. (btw, what do they have in common). However, there are specialty stores that people do in fact patronize. Since their recent openings, I have patronized at Hales Hardware and Rag Haus print shop, among others. Thanks in large part to Cher posting their openings.
As the world’s gdp is demonstrating, U.S. included, an increased population does necessarily reciprocate to the latter. Residential development without a sound economy driving it is nothing more than a warehousing of the masses. Sound money, less taxes and less regulations has to happen to return to “normalization” as I define it.