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Conifer In The News

Newsday / 
Maura McDermott, Staff Writer

"Long Island developers are making multimillion-dollar investments to protect new projects — waterfront and inland alike — from rising sea levels and the risk of major storms.

In Glen Cove, RXR Realty said it is raising the ground level of its 56-acre waterfront development, Garvies Point, by 6 to 10 feet. The effort required enough soil, sand and gravel to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools. It also is constructing $15 million steel and reinforced concrete bulkheads along the waterfront, and spending roughly $10 million on stormwater management and $5 million on generators to provide full power to all 569 condominiums if electricity gets knocked out.

These and other steps to make the property storm-resilient will add roughly $40 million to the $1 billion cost of the project, which in addition to the condos includes 541 rental apartments as well as a restaurant, shops, offices and parks, the Uniondale-based developer said.

In East Rockaway, the Beechwood Organization is elevating 84 new condos over parking spaces at its waterfront property, adding a new bulkhead, docks and oversized drainage systems, and placing all mechanical equipment on roofs. The 2.7-acre site was previously occupied by a marina that was devastated by superstorm Sandy in 2012. Jericho-based Beechwood said it spent roughly $5 million going beyond state building codes and local requirements to protect the property from storms.

Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities is raising the land near Manhasset Bay in Great Neck where it is constructing a 191-unit apartment building, elevating the structure over parking and installing utilities 16 feet high, at the top level of its garage, said Chris Capece, senior development director.

Tritec Real Estate Co. is elevating the 112 apartments in its Shipyard project in Port Jefferson over a parking garage and installing drainage pumps in the garage, even though the waterfront complex is located outside the designated flood plain, said Robert Kent, vice president and general counsel at the East Setauket-based company.

“In a post-superstorm Sandy Long Island, there is a heightened awareness of where the high-risk flood zones are,” said Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, a builders’ trade group. “The 100-year flood storms are happening every 10 years now, and that means only the very forgetful or the high-stakes gamblers are building on the ground level today.”

Exceeding requirements

Under state building codes and local laws, developers are required to protect buildings in high-risk flood zones by constructing strong foundations, elevating buildings and electrical systems and using storm-resistant materials, among other measures. But developers say they are going beyond those requirements.

The builders’ investments come as climate scientists report that sea levels have risen over the last century and are expected to continue rising. A study released last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists examined the U.S. coastline and found that by 2100 nearly 500 communities — including many along Long Island’s South Shore — could face “chronic flooding” so severe that residents could be displaced if communities do not take steps to protect themselves.

Global sea levels have risen by 7 to 8 inches since 1900, a team of scientists wrote in a 673-page draft government report dated June 28, The New York Times reported Monday. Sea levels are “very likely” to rise another 3 to 6 inches by 2030, due mainly to increasing temperatures and melting ice, and the effects could include more floods and major storms, the draft report found.

Some scientists and elected officials debate the extent, severity and causes of the changes.

But on Long Island, major developers and small-scale builders say they are responding to a growing incidence of routine floods, as well as major storms like Sandy.

In RXR’s Glen Cove complex, all residences will be located 18 to 22 feet above the level reached by a so-called 100-year storm — that is, a storm with a 1 percent chance of happening in a given year, the developer said. Even at RXR’s Ritz-Carlton development in North Hills — more than 2 miles from Manhasset Bay — the developer is girding for storms. Two tractor-trailer-sized generators can provide full power to the first 110 condominiums, and another three will be added as the complex grows to 230 units. The generators are expected to cost $3.5 million, said Joe Graziose, senior vice president at RXR.

Protecting investments

RXR chief executive Scott Rechler was determined to make the Ritz-Carlton “Sandy-proof,” despite the added cost, since many buyers lived on the North Shore and lost power when Sandy hit, Graziose said.

Developers say their primary concern is protecting their own investments and those of prospective buyers.

“The last person you’re going to talk about being a tree-hugger is me,” Graziose said. “This is all about infrastructure. At the end of the day, you want to build something that’s going to last a long time.”

In East Rockaway, Beechwood said all residences will be almost 13 feet above the high-water mark from Sandy.

“The key is just to build higher,” said Steven Dubb, a principal with the company and son of its founder, Michael Dubb. “We want to make sure we can survive superstorm Sandy, or worse.”

In downtown Riverhead, the Community Development Corp. of Long Island and Conifer Realty are building 45 apartments that will be on the second floor or higher to protect them from floods, said Gwen O’Shea, chief executive of the Centereach development corporation. The electrical systems will be at least 2 feet above the height of a 100-year storm.

