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Rochester, NY (January 17, 2019) – It is with great honor that Conifer announces the recent promotions of Barbara Ross and Sam Leone.

Ross BarbarawebMs. Ross has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Human Resources. She began her career with Conifer in 2017, joining the Team with over 20 years of human resources expertise that she gained from previous positions at Monroe Muffler Brake, Chobani and Constellations Brands, Inc. Executive Vice President, Joan Hoover, says of Ms. Ross, "she is a true professional and owns a strong record in shaping human resource business strategy, providing Conifer the leadership needed to elevate us to another level."

Leone Samweb

Sam Leone, who has been with Conifer since 2007, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Development where he will lead Conifer’s Development Team. He has played a critical role in the development of well over 40 Conifer Communities across New Jersey, Pennsylvania and most recently, Maryland. “Sam’s extensive experience in development and construction, along with a unique talent for leading collaborative efforts both within the Company as well as with our partners, are among the impressive qualifications Sam brings to his new role,” said Executive Vice President, Joan Hoover.

Conifer is fortunate to have dedicated team members who are experts in their roles leading the charge. It is because of them that Conifer can do what we do, better. 



December 04, 2018 - Owners Developers & Managers

Peconic Crossing Ribbon Cutting 2

Pictured above (from left) are: Brian Dowling, CIO, Community Development Trust; councilwoman Jodi Giglio; councilwoman Catherine Kent; Steve Ballone, Suffolk County executive; councilman Tim Hubbard; Joan Hoover, executive VP, Conifer Realty, LLC; Kathy Hochul, lieutenant governor of NY; Laura Jens-Smith, town supervisor, Riverhead; Gwen O’Shea, president & CEO, Community Development Corp. of LI; Kevin Law, CEO, Long Island Associaton and co-chair, LI Regional Economic Development Trust; Betsy Mallow, executive deputy commissioner & COO, NYS Homes and Community Renewal; and David Calone, Community Development Corp. of LI board member and Jove Equity Partners.

Riverhead, NY On November 19th, the governor’s office of Storm Recovery joined lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul to open the $18.3 million Peconic Crossing, an affordable housing development with 45 apartments that provides a preference in occupancy to New Yorkers displaced by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. Located on West Main St., the development also invites the residency of local artists and will help further the area’s economic revitalization. The community was impacted by the 2011 and 2012 storms, with 1,340 rental units throughout Suffolk County damaged or destroyed. The project is a joint venture of The Community Development Corp. of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty, LLC.

Hochul said, “Long Island was heavily impacted by storms that hit New York in 2011 and 2012, damaging and destroying housing and infrastructure and displacing residents. Peconic Crossing’s affordable housing adds 45 apartments to the town of Riverhead for residents who were displaced by the storms and serves low and moderate-income New Yorkers. We’re rebuilding a resilient L.I. while partnering with local artists to further revitalize Riverhead’s economy. The project is part of our $20 billion housing plan to build and preserve housing and combat homelessness across the state.”???

NYS Homes and Community Renewal commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Peconic Crossing plays a significant role in the continued recovery, resiliency and growth of Riverhead. This complex is not only prioritizing occupancy for New Yorkers who have been affected by recent storms, but also cultivating a greater connection to art and culture in the community. Thank you to our many partners in the public, nonprofit and private sectors who have made this critical investment possible.”

Executive director of housing, buyout and acquisition programs at the governor’s office of Storm Recovery Thehbia Hiwot said, “Peconic Crossing reflects New York State’s commitment to community-driven recovery that applies the lessons from Superstorm Sandy to build back stronger and smarter. These affordable homes are designed to withstand another storm of Sandy’s magnitude while replacing rental housing stock that was damaged or destroyed in the storm.”

In direct response to the need for new and affordable housing, Peconic Crossing contains energy-efficient one- and two-bedroom apartments and was designed with resiliency in mind. As a result, there are no residential units on the first floor and all critical equipment has been placed above the base floor elevation.

