Old Poughkeepsie factory gets new life as housing, arts studio

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Hudson River Housing held the grand opening of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory to show off the tremendous amount of rehabilitation work to the building that was built in 1874 as Poughkeepsie’s Live Oak Leather Manufactury on North Cherry Street. It also once housed a worldwide distributor of undergarments known as the Queen Undermuslin Company starting in 1904.
Several major funding sources helped Hudson River Housing turn a factory, vacant since the 1980s, into a multiple use facility that includes an open kitchen, North River Roasters Coffee Shop, an artist studio, 15 apartments, and an open kitchen and prep space. 
Mayor Robert Rolison is thrilled with what the project means.
“It’s another part of the rebirth of the City of Poughkeepsie,” Rolison said.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro concurred.
“The accomplishment symbolizes this city’s ability to continue to grow, to continue to revitalize, and it is a sense of place that provides hope and opportunity for people looking for housing, communal business space,” Molinaro said.

Rollison: “It’s another part of the rebirth of
the City of Poughkeepsie”

Well-equipped kitchen in an apartment

Federal and state historic tax credits in the amount of $1.8 million were added to funding from the State Empire State Development, NeighborWorks America, state Department of Environmental Conservation, and private donors to give Hudson River Housing the opportunity to help revitalize the city’s “Middle Main” area, according to Mayor Rob Rolison.
The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, known as PUF, has been reborn to serve many different functions. The Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen is a shared-use commercial kitchen that is available for rent on an hourly or daily basis for food entrepreneurs, caterers, food truck operators, and chefs seeking space for pop-up restaurants.  The North River Roasters & Coffee House will serve as a place for the community to gather.  The coffee company is creating jobs for local formerly homeless adults and youths from the area. The basement will house the Poughkeepsie Open Kitchen Prep and Storage space.
The Spark Media Project and Mill Street Loft, which are two of the Hudson Valley’s leading art organizations, will be merging and utilizing space in the factory on the third floor to foster youth arts programming. A printmaking/artist studio will be available on the second floor for artists of all backgrounds on a monthly basis.
Spread throughout the three top floors are 15 apartments including nine studios starting at $654 a month and six one-bedroom apartments with rents starting at $899 a month.

The central kitchen was a busy place for the dedication