The same developers also are building 90 apartments in Copiague. At both complexes, builders are using materials designed to protect against floods and major storms, such as hurricane-resistant windows. Both complexes will rent to residents with low to moderate incomes.

“We have such a limited number of affordable housing options on Long Island that as we rehabilitate or develop new properties, doing so in a way that is resilient allows the investment to be that much more sustainable and long-term,” O’Shea said.

The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery contributed $4.55 million to the cost of the Riverhead project and $8.75 million for the apartments in Copiague. Those awards were part of a $79.2 million program to replace affordable housing throughout the state in areas hit by Sandy and other storms, an agency spokeswoman said.

Protecting new residences from storms “makes good economic and business sense and thoughtful social policy,” Lisa Bova-Hiatt, executive director of the recovery office, said in a statement.

In Long Beach, new single-family homes also include protection from floods.

Read more ...

Newsday Long Island (
Jesse Coburn, Staff Writer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

"An architecture firm hired by the Town of Babylon recently completed guidelines for the design of building facades in downtown Copiague, officials said.

The guidelines, which address materials, signs, windows and a host of other design considerations, are the latest step in Babylon’s yearslong campaign to spruce up the South Shore hamlet.

With its railroad station and small commercial core, Copiague could host a bustling, walkable downtown akin to those of nearby Babylon and Farmingdale villages, according to officials including Amy Pfeiffer, the director of the town’s Office of Downtown Revitalization.

But the “visual clutter” of building facades in Copiague — where jumbled signs cover monotonous surfaces — do little to achieve that goal, according to the report prepared by In. Site: Architecture, a Perry, New York-based firm.

To fix that, the firm offered pointers to help property owners establish a cohesive architectural identity in downtown Copiague and create a street environment that appeals to pedestrians. While the area lacks the large stock of charismatic prewar buildings that define other downtowns, this offers “a chance for Copiague to define its own character,” the report said.

Read more ...

2017 Smart Growth Awards
VISION Long Island

"One of this year’s winners for Housing Choices goes to the Town of Riverhead and Conifer Realty for their work on Peconic Crossing.

Peconic Crossing consists of 45 units and contain artist’s housing, similar to what has been done with ArtSpace in Patchogue. Through collaborative efforts between the Town and private developers, Conifer Realty, Peconic Crossing will be built in the heart of Downtown Riverhead, home to East End Arts. This centrally located development will create opportunities for walking or biking to work and visiting restaurants and shops. Apartments will be spacious and energy effi cient, with preference given to artists and those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

After completion of the Town of Riverhead’s Master Plan theey have seen success downtown on a projects by project basis. They were able to acquire funds through New York State to make this project a part of their ongoing downtown revitalization. Riverhead has seen a resurgence in past couple of years with an increase in restaurants and events like “Alive After Five” that are bringing the community together and drawing more people to the area. East End Arts, a past Smart Growth Award winner and local art organization has been an integral part in helping revitalize Riverhead, which is why Peconic Crossing is such an exciting project to see move forward.

Peconic1 Peconic2 Peconic4 Peconic3

Conifer Realty has been working on Long Island downtowns for years, including being the developer behind award winning projects such as Wincoram and Copaigue Commons. They have been ongoing supporters of Smart Growth and the values their company holds is made evident by their commitment to making communities stronger, walkable, and affordable. Many of their projects have affordable components, which is becoming an ever important component in new development on Long Island. Peconic Crossing will also be a mixed income development and provide necessary workforce housing that will support artists and those still displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

Peconic Crossing is an incredible example of private and public resources coming together to create housing that will be valued by the Riverhead community for years to come.

“I want you to remove something from your lexicon right now. This whole concept of workforce housing. We don’t want to use this anymore. I use Millennial housing. This housing that we’re building… it really is millennial housing, and we are getting beat up like crazy by calling workforce housing. So remove it from your lexicon, it is now millennial housing, and you millennials that are here take ownership of it. Because the old guys like me on the opposite side that don’t want it will try to block it on every avenue.” – Hon. Sean Walter, Town of Riverhead Supervisor

“It’s projects like this that have the opportunity to keep Long Islanders here for the long haul.” – Arthur Krauer, Conifer Realty"

Read the full article here

Daily Messenger /
Melody Burri, Staff Writer

"The $18 million project would restore decaying theater, upgrade senior citizen housing


CANANDAIGUA — City Planning and Development Committee members got another look at the rich and stylish design being proposed to breathe life back into a decaying local theater.