Of its 45 units, a total of 40 of these apartments will serve low-income households, with the remaining five to serve moderate-income tenants.

Amenities include a fitness room, a community room, laundry facilities, a management office and 40 on-site parking spaces. The complex is adjacent to Grangebel Park, which was recently upgraded with more than $1 million in federal funding, adding to the vibrancy of the area. Main Street is also the focus of the town’s larger economic revitalization efforts, which aim to build upon and promote Riverhead’s historic character and attractions.

Executive vice president of Conifer Realty LLC, Joan Hoover said, “Conifer Realty and our partners at CDCLI are proud to be members of the Riverhead community. It is our mission and commitment to provide high-quality affordable homes that positively impact people’s lives, every day. Collaborating with East End Arts to provide our resident artists with a gallery to showcase their work demonstrates our commitment to further the local arts’ initiatives that have continued to play an important role in the revitalization of Downtown Riverhead. We thank our supporters at the Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County, and New York State, without whom, Peconic Crossing’s success would not have been possible.”

President and CEO of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island Gwen O’Shea said, “CDCLI is proud to partner with Conifer Realty, the East End Arts Alliance, the Town of Riverhead and Suffolk County on Peconic Crossing. Peconic Crossing is a fantastic example of how public/ private investment can support, sustain and revitalize local communities. Creating home, providing access to the arts and enhancing local businesses is a win for Riverhead and for Long Island. We are grateful to New York State for the tremendous financial commitment they have made to this project and this region.”

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone said, “Governor Cuomo has been a tremendous supporter of this project and a true partner in making Peconic Crossing a reality. This new development will generate economic activity and provide access to housing for those displaced by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.”

Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said, “Peconic Crossing is the culmination of multiple levels of government, and private organizations working together to help revitalize Riverhead’s Downtown. With preference given to victims of Superstorm Sandy, and artists these new residents will help to transform our Downtown through their creativity, and talent. Workforce housing like Peconic Crossing is key to our continued efforts to support our Downtown, and I am happy to welcome them to Riverhead.”

The project was supported by a variety of funding including $4.5 million in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding from GOSR. Additionally, it leveraged approximately $10 million in equity from federal low-income housing tax credits, received approximately $2.9 million from Community Development Trust, $67,500 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, $200,000 from CDCLI, $275,000 from Empire State Development and $350,000 from Suffolk County.

On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy stalled over Long Island, causing storm surges that in some instances measured 17 feet. According to estimates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the total cost of damages to the island’s housing and critical infrastructure, coupled with the costs of debris removal, totaled $8 billion.

Funding for projects like Peconic Crossing is provided in addition to the more than $1 billion GOSR has already disbursed to homeowners across Long Island to facilitate repairs, elevation, and reconstruction.

By Denise Civiletti - Nov 19, 2018, 6:34 pm

2018 1119 Peconic Crosssing 1

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and County Executive Steve Bellone helped snip a ceremonial red ribbon today to mark the completion of the Peconic Crossing affordable housing development in downtown Riverhead. Pictured, from left: Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Councilwoman Catherine Kent, Bellone, Councilman Tim Hubbard, Conifer Realty executive vice president Joan Hoover, Hochul, Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, CDC of Long Island president and CEO Gwen O'Shea and L.I. Association president Kevin Law. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Peconic Crossing, the 45-unit apartment building on West Main Street, is completed and fully occupied.

Rochester-based developer Conifer Realty, which partnered with Community Development Corporation of Long Island, celebrated the project’s completion today with ribbon-cutting ceremonies and the grand opening of a first-floor art gallery being managed by East End Arts.

State and local officials, including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, were on hand for the ceremonies.

Residents have been living at Peconic Crossing since September. The building has 20 two-bedroom apartments and 16 one-bedroom apartments. All are rent-controlled and tenants are required to meet income limits set forth by the N.Y. State Homes and Community Renewal agency which has granted low-income tax credits to investors in the project.
Maximum rents are based on affordability scales tied to median household incomes in Suffolk County, published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The lieutenant governor called the project “a model for other communities across the state.”

