Conifer In The News
Affordable Housing Finance
"The LIHTC equity will help finance a 48-unit development in Dryden, N.Y.
Boston Capital announced that it is investing in the construction of a 48-unit affordable housing development for families in Dryden, N.Y.
Poets Landing II is being developed by Rochester, N.Y.–based Conifer Realty.
Boston Capital is investing approximately $7.6 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity in the project. The firm also partnered with Conifer on the construction of Poets Landing I, a 72-unit apartment community completed in 2013.
Conifer Realty's 48-unit Poets Landing II will provide affordable housing for families in Dryden, N.Y. The deal marks the 30th collaboration between Conifer and housing tax credit syndicator Boston Capital.
"Low- to moderate-income families in need of high-quality affordable housing in the Dryden area will benefit from Boston Capital's investment in Poets Landing II," said Jack Manning, president and CEO of Boston Capital, in a statement. "We are happy to once again team up with our longtime partner Tim Fournier and our friends at Conifer in the second phase of Poets Landing.”
Since 1986, Boston Capital and Conifer have partnered in 30 multifamily developments, resulting in the creation of 2,249 units of affordable housing across the Northeast, according to Manning.
Located on 10 acres, Poets Landing II will feature 16 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom, and eight three-bedroom units in six two-story buildings. Units will include central heating and air conditioning, dishwashers, patios/balconies, and storage. Residents at Poets Landing II will have access to the community amenities at Poets Landing I, which feature a leasing office, a great room, a computer workstation, a laundry center, and a playground. The apartments will be available to families earning 60% or less of the area median income.
To date, Boston Capital has invested in more than 6,700 apartments in New York.
It is with great honor that we announce the addition of Betty Perry, Regional Vice President of Property Management to Conifer.
“Betty will oversee the Long Island region and join the Property Management Leadership Team,” said Thomas R. Johnson, Executive Vice President. “Betty comes to Conifer from Related Management Company, where she spent 24 years in various property management positions.” He added, “Her most recent role was managing a portfolio of 39 properties consisting of 7,200 apartment units. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the affordable housing industry.”
Ms. Perry depicts the Company’s core values of commitment, dedication, honesty, innovation, integrity, quality and respect, every day. She brings over 20 years of experience overseeing a diversified portfolio of mixed use properties, totaling approximately 39 assets with a total of 7,200 residential units, 29 retail/commercial spaces and parking garages. She is an I.R.E.M. Certified Property Manager; National Apartment Association (NAA) member; TaCCs Low Income Housing Tax Credit Certified; National Property Management Association (NPMA) gold member; and a NYS Licensed RE Salesperson. Conifer is fortunate to have Ms. Perry as part of our team of dedicated and skilled professionals.
Conifer is pleased to announce that a brand new, 120-unit, senior apartment community in Capitol Heights is now open!
Located at 2011 Brooks Drive in District Heights, Conifer Village at Oakcrest offers individuals 62 and older an affordable, one or two bedroom, high-quality, state-of-the-art apartment home with many amenities. Each apartment home includes energy efficient appliances, patio or balcony, a fully-equipped fitness room and great room for social events. Just off of Pennsylvania Avenue, residents enjoy an array of neighborhood amenities, such as the Oakcrest Community Center, restaurants, shopping, banks and more.
Conifer Village at Oakcrest has seven apartments accessible for people with disabilities as well as three hearing and visually impaired apartments set aside.
“With rents soaring and a large and growing senior population, providing affordable, accessible senior housing in Prince George's County has never been more important,” says Eric C. Brown, Director of the Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development. “We applaud Conifer for bringing this project to our County and increasing the opportunities for our seniors to have an affordable, comfortable and safe place to live.”
The total development cost for the project is over $26.5 million. Financing was provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, in the amount of $9.2 million, from Red Stone Equity Partners, a $12.1 million loan from Prudential, a $2.5 million loan from Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and a $2.2 million loan from Prince George’s County’s HOME Program funds.
“The completion of Conifer Village at Oakcrest is an outstanding example of what is achievable through collaborative public-private partnerships,” says Sam Leone, Regional Vice President of Development at Conifer. “The result here is a beautiful new community, offering an excellent quality of life for seniors. It has been a great pleasure working with the local community, Prince George’s County, and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to see this through from vision to reality.”
It is with great honor that we announce the promotion of Rob Corredine, CPA, to Corporate Controller.
“Rob joined Conifer in 2013 and has made significant contributions in many areas of the Company, including corporate and development accounting,” said Tim Fournier, Chairman & CEO.
In his four years at Conifer, Rob has held various positions in the Accounting Department, proving his expertise in the Accounting field. Previous to joining Conifer, Rob worked at Centerline Capital Group where he worked in fund management, responsible for the reporting of 135 funds which invested in over 1,200 Low Income Tax Credit properties throughout the United States.