The $18 million project would also put a shine on existing senior housing at the corner of North Main Street and Fort Hill Avenue, owned and managed by Conifer Realty LLC.

Representatives from the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center Canandaigua, a non-profit group working to renovate and revitalize the former Canandaigua Academy auditorium, described their $4.33 million part of the project to committee members.

FHPACC Board President Gordon Estey called it “a community performing arts center run by theater professionals” which will be “extremely successful and a wonderful benefit to the community.”

The goal: to provide a space for community organizations in the performing arts to have a production facility usable at reasonable costs.

“My career started in that facility 46 years ago,” said Estey, a lifelong Canandaigua resident. “And my career is going to end in that facility, so I’m excited more than I ever could be for anything.”

The joint project by Conifer and FHPACC will be funded in large part by New York state grants, tax credits and a corporate loan. The remainder will be raised through a capital campaign that will launch in July, Estey said.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” he said. “And this is what’s going to make it workable is the fact that we have all been in this business. We know what we’re getting into, and we know how to get to the end result.”

FHPACC Executive Director Holger Stave said the theater has been empty and dormant since 1995.

Conifer, which owns the entire apartment and theater facility, will restore the theater and then allow FHPACC to purchase it as one would purchase a condominium, Stave said.

Read more ...

Long Island Business News
David Winzelberg, Staff Writer

"A host of real estate developments and business leaders will be recognized at the 16th Annual Long Island Smart Growth Awards scheduled for next month.

Organized by community planning organization and smart-growth advocate Vision Long Island, the luncheon event at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on June 9 will showcase the people and projects that advance the revitalization of area downtowns and investment in infrastructure for the future.

Among those honored at this year’s event will be John Cameron, from Cameron Engineering and the Long Island Regional Planning Council, who will receive a regional leadership award. A community leadership award will be presented posthumously to Delano Stewart, publisher of “Point of View.”  Ryan Stanton of the Long Island Federation of Labor will receive a next generation award.

The project and organizational honorees include the Town of Riverhead and Conifer Realty for housing choices with Peconic Crossing in downtown Riverhead; David Kilmick of the LGBT Network and D&F Development for housing choices with LGBT housing in Bay Shore; Livingston Development Group for revitalizing communities with The Villas at Glen Cove; Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead for revitalizing communities with the Baldwin revitalization project; Longwood Library, Concern Middle Island, and Gail Lynch Bailey for mix of uses in the Middle Island revitalization; Mill Creek Residential and the Village of Mineola for transit-oriented development for the Modera, Hudson House, and Searing Avenue projects; Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists for transportation choices; LIPA and Deepwater Wind for partnering on the South Fork offshore wind farm for clean energy; and the Village of Great Neck Plaza and Nemat Development for certainty with transit-oriented development zoning.

“These last few years have shown tremendous progress with nearly 13,000 units of transit oriented housing approved, over a billion dollars of federal and state funds invested in our local infrastructure and nearly 60 communities working on downtown revitalization plans,” said Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island’s director.

Some 900 attendees, consisting of Long Island’s community, government and business leaders, are expected to attend this year’s event."

Dueker ScottConifer Realty, LLC announced that Scott Dueker has joined the Company to further develop their growing portfolio. Scott Dueker is joining the Development Team with over 20 years of architecture experience.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Design from the University of Buffalo, with a minor in facilities management and planning, Mr. Dueker has extensive experience in multifamily housing excelling in architectural and interior design, construction management and building systems. 

“Scott will play an integral role in the Development Team using his expertise to ensure that Conifer’s developments are built to Conifer standards and quality playing a key role in energy analysis, construction and design drawing and specification review, budgeting and innovative design solutions,” said Lisa Kaseman, Vice President of Development Operations.

We are confident that Scott will be a valued contributor to the Conifer Team! Please join us in welcoming him! 

New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ)

"Riverhead, NY Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty, LLC, hosted a groundbreaking event for 45 mixed-income apartments to be constructed on Main St. in the downtown area. A blighted building was recently demolished on the site and will be replaced with a five-story building featuring one and two-bedroom energy-efficient apartment homes.