Hochul said as a former town planning board member, she understands “the delicate balance” of trying to meet the needs of existing residents while encouraging economic development.

As someone who doesn’t live in Riverhead, she said, she can see the town “with fresh eyes.”

“You come into town and you see the river, museums, the aquarium, the bread-and-butter mom-and-pop shops,” Hochul said. “It just gives it a sense of place, an authenticity that I feel here in Riverhead that is missing in many other communities,” she said.
“So those of you who call this community home, celebrate — because you have something very unique, not just a location on Long Island, one of the most wonderfully diverse communities in the state,” Hochul told the crowd assembled in the first-floor gallery space. “You have something unique here.”

Downtowns need to keep reinventing themselves to stay fresh and alive, the lieutenant governor said.

“The most important thing to keep a downtown alive, in my opinion, is to bring housing downtown,” Hochul said. “That is the lynchpin. That is the key. That is the secret sauce,” she said.

She commended Riverhead leaders for recognizing the importance of housing downtown and said she was shocked at how many communities have zoning that doesn’t allow it.

street view

Whether high-density multifamily housing on Main Street — five-story housing in particular — is appropriate for Main Street has been the subject of great debate in Riverhead, with Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and Councilwoman Catherine Kent advocating zoning code changes to end five-story construction and require the purchase of development rights to allow third and fourth stories on Main Street. The board is also working on rewriting the zoning code’s design guidelines for buildings downtown.
Jens-Smith, who followed Hochul to the podium today, said Riverhead has retained its “sense of place.” A building like Peconic Crossing “helps create that sense of place for our future,” she said.

“This building highlights everything that we want to be and where we’re looking to go,” she said. “It’s right next to our community garden... and a three-acre park. The views from here are outstanding. And then we get to celebrate the arts as well,” she said.

“Everything we want our town to be is sort of encapsulated in this project,” Jens-Smith said.

There were more than 900 applicants for the 45 rental apartments. Community Development Corporation of Long Island held a lottery in June to rank the applicants. Preference was given to artists and individuals displaced by SuperStorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. The ranked applicants then had to be screened and qualified.

Twelve of the 45 apartments have been rented to artists, according to the organization. There is a waiting list for vacancies that may become available.
The fifth floor features a common area with a deck overlooking Grangebel Park and the Peconic River, providing expansive views of the river, the park and the downtown area.

“It’s the first waterfront affordable housing project on Long Island, which is pretty cool,” said L.I. Association president Kevin Law, who also chairs the L.I. Regional Economic Development Council.

Residents in two apartments on the fifth floor agreed to allow their homes to be open for a tour today.

Larry Oxman, president of the L.I. Science Center, which sold the site to Conifer, said he was pleased with the result.

“The town was very lucky to have gotten Conifer,” Oxman said. Conifer Realty was the second developer with which the science center struck a deal. The first one opted not to go forward.

Conifer Realty, based in Rochester, specializes in the development, management and ownership of affordable housing communities. It is currently working on a 51-unit development in Southold Town, among others.

The first exhibit in the ground-floor gallery space showcases the paintings and sculptures of Gina Gilmour of Mattituck. The gallery will be run by East End Arts, whose gallery director Jane Kirkwood selected the works included in the gallery’s inaugural show. Gilmour’s work will be on exhibit for three months, with new exhibits mounted every three months thereafter, Kirkwood said today. The gallery will be open to the public.

“We’re excited to be partnering with CDC of Long Island and the Town of Riverhead,” East End Arts executive director Shawn Hirst said. East End Arts has its main gallery at 133 East Main St. and operates several satellite galleries, including one at the Jamesport Manor Inn. It also exhibits art at Riverhead Town Hall.

The Peconic Crossing gallery is spacious and, with large windows on Main Street, enjoys ample natural light.