“I am excited to shift my focus from Development to Corporate Accounting to continue to expand the department to be a best in class, helping to support Conifer’s core businesses,’ said Rob Corredine.
“I have had the pleasure of working directly with Rob over the past five months, and have witnessed many of his wonderful attributes. In this restructured role, Rob will focus on enhancement of our corporate reporting process as well as our overall company treasury functions. Rob and I will continue to work directly together. I want to thank Rob for his hard work and dedication, and look forward to working with him for many years to come – Congratulations Rob!”
It is with great honor that we announce the addition of Barbara Ross, Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Development to Conifer.
“I have known Barb for many years and have worked alongside of her at another organization,” stated Mark Benotti, Vice President of Shared Services. “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.” He added, “Her strategic, organizational thinking, communication style and knowledge of complex human capital systems have all contributed to her success. We are excited to have her at Conifer.”
Mrs. Ross exemplifies the Company’s core values of commitment, dedication, honesty, innovation, integrity, quality and respect, every day. She brings over 20 years of human resources expertise and continues her growth and ambition within the field. She has gained invaluable experience from her previous positions at Monro Muffler Brake, Chobani and Constellation Brands, Inc., including expertise in acquisitions, due diligence and employee engagement.
Conifer is fortunate to have Mrs. Ross as part of our team of dedicated and skilled professionals.
Robin K. Cooper, Reporter
Albany Business Review
"Conifer Realty has secured a $10 million construction loan from TD Bank for a 140-unit apartment project in Ballston, New York.
The Rochester apartment management company plans to start construction of its Blue Heron Trail development on Route 67 during the first or second quarter of this year, said Gerry Magoolaghan, a real estate agent with Continuum Commercial Realty, who has worked with Conifer for the last three years.
The project will be located on Route 67 near East Line Road on a 17-acre parcel that Conifer bought from developer Hal Schultz. Conifer paid $2.47 million for the property in a deal that closed July 1.
Conifer has partnered on the Blue Heron development with Rochester builder LeChase Construction, the project's general contractor. Since 1975, Conifer has developed more than 220 apartment communities in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The company is also close to an agreement to purchase 16 acres on Route 9 in Malta, just a few miles east of the Ballston project.
The Route 9 and Route 67 corridors running between Ballston and Malta have generated a lot of attention from investors over the past few years. More projects are expected to emerge in the near future since Malta town leaders voted in October to rezone a section of Route 67 that runs from the Ballston town line into the center of Malta.
Conifer's Blue Heron project will include what the company describes as "workforce housing."
The company builds apartments that seek to attract tenants who earn less than $60,000 a year. Rents for many of the apartments are expected to run between $700 and $1,100 a month."
South Jersey Times Editorial Board
"With a name like Camp Salute, you might think what will take shape on some former farmland in Clayton will provide outdoor summertime recreational activities geared toward 8-year-olds who like to play "Army."
It's really a much bigger deal than that.
Camp Salute, despite its mildly deceptive name, is a $20 million development that will provide new housing opportunities, and much more, for under-served military veterans. All clients will be a good deal older than summer-camp age. Poison ivy should not be an issue, and no one will have to drink "bug juice" at lunchtime.
The 76-apartment complex is the brainchild of the Gloucester County-based People for People Foundation, a once-fledgling charity that stepped up to the plate big-time for this undertaking. The site will have 19 units set aside specifically for disabled veterans. Veterans and Gold Star families -- who have lost a child in combat -- will be given priority for the other affordable housing rental units. Construction is slated to begin in the spring.
It's an understatement to say that the project will fill a need. Although New Jersey has made some recent progress on veteran homelessness and employment, the state historically has had elevated joblessness rates for veterans of recent conflicts.
Camp Salute also offers a partnership of public, private and volunteer funding and management that could be a model for other ventures. Eighty percent of the financing will come via federal affordable-housing credits, and Conifer Realty LLC will own and manage the residential structures. The complex will also include a new headquarters for People for People, which was founded by Bernadette and Paul Blackstock in 2003.
The Blackstocks and their organization has always had a keen interest in making things better for veterans, although its initial goal was to help anyone who was down on his or her luck, but who had self-help potential with a little push. The Blackstocks both had fathers who served during World War II.
With this in mind, Camp Salute will have an on-site veterans' resource center to help with day-to-day issues, such as appeals of Veterans Affairs decisions on health care or other benefits. Perhaps Camp Salute can be viewed as a kind of "assisted living" facility, but not one designed exclusively for senior citizens in their declining years. Some of its services will also be available to veterans and others who are not residents.
People for People hopes that Camp Salute will attract veterans who feel more comfortable living mainly among other veterans. The project can also help erase the unjustified stigma that some people place on low-income and affordable housing developments of all types. Military veterans who have served our country with distinction are not freeloaders. Some may have developed drug problems or suffer from post-traumatic stress and other ailments, but our duty is to help them re-integrate into general society, not to cast them aside.
