KINGSTON, N.Y. >> RUPCO has spent just under $2 million to buy the former Metropolitan Life Hall of Records building on South Prospect Street, which is to house a TV/filmmaking production center headed by actress Mary Stuart Masterson.
Masterson’s Stockade Works operation is to be part of a larger project called The Metro, which is under review by the Kingston Planning Board.
Besides Stockade Works, The Metro is to have rent-paying tenants that RUPCO calls “makers,” which could include such craftspeople as chocolatiers, candle makers and handbag designers.
Stockade Works and other tenants are to occupy up to 70,000 square feet in the building at 2 S. Prospect St.
Already secured as tenants are local enterprises Chronogram and Steintex, according to RUPCO.
RUPCO, an affordable housing agency making its first foray into a project that doesn’t include a residential component, says The Metro will be a “community wealth-building” endeavor that “focuses on creating jobs while producing materials and value-added products/services within a community, instead of outsourcing those same products and sending hard-earned local dollars out of the region.”
RUPCO says it has entered a strategic partnership with Stockade Works, which would be a non-profit entity specializing in media attraction, production and training based in the Hudson Valley. Masterson lives in neighboring Dutchess County.
“The opportunity to once again repurpose a fallow, vacant building — this time through a community wealth-building approach to bring a mix of creative uses, all with the purpose of creating local jobs and capturing local wealth — is very exciting,” Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO’s chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.
“This project is about creating opportunity for everyone,” O’Connor said. “We’re combing our expertise in rehabilitating and managing old buildings with Stockade Works’ creative vision and drive.”
RUPCO previously rehabilitated the Lace Mill building on Cornell Street in Midtown Kingston, creating living and working spaces for artists; and the former Kirkland Hotel at Main Street and Clinton Avenue in Uptown Kingston, which now has commercial and residential space.
The agency also plans to put up a residential/commercial building called Energy Square at the site of the shuttered Mid-City Lanes bowling alley on Cedar Street in Midtown. And it wants to turn the former Alms House building on Flatbush Avenue into apartments, though the agency has been denied the city zoning change that’s necessary for that project to move forward.
Of The Metro, O’Connor said: “This is a new venture for all of us, and we are not sure what the final mix of creative uses will be. The goal is to work collaboratively to build and keep the wealth local.”
Masterson said in a press release issued by RUPCO that Stockade Works is “excited to partner” with the agency “to realize our vision for a community media hub to further education and innovation to ready the local workforce for jobs in film, television, and technology.”
RUPCO purchased the South Prosect Street building through a mortgage issued by the Leviticus Fund. The total cost of creating The Metro is expected to be $14 million.
RUPCO plans to use a variety of funding sources, including federal New Market Tax Credits and state and federal historic tax credits.
The agency has nominated the South Prospect Street building for inclusion on the state and federal registers of historic places.
The Metro was named a 2016 “signature priority project” by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, according to RUPCO.
Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said in a prepared statement that The Metro is “an exciting step forward for RUPCO, Stockade Works and for our community at large. This building … will no longer sit vacant. Instead, it will be bustling with innovation and purpose, empowering our local residents to access training, employment, and entrepreneurship.”