“It’s a wonderful space to exhibit,” said Gilmour, whose oil paintings include outsize canvases that are difficult to show in East End Arts’ main gallery, housed in a converted 18th century home.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

by Tim Gannon | 11/20/2018 6:00 AM

CDC Gallery 2018

New York’s lieutenant governor and the Suffolk County executive joined local officials Monday for a “ribbon cutting” to celebrate the opening of Peconic Crossing, a 45-unit affordable rental project in downtown Riverhead.

“The most important thing to keep a downtown alive, in my opinion, is to bring housing downtown,” Ms. Hochul said.

The tenants actually moved in at the beginning of August, according to Community Development Corporation of Long Island president Gwen O’Shea. County Executive Steve Bellone and Kevin Law of the Long Island
Association also spoke.

The project, a joint venture of CDCLI and Conifer Realty, also gives preference to artists and people who were displaced by a storm, and it has an art gallery on the ground floor that is managed by East End Arts.

The introductory exhibit will feature work of a longtime, established painter, Gina Gilmour. Her art has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions across the country.

“Since early childhood, art making has been for me a means of processing my experience; a way to celebrate and to mourn, to rail against the intolerable and to navigate the mysterious,” Ms. Gilmour said in a statement.
For more information, visit

Photo caption: Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith speaks at a “ribbon cutting” ceremony Monday for Peconic Crossing. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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Woodfield Front Pic

Damascus, MD (November 12, 2018) – On Tuesday, November 13th, Woodfield Commons will be holding an Application Day to begin accepting applications for residency! This new Conifer Community is in the final stages of construction, with anticipated move-ins beginning next month. The event will be held at the American Legion Post 171 in Damascus, MD, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The address is 10201 Lewis Dr, Damascus, MD 20872.

Woodfield Commons is a brand-new, energy efficient, affordable apartment community, located in Damascus, Maryland. This community will provide its residents with brand new apartments that feature fully equipped kitchens with Energy Star rated appliances and fixtures, spacious floor plans, balconies with most units, a clubhouse with great room, fully equipped fitness room, computer lab, laundry center, and more! The Community is conveniently located near schools, shops and restaurants.

Woodfield Commons will begin officially accepting applications for their 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom affordable apartments on November 13th at 9:00 am. If someone cannot make it, applications can be submitted at the temporary leasing office which is located at 12410 Milestone Center Dr., Suite 607, Germantown, MD 20876.

Applicants must qualify, income restrictions apply, background check required. Please visit our website,, to download an application or visit our temporary leasing office at 12410 Milestone Center Dr., Suite 607, Germantown, MD 20876. Please do not visit the construction site as no leasing assistance is available on site. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.



By: Ben Jacobs
October 26, 2018

Abby Reinhard of GP Flooring Solutions and Timothy Fournier of Conifer Realty won the Small Business Council of Rochester’s 2018 Business Person of the Year awards Thursday at a luncheon at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Abby Reinhard Headshot cropped4 276x300Reinhard took ownership of GP Flooring Solutions, a full-service commercial flooring contractor, in January 2015. Since she purchased the company, it has more than tripled in revenue and number of employees.

“I didn’t plan this pun, but I’m floored,” Reinhard said in accepting the award in the Under 50 Employees category. “When I bought this company, I had no concrete evidence that I could be successful running a flooring business. ... I didn’t know if I was going to fall on my face.

“But I believed in my ability to learn and I think that’s the secret to our success is we have an entire amazing team that’s willing to get outside of their comfort zone because that’s the only place where growth happens.”

The other finalists in the Under 50 Employees category were Lindsay McCutchen of Career Start, Justin Smith of Brite Computers, Michael Tandoi of Tandoi Asphalt & Sealcoating, and Christine Vargas of Vargas Associates.


Fournier Tim 683x1024Fournier joined Conifer Realty in 1986 as its vice president of finance. He became president and CEO in 2006. He co-founded the nationwide Affordable Housing Developer Council and he’s the chair of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. In 2017, Conifer received the International Award for Corporate and Social Responsibility from the Institute of Real Estate Management for its work on the House of Mercy’s new homeless shelter.