Camp Salute sounds as if it can help accomplish that mission."
Matt Gray, Staff Writer
"Behind Clayton Mews senior apartments on Delsea Drive sits acres of what used to be farmland.
Work will soon begin to transform a portion of this site into permanent housing for military veterans and their families.
Called Camp Salute, this apartment complex will provide housing for low- to moderate-income families, with a preference given to veterans.
The People for People Foundation of Gloucester County has worked for six years to develop this project in collaboration with Conifer Realty, LLC, which is serving as developer, contractor and will own and manage the day-to-day operations of the site.
Construction is slated to start by mid-spring of 2017. If the weather cooperates, the first building could be open within nine months.
A love for veterans
The $20 million project consists of 76 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with 19 subsidized units set aside for disabled veterans. Housing preference will be given to veterans and Gold Star parents of a son or daughter killed in combat.
Eighty percent of the project is financed via the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which promotes private development of affordable housing projects.
The complex will include a club house with a community room, exercise room, space for a leasing office and offices for the People for People organization itself.
"That will become our new home," said Bernadette Blackstock, president and CEO of People for People.
Blackstock and her husband, Paul, founded the non-profit People for People in 2003 as a way to help normally self-sufficient people who have fallen on hard times. Many of those needing assistance were veterans.
The idea of helping vets came naturally for the Blackstocks, since both of their fathers served in World War II.
"This is really important to us," Bernadette Blackstock said. "We have a real love for veterans."
Her father served in Italy and North Africa.
"My dad was on the first landing at D-Day," Paul Blackstock said. His father suffered serious injuries and spent seven years in hospitals. Blackstock grew up in a household with his father and two uncles, who are also veterans, all suffering with what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I grew up with that," he said. "When I was five years old, I was putting flags in grave sites on Memorial Day."
More than a place to live
In working with veterans over the years, the Blackstocks have come to understand their needs.
"We know that there are a lot of veterans who are not necessarily homeless, but are in a position where income isn't that high," Bernadette Blackstock said. "It's very difficult to find a safe, secure place to live."
Rents at Camp Salute will run in the range of $800 to $1,000 a month, said Sam Leone, vice president of Conifer Realty.
"All of the units have a rent," Leone explained. "They just happen to be affordable to different income levels."
To qualify for a unit at Camp Salute, applicants must have income, either through a job, retirement benefits or compensation for a disability.
Camp Salute will be more than just a place to live, though.
An on-site veterans resource center will assist vets and their families with various needs. Three People for People staff members -- the Blackstocks and Charles Gallagher -- are now volunteer accredited claims agents and can represent veterans in filings and appeals before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are only six other accredited claims agents in the state.
The staff at Camp Salute will provide its free services to the entire South Jersey veteran population. In addition, they will provide assistance for seniors dealing with Medicare, Medicaid and other senior programs.
A 'bricks and mortar salute'
While services exist around the region to help homeless vets and those suffering with drug and mental health problems, Camp Salute offers an answer for veterans who are ready to move on to permanent housing after receiving help from these agencies.
"This is not a rehab center. This is where you live," said Allan Connors, a Vietnam veteran who served three tours and is now a member of People for People.
People for People has pledged to work as consultants assisting Amazing Grace Ministries as it develops a veterans retreat in Franklin Township. The retreat will provide a transitional setting, where combat veterans dealing with PTSD can spend up to two years as they receive care and skills training.
People for People will assist veterans in this program as they deal with the VA and make their transition to a regular job and a place to live.
Since Camp Salute provides permanent housing, this could be ideal solution for veterans completing that two-year program.
"They've had two years of being with veterans and having that support," Bernadette Blackstock said. "They graduate the program and they go out into the real world and they don't have that support anymore."
Camp Salute allows veterans to maintain that sense of belonging.
"What makes our project unique is that it is a community of veterans," she said. "Veterans are unique. They like to be together. They love the feeling of community."
The location for Camp Salute is also ideal for veterans, given easy access to bus transportation along Delsea Drive, Leone noted.
"You're not far from Glassboro and other employment centers," he said, but for those still working through PTSD and other issues, the location offers a serene spot set back from the sounds of traffic and adjacent to a large wooded area.
Connors talked about the misconceptions many have when they hear the term "low-income housing," noting that the residents at Camp Salute will be "solid people."
"These are working people, retired people," he said. "There's nothing that exists that with this model. This is a community of veterans."
The Blackstocks doesn't foresee any problem filling the units with veterans. More than 100 vets have signed up online to receive updates about Camp Salute as the project takes shape.
The name Camp Salute is important, Connors said, because this project represents a tangible way to show respect for our veterans.
"What better way than to give them a decent place to live," he said. "This is a true, substantive bricks and mortar salute.""