Complementing the community’s ongoing redevelopment efforts, Peconic Crossing is an important mixed-income revitalization development in Downtown Riverhead that will provide sorely needed workforce housing. There will be preferences for artists, as well as persons who had been displaced by Superstorm Sandy. The New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) committed $4.55 million through the Affordable Housing Fund program to finance the new development in conjunction with NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

CDCLI Ground Breaking

Pictured above (from left) are: Patricia Drake Snyder; James Wooten, Riverhead town councilman; Sean Walter; Gwen O’Shea; Marianne Garvin, CDCLI; Thomas Johnson, executive vice president of Conifer Realty, LLC; David Calone, president & CEO of Jove Equity Partners; and Kevin Law. 

Gwen O’Shea, president and CEO for CDCLI, said, “Enhancing downtowns by providing attractive and affordable housing opportunities is critical for Long Island’s sustainability. CDCLI is thrilled to work with our partner, Conifer Realty, to create an innovative housing opportunity for artists in Riverhead.  The development will have ground floor gallery space for artists to display their work and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Peconic River. Not only will new residents enhance local businesses, they will also add to the vibrancy and sense of place.” 

Arthur Krauer, senior project director of Conifer Realty said, “This development is another in the continued successful collaboration between CDCLI and Conifer Realty. Our partnership has already produced 620 affordable apartment homes on Long Island.” He said that “rents will range from $960 to $1,537 per month. The total development costs are in excess of $18 million. Conifer is committed to Long Island and is proud to build, own, and manage high quality, energy efficient, affordable apartments. Peconic Crossing will offer artistic residents a place to create, collaborate and live.”

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone pointed to the benefits of downtown redevelopments such as this and added, “It is essential for Suffolk County to support smart growth affordable housing through our infrastructure funding.  The creation of downtown housing options helps the local economy, preserves open space, and enhances the quality of life for all involved. I am very pleased to see the construction getting underway.” 

HCR commissioner Ruthanne Visnauskas said, “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to dedicate state resources to leverage private investment is the driving force behind this new development. Mixed use, mixed income and resilient affordable housing is the key to bringing new energy, opportunity and growth to Riverhead. Developments such as Peconic Crossing are precisely the type of housing that the State wants to encourage and is proud to support.”

GOSR executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt said, “Governor Cuomo created GOSR with a single mission: to build back better than before. Peconic Crossing, financed through our Affordable Housing Fund program, epitomizes the goal of supporting the preservation or development of rental housing lost as a result of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and/or Tropical Storm Lee. It’s resilient, cost-effective, and affordable – and with a preference for households displaced by Superstorm Sandy, it represents a secure new start for families who lost their homes. We aim to foster vibrant 24-hour, smart growth, transit-oriented communities anchored by high quality, mixed income housing. And that is what Peconic Crossing will deliver, bringing an essential fresh, new addition to Riverhead’s downtown center.”

“Conifer Realty and CDCLI are contributing to the revitalization of downtown Riverhead,” said Riverhead supervisor Sean Walter. “This project represents a new approach to apartment living and will bring an artistic element by offering a gallery space and preference to our local artists. We look forward to seeing more young people along our riverfront, walking down Main St. and enjoying our local businesses when this development is complete.” 

 Long Island Association president and CEO, Kevin Law, said, “Peconic Crossing will help keep Long Island a vibrant region with a growing economy by providing more affordable rental opportunities for families and revitalizing downtown Riverhead, and thus we commend the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and Conifer Realty for their efforts.”

Patricia Drake Snyder, executive director of East End Arts, said, “It has been proven over and over again that embracing the arts in a community is a transformational step towards a vibrant environment and enhanced quality of life. Riverhead has been progressive and welcoming to artists over the last several years and it shows by the growing number of public art, the success of the performing arts venues, and the approval of Peconic Crossing. Not only will Peconic Crossing further encourage artists to engage in the community, it will also ensure housing costs remain affordable.”

Multifamily affordable housing developments require multiple public and private funding sources in order to be financially viable.  Peconic Crossing is receiving federal and state low income housing tax credits, CDBG Disaster Recovery funds through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, infrastructure funds through Suffolk County, REDC funds through Empire State Development, and a grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. CDCLI Funding Corp. is also investing $200,000 into the development."

Conifer Realty, LLC joined by Secretary Kenneth Holt of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Thomas Himler Deputy CAO for the County Government, Eric Brown, Director of Housing and Community Development for Prince George’s County, and a host of others, gathered to celebrate the official opening for Conifer Village at Oakcrest, a $26.5 million brand new senior housing development.

Located at 2011 Brooks Drive in District Heights, Conifer Village at Oakcrest is a 120-unit senior apartment community that offers individuals aged 62 and older an affordable, high quality, state-of-the-art apartment home with many amenities. These one and two bedroom units come equipped with energy efficient appliances, patio or balcony, a fully-equipped fitness room, computer lab and great room for social events. Just off Pennsylvania Avenue, residents enjoy an array of neighborhood amenities, such as the Oakcrest Community Center, restaurants, shopping, banks and more.