“I’m humbled and honored to be selected from the finalists that sit up here with me,” Fournier said. “But it’s not about me today. I’m part of a game-changing organization, quite frankly. The depth and breadth of this organization amazes me every day. We actually are blessed as an organization because what we do every day makes a positive impact on people’s lives. I’m grateful that I get to go to work every day and experience that.”

The other finalists in the 50-plus Employees category were Melissa Geska of US Ceiling Corp, Pete Giovenco of Bergmann, Richard Plympton and Michael Mandina of Optimax Systems, and Candace Walters of HR Works.

The new rental community will feature 54 one-bedroom apartments for seniors aged 62 and older, with five units set aside for formerly homeless senior residents.

October 29, 2018
by Jeffrey Steele

20181024 cinnaminson

Real estate development company Conifer Realty LLC gathered with Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development Inc. (MEND) and New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on a $12.8 million age-restricted affordable rental community in Cinnaminson, N.J.

The three-story building, which is underway at 1410 Riverton Road in a residential area in Burlington County, will feature 54 one-bedroom apartments for seniors aged 62 and older who earn up to 60 percent of area median income. Five residential units will be set aside for formerly homeless senior residents. Apartment rents will range between $276 and $891 per month.

The township bought the 2.7-acre site—including the long-vacant Cinnaminson Home, a former assisted-living center that had to be demolished—more than a decade ago. The new rental community will feature a community room, computer room, fitness facility and laundry room.

“Affordable housing with ease of access to transportation and services for seniors is a priority for this administration,” said acting governor Sheila Y. Oliver, commission of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, in a prepared statement. “We want to make certain every older New Jerseyan has the opportunity to live and stay in their community, despite a low or fixed income.”

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) awarded developers competitive 9 percent federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), expected to generate $9.9 million in private equity. Other funding includes $440,000 in Burlington County HOME Funds, a $505,000 mortgage from Cinnaminson Township, and a $1.2 million mortgage loan from the Community Development Trust.

The LIHTC program has proved indispensable in New Jersey for the creation of affordable housing for seniors, families, special-needs residents as well as mixed-income developments. Since the program began in 1986, NJHFMA has awarded both four percent and nine percent tax credits for the creation of more than 19,600 housing units.

Transit Access

A bus stop situated within one-half mile of the apartment community will offer access to stores, dining, health care and social services along the major Burlington County corridor of Route 130. Residents will be able to partake of a full array of social services furnished by the Burlington County Board of Social Services and Center for Family Services. The development will also take part in NJHMFA’s Services for Independent Living Program, which strives to improve quality of life for residents living in the senior housing developments the agency finances.

Earlier this month, a partnership between Genesis Cos. and East Orange Housing Authority launched a $20 million rehabilitation at Vista Village Apartments, a former public housing facility in East Orange, N.J.

Rendering courtesy of NJHMFA

Owings Mills, MD (October 10, 2018) – Starting today, The Preserve at Red Run is now accepting applications! The Conifer Community is in the final stages of construction, with an anticipated completion date of November 2018.

exterior1 LR

The Preserve at Red Run is a brand-new, energy efficient, apartment community, located in Owings Mills, Maryland. The community is surrounded by a Forest Conservation area which provides a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. These spacious one, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes were designed for families in Northwestern Baltimore County, offering the best of location and amenities. Shopping, dining, entertainment, I-795, and so much more are just minutes from your front door.

The Preserve at Red Run is equipped with a beautiful community room, perfect for entertaining, as well as a fitness center and computer lab. Come fill out an application to join our community today!

Applicants must qualify, income restrictions apply, background check required. Please visit our website to download an application or visit our temporary leasing office at Morningside Senior Apartments, 104 Pleasant Ridge Drive, Ownings Mills, MD 21117. Please do not visit the construction site as no leasing assistance is available on site.

