Established in 1997, StoreWorks funded the rehabilitation of small, vacant, mixed-use buildings owned by New York City and restored them to private ownership and active use. Rehabilitation of these buildings created affordable rental housing and gave individuals the opportunity to own mixed-use buildings. Rehabilitation was financed with a combination of loans from private lenders and partial financing from New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). At certain times, the program also used financing insured by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 203K program. The city also provided a partial tax abatement for a period of twenty years.
Neighborhood Housing Services, a non-profit organization, oversaw the design and rehabilitation of the buildings, and marketed them to individual buyers. The buildings were priced at market levels, and there were no income limits for buyers or price or income limits for renters of apartments or stores. A preference was given to purchasers intending to be residential or commercial occupants, in addition to other preferences required by HPD marketing rules.