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“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 Realty 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 $27.5 million. Financing was provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, in the amount of $8.9 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 site is designed with warm colors, exterior fencing and lush landscaping to create an attractive and inviting streetscape.  Considering the various environmental issues and the need for green building, Oakcrest features high efficiency Energy Star windows, lighting, appliances and HVAC equipment.  These design features culminated in an Energy Star New Homes, version 3.1 certification. 

“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.”

Newsday Long Island (
Jesse Coburn, Staff Writer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


While construction continued on the Copiague Commons mixed-income community in Copiague on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, a lottery was being held at Babylon Town Hall to select residents and establish awaiting list for the 90 brand new affordable apartment homes. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas.



  • More than 500 applications received for new development
  • Lottery determines order of consideration for rental units


More than 500 applications have been submitted for apartments in a $33.5 million, 90-unit, mixed-income development in Copiague that is a centerpiece of Babylon Town’s campaign to revitalize the South Shore hamlet.

Developers of Copiague Commons held a lottery at Babylon Town Hall Wednesday to determine the order in which applications will be considered.

About 30 applicants looked on anxiously as officials from the town, Suffolk County, the Community Development Corp. of Long Island and Rochester-based Conifer Realty took turns drawing names.

Officials said the attendees accounted for a fraction of the more than 525 applications submitted for apartments in the two four-floor buildings near the Copiague train station.

Renting from $1,169 to $1,850, and targeted at people making up to 60 or 100 percent of area median income, the one- and two-bedroom apartments offer a good deal in an area where affordable rentals are hard to find, applicants said.

“We’re literally pricing young and old people off the Island,” said Paul Westphal, a longtime resident of Amity Harbor whose application for a one-bedroom unit was among the first 90 selected. “I believe we could use two or three more of these in Copiague.”

Westphal, 64, cited damage his home suffered in superstorm Sandy as one reason he applied.

“It’s time to get off the water,” said Westphal, who added he is still waiting for state funding to complete repairs.

For Julia Meszaros, Copiague Commons’ proximity to the train station prompted her and her fiance to apply.

Meszaros, 26, a personal trainer who lives in Yaphank, was among the first names called Wednesday.

“It’s going to relieve my stress levels a lot with the commuting we have to do,” she said. Her fiance commutes 2 1⁄2 hours each way to his job at a school in Harlem, she said.

"Gwen O’Shea, president and CEO of the Community Development Corporation, noted the diversity of applicants.

“It’s not just seniors or millennials,” she said. “It couldn’t be more evident how critical the need is for affordable housing on Long Island.”

Applications will now be reviewed in the order determined by the lottery, O’Shea said, although preference will be given to those affected by superstorm Sandy.

Qualifying applicants will be able to move in over the summer, she said.

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Paul Westphal, right, of Amity Harbor, is congratulated after his name was among those picked in a lottery held at Babylon Town Hall on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Babylon Town Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez said the new tenants could provide a boost to business in the hamlet’s downtown, which was rezoned in 2015 to spur transit-oriented development.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of things happening this year in Copiague,” he said.

Julia Meszaros, 26, of Yaphank is congratulated after her name was among the first called during the Copiague Commons applicant lottery held at Babylon Town Hall on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Babylon Town Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez said the new tenants could provide a boost to business in the hamlet’s downtown, which was rezoned in 2015 to spur transit-oriented development.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of things happening this year in Copiague,” he said."

Conifer Realty, LLC is proud to announce the recipients of the Annual Property Management Excellence Awards. The award winners are an extension of Conifer’s values, they positively impact the lives of our residents and support our unwavering dedication to providing high-quality homes that welcome workforce families, elderly and those with special needs. These committed recipients were announced during Conifer’s annual leadership conference with over 250 employees in attendance to celebrate, connect, collaborate and communicate. 


From left to right: Terri Curran (Rookie of the Year); Erik Olton - Fort Hill Apartments (Most Improved Property NOI); Barbara Naylor – Morningside Senior (Property of the Year); Thea Sobkowski (Conifer Value Award); Michelle Marin (Outstanding Customer Service); Gary Meyers (Maintenance Supervisor of the Year); and Marie Kammerer (Manager of the Year).

Please join us in congratulating our exceptional employees on a great 2016 and even better 2017!