Frederick County Building Industry Association hosted its annual Awards of Excellence (AOE) Reception honoring outstanding individuals, organizations and companies. “Members can submit their best project to be measured against the standards of excellence.”

compressed exterior

Conifer Realty, LLC is happy to announce that their joint venture with Interfaith Housing Alliance, Inc. (IHA), Sinclair Way, received two awards at the 2018 Frederick County Building Industry Association Awards of Excellence Annual Reception on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Sinclair Way is a brand new, mixed-income rental community in historic downtown Frederick, MD. The development received the award for Best Multifamily Project and for Best Integration of Historical Feature.

“Without the support of Frederick and the State of Maryland, we would not be standing here today celebrating this wonderful apartment community,” said Sam Leone, Regional Vice President of Conifer Realty. “Interfaith Housing Alliance and Conifer are committed to increasing the supply and quality of affordable housing available in Maryland, for families, for seniors and disabled individuals.”

Sinclair Way Log Cabin Duringcompressed log cabin after

Bruce Zavos, President at Zavos Architecture + Design, commented, “Sinclair Way is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with vision from the developer, support from the city and state agencies and the creativity of the design team.” He added, “Creating affordable housing so that residents can work and live in the City of Frederick is something all involved should be very proud of.”

This community is a shining example of the IHA, Conifer, the City of Frederick, Frederick County, and the State, working together to address the undeniable need for additional affordable housing in Frederick.

Sinclair Way is situated on 1.6 acres of in-fill property between West Patrick and West South Streets, two main, east-west, arterial roads through the City. The development consists of the construction of 69 apartments in seven buildings, and the historic renovation of two vacant buildings into two apartments. Due to its location within the Frederick Town Historic Preservation District, the entire development was subject to a historic committee review. The careful placement and mix of building types, transformed the property from a vacant, overgrown lot, into an attractive housing community that reconnects the local community and historic fabrics of the overall downtown.

Nearly 13,000 new downtown rental units have been approved in the past 12 years, and another 10,000 are in the works.


Angelo Iannone, seen here on Monday, says The Vanderbilt in Westbury offers "everything that would be in a luxury New York City apartment building." Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

By Maura McDermott
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Updated July 13, 2018 6:00 AM

Long Island’s newest, most luxurious rentals are getting snapped up by affluent empty-nesters and young professionals seeking flexibility, convenience and hotel-like amenities such as pools, concierges and room service.

The demand for high-end rentals has driven up prices throughout the Island. In Nassau County, the average rent for units in multifamily buildings was $2,257 a month in the first three months of 2018, up 3.2 percent from a year ago and 27 percent from five years earlier, Manhattan-based real estate market research company Reis reported. Suffolk County rents have risen by about 2 percent in a year and 13 percent over five years, to an average $1,775 in western Suffolk and $1,654 in eastern Suffolk, according to Reis.

The growing number of rental complexes provides more options for Long Island apartment-hunters, though some planners say the supply still falls far short of demand, especially when it comes to rentals that are priced for recent college graduates, retirees, and people with low to moderate incomes.

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Hofstra students Jeffrey Rozanski and Monika Rivera, seen here on Tuesday, say their Hempstead apartment is more comfortable and economical than living in a dorm. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Communities such as Patchogue, Farmingdale and Mineola are “flourishing” in part because of new downtown rental buildings, said Richard Guardino, executive director of the Long Island Regional Planning Council. Still, he said, “we’re getting a significant increase in the stock of rental units, but a lot of them are not affordable — you’re talking about $2,500 or $3,000 a month.”

In a sign of how tight the rental market is, Long Island’s vacancy rate is 2.9 percent, higher than Manhattan’s 2.1 percent but roughly half the national rate of 5.9 percent, real estate information company CoStar Group reported.

Developers are scrambling to meet the local demand. New apartments “are snapped up in an instant; you can’t build rentals fast enough, at all different price points, from affordable to market rate to what we would consider higher than market rate,” said Mitchell Pally, chief executive of the Long Island Builders Institute, a trade group.