On December 2, staff and administrators from all six regional support centers gathered at The Strathallan to honor Conifer staff members for their dedication and commitment.
Awards are given based on merit and nominations. Each of our four recipients were nominated by their peers for their outstanding performance in 2016. There are three Outstanding Performance Awards and one Award of Excellence. This years’ Outstanding Performance Award winners were as follows; Laura Lander, Bookkeeper; Kristen Thompson, District Manager; and Vonnette Harris, Development Director. Their continued commitment to do what they do, better has never wavered. The three Outstanding Performance Award winners have impeccable communication and leadership skills; show professional and personal growth; and have the utmost accountability, vision and values. We honor the value that each of them bring to Conifer.
Paul Marfione, Development Project Coordinator, was awarded the 2016 Award of Excellence. His dedication and quality of work have set the bar for the gold standard. Paul was described by his peers as “an unsung work horse; quietly devoting time and energy in managing jobs.” Since joining the Conifer Development Department, Paul has successfully worked on and completed nine developments, totaling 513 apartment units. Paul encompasses all of Conifer’s values: dedication, honesty, integrity, commitment, innovation, quality and respect.
Please join us in congratulating Laura, Paul, Kristen and Vonnette!
"The developers of Peconic Crossing, a 45-unit affordable apartment project proposed for West Main Street in Riverhead, will receive $350,000 from Suffolk County to pay for infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks, lighting and drainage.
The Suffolk County Legislature approved the expenditure at its meeting Nov. 23 by a vote of 14 to 2, with two absences.
However, the project did encounter some questions from the two opposing legislators, who cited the cost.
The money comes from the county’s Affordable Housing Opportunities Program, which also provided $313,000 in bonds in 2013 for infrastructure improvements at another affordable apartment building in Riverhead, the 52-unit Summerwind Square on Peconic Avenue.
Peconic Crossing LLC is a joint venture between the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island and for-profit Conifer Realty LLC of Rochester.
With the county money secured, the $18.5 million project is expected to close on its funding sources by Dec. 15, with demolition of the existing building likely to start in January and construction of the new building planned for February 2017, according to Marianne Garvin, the president and CEO of CDCLI.
The project calls for demolition of the former Long Island Science Center at 11 West Main St. and construction of a four-story multi-family apartment building in its place, according to Ms. Garvin.
“CDCLI and Conifer have developed 710 rental homes over the years,” she told the Legislature before last Wednesday’s vote, referring to other affordable projects the companies have collaborated on.
“These include Wincoram Commons and Copiague Commons, which were supported with the county’s infrastructure program,” Ms. Garvin said. “We could not have built those 266 apartments without your support. Similarly, we cannot build Peconic Crossing without the county’s infrastructure program, and I hope you will support our request for $350,000 to offset improvements such as sidewalks, lighting, drainage, utilities, connections to the sanitary system and bulkhead and boardwalk construction and the like.”
The Peconic Crossing project, according to Ms. Garvin, will provide the following:
• Five apartments for households making up to 50 percent of the area median income, which is $52,550.
• 35 apartments for families making up to 60 percent of the AMI, which amounts to $62,060.
• Five apartments for families making up to 90 percent of the AMI, or $94,590 per year.
Sixteen one-bedroom and 29 two-bedroom apartments are also planned and preference will be given to artists and to residents who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The building will have a fitness room, a community room, an on-site laundry room and an on-site management office, according to Ms. Garvin, and will be Energy Star rated for energy efficiency.
Plans also include a ground-floor artist gallery fronting Main Street and 34 parking spaces in the rear of the property. In addition, Ms. Garvin said, Peconic Crossing will feature a rooftop terrace with views overlooking the Peconic River.
“This is part of a broader plan for downtown Riverhead and it is supported by the town supervisor,” she said.
County legislators Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) and Robert Trotta (R-Northport) cast the two votes against the funding.
Mr. Cilmi said the county needs to come up with a budget for such projects.
“We can’t just look at each project in a vacuum and keep approving $350,000 expenses one after another,” he said.
He also questioned why artists are being given preference.
“I love artists,” Mr. Cilmi said. “I’m just not convinced we should be giving tax breaks and hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the economic climate we’re in, to subsidize that type of housing.”
Arthur Krauer, Conifer’s senior project director on Long Island, said Riverhead Town had asked that artists be given preference.
Legislator Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) said the Artspace apartments in his district have helped spur economic activity there that has benefited the entire village.
Mr. Krauer said the U.S. Fair Housing Act doesn’t allow housing projects using federal funds to market to specific areas, such as town residents, but it does allow them to give preference to artists.
Mr. Trotta said the price of $1.85 million that Peconic Crossing paid for the half-acre property is very high.
Mr. Krauer said land is at a premium on Long Island, noting that Conifer is about to pay $11 million for two acres in Hempstead."