In the past 12 years, nearly 13,000 new downtown rental units have been approved, and more than half of those have been built, with another 10,000 units making their way through the approval and construction pipeline, said Eric Alexander, the director of Vision Long Island, a Northport-based planning group that supports downtown development and tracks apartment construction.

“The higher end of the market is starting to be serviced now,” Alexander said. “A significant minority of Long Islanders want to live in a downtown, want to live in rental units and are paying a premium to live in rental units. They’re shopping in the downtown, they’re eating and drinking and being part of public life.”

Among the new breed of luxury renters is Angelo Iannone, 56, who sold his 2,700-square-foot house in Roslyn Heights last year and moved into a two-bedroom apartment with a den at the Vanderbilt, a new 195-unit building in Westbury where apartments rent for about $3,500 to $8,000.

“I was living in a house that was comfortable but really too large for me,” said Iannone, an investment banker who is divorced and has a daughter in college and a son who just graduated from college. Living at the Vanderbilt gives him access to a heated pool, outdoor grills, a fitness center, game room and library, plus concierge service and proximity to stores and restaurants, he said.

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Army veteran Thomas Velez rents an apartment in Copiague Commons, an affordable housing complex built by Conifer Realty LLC of Rochester in partnership with the Community Development Corp.. of Long Island. Photo Credit: David L. Pokress

“There’s everything that would be in a luxury New York City apartment building, on Long Island,” he said.

The move made sense financially, too, he said. He had been paying $24,000 in property taxes, and under the federal tax overhaul signed into law last year by President Donald Trump he could only have claimed deductions for $10,000 in state and local taxes.

“The real estate market has had a good run, with many years of appreciation...It was time for me to further diversify my assets,” he said.

Strong demand for high-end rentals — primarily from baby boomers who are selling their homes — has led to a faster-than-expected pace of lease signings at the Vanderbilt, said Steven Dubb, a principal with the developer, Jericho-based Beechwood Organization.

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Angela Landi walks her dog, Angel, outside her apartment at the Devonshire Hills complex in Hauppauge on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The building opened in March, and it is 75 percent occupied and 90 percent leased, Dubb said. With demand so strong, rents have risen from their original range of about $3,000 to $7,000, he said. The $120 million project was Beechwood’s most expensive development outside the Hamptons, on a per-square-foot basis, Dubb said.

“We took a pretty big gamble and we said, ‘We believe there’s a market that’s not being served, and we’re going to spare no expense,’ ” Dubb said. “Luckily it seems to have worked out.”

Indeed, Beechwood has plans for a similar, 237-unit complex at a shuttered Syms department store on Merrick Avenue in Westbury, he said.

It’s not a coincidence that many new buildings cater to the luxury market.

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The Vanderbilt apartment complex in Westbury, seen here on Monday. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

On Long Island, “the land costs are enormous,” labor costs keep rising, and new tariffs on lumber imported from Canada have led to a 20 percent increase in the overall price of construction, Pally said. “You need subsidies to build the affordable units.”

It is not only a local phenomenon. Across the country, said Sam Khater, chief economist at mortgage giant Freddie Mac, “for many builders now, it’s just not economical for them to build below a certain level. That’s why you’re only seeing high-end multifamily and single-family homes being built.”

Many renters in high-end buildings are millennials. Across the country, less than 38 percent of those ages 25 to 34 owned a home in 2016, lagging 8 percentage points below the 2004 peak for that age group, Freddie Mac reported last month. The main reasons were increasing home values and costly rents that make it hard to save for a down payment, Freddie Mac found. Other factors included lower marriage and childbearing rates, student debt, difficulty getting a mortgage and some young adults’ preference for renting.

Many buildings that cater to young renters offer generous amenities, with prices to match.

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Angela Landi poses for a portrait with her dog, Angel, inside her apartment at the Devonshire Hills apartment complex in Hauppauge Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The 166-unit Metro 303 building in Hempstead is among those marketed to young adults, with a pool, fitness center, Xbox and PlayStation in the gaming center and a website that boasts of “grilling and chilling areas for entertaining with friends.” Jeffrey Rozanski and Monika Rivera, both 20-year-old students at Hofstra University, said it’s more comfortable and economical than living in a dorm and paying for meal plans.

“I feel like I’m in a hotel; there’s a pool, there’s a little lounge area,” Rivera said.

Rozanski said he has seen 10 to 15 cars in the garage with stickers from local universities. But while it’s a comparatively good deal, he said, the costs – about $2,600 for a two-bedroom, which they share with a roommate – “are definitely pretty high.”

For that price in his native Miami, he said, “you get a place right on the beach and you’re 20 stories up.”

Many young adults “are willing to spend money, and they demand more,” said Wendy Sanders, a Great Neck-based real estate agent with Douglas Elliman who specializes in rentals. Apartment buildings that cater to millennials have “completely revitalized” communities such as Patchogue, Farmingdale, Huntington, Rockville Centre and Mineola, she said.

Even so, Long Island’s relatively stagnant wages have not kept up with the rising cost of housing, and the region has such a shortage of affordable rentals that about four in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 live with family members because they cannot pay for an apartment here, said Gwen O’Shea, chief executive of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island. The group has helped build roughly 1,800 affordable rental apartments on Long Island since 1973 and has plans for 400 more.

Rentals make up about 20 percent of the housing stock on Long Island, compared with 37 percent in northern New Jersey and 34 percent in Westchester, a 2016 report by the Long Island Index showed.

The Island’s high cost of living is not only a challenge for young adults.

Thomas Velez, 65, is an Army veteran who works part-time at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport. A year ago he moved from a shelter for homeless veterans in Yaphank to Copiague Commons, a rental complex for people with low and moderate incomes. He pays $1,169 for a one-bedroom apartment he shares with his Jack Russell terrier, J.D. Staying on the Island lets him remain close to his 92-year-old mother and his three grown children, ages 28 to 33.

“I love it,” he said of the 89-unit complex, built by Conifer Realty LLC of Rochester in partnership with the Community Development Corp.

Housing costs are “out of control” on the Island, he said. “We can use a lot more affordable housing out here.”

Roughly one-third of Long Island renters are baby boomers in their mid-50s to mid-70s, Vision Long Island’s Alexander said. Renting “is not just about the millennials.”

Some retirees choose to rent in Suffolk County, where prices are lower than in Nassau. Angela Landi, 75, started looking for apartments in Nassau County when she was preparing to move out of the house she had been renting in Long Beach, but they were largely “not in good condition,” she said.

By contrast, she said, the one-bedroom apartment she now shares with her 5-month-old puppy, Angel, at the 656-unit Devonshire Hills in Hauppauge is well-maintained, with two pools, a new barbecue area and a patio where she has planted impatiens and other flowers, she said. The complex advertises units renting for about $2,000 to $2,800.

Living there allows her to remain close to her friends and a daughter who lives in Wantagh, Landi said.

Prices are lower in Virginia, where her other daughter lives, but Long Island “is really home to me,” said Landi, who retired from a career in medical billing.

Nassau County’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable rentals includes its Industrial Development Agency’s recent decision to hire a consultant who will work with private developers to construct more affordable housing.

In addition to rentals subsidized by state and federal funds or local industrial development agencies, Long Island also needs the ultrasmall “micro” apartments built in New York City and other urban areas, with space-saving features such as foldaway wall beds, Alexander said.

“We call it ‘affordable by design,’ ” Alexander said. “You don’t need subsidies for these types of units because they’re just smaller spaces.”

Average monthly rent
Nassau: $2,257
Western Suffolk: $1,775
Eastern Suffolk: $1,654

Source: Reis, first quarter 2018 rents for units in multifamily buildings

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