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Conifer In The News

Susan E. Campbell, Staff Writer
Saratoga Business Journal / www.saratoga.com 

"A 17-acre plot on Route 67 next to East Line Road will soon provide 163 apartments for people working in and around Ballston Spa, according to the developer, Conifer Realty of Rochester, which closed on the purchase of the property on July 1.

The land was purchased from Hal Schultz, a real estate developer who had been working to develop and market the property since 2007.

Brian Donato, project manager at Conifer, said his company paid approximately $2.5 million for the land that will become Blue Heron Trail, a four-phase residential development that may also include about 10,000 square feet of commercial lease space in the final phase.

That's approximately $150,000 per acre and on the low side of market value, Donato said.

"The property was appraised for more," he said. "Things are going for up to $200,000 per acre in the area." 

A good price was only one aspect that made this deal attractive to Conifer. The location is a busy corridor on the north side of Route 67 and a comfortable commute for the growing employment possibilities in the immediate area, including Malta's technology park businesses.

Mike Murphy, Staff Writer
Daily Messenger / www.mpnnow.com 

"Members of the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center are trying to help bring the arts to a local stage

CANANDAIGUA — Gordon Estey’s career in theater started at the old Canandaigua Academy and Junior Academy auditorium where the Fort Hill Apartments now stand.

In fact, Estey, a semi-retired theater manager at the Canandaigua Academy, said a member of the board of directors of a group looking to refurbish the auditorium and stage local performing arts events there met her husband on that very stage while performing in a musical.

“There is a connection there,” Estey said.

And Estey and others are looking to build new ones.

Backers of a plan to refurbish the auditorium soon will be kicking off a fundraising campaign in the hope of raising up to $2 million to help building owner and manager Conifer Realty LLC with the project.

Since receiving a conditional use permit from the City Planning Commission for the project in late 2014, several Canandaigua residents and theater buffs have been working behind the scenes to make the curtains rise on the project.

When done, the new-look auditorium will serve as an anchor location for the performing arts, whether it’s community theater productions, open mic nights, poetry readings, music and dance recitals, or concerts, according to Holger Stave, executive director of the not-for-profit Fort Hill Performing Arts Center.

“This facility will be a lot more affordable and open to anybody who wants to put something on here,” Stave said. “We’re always going to give community-based groups and functions the priority.”

Changes are afoot.

The auditorium sat over 750 people in its heyday, but the plan is to reduce seating to about 500. The old balcony cannot be used as it once was, but the plan is to reopen loge boxes, Stave said.

The lighting and rigging systems will be redone for a fully equipped stage.

The main entry lobby also see a major makeover. So when Stave looks at the entrance to the apartments now, he’s really foreseeing the glitz and glamor of opening night.

“When you walk into the front doors, it will really be mind-blowing,” Stave said.

The main lobby area also will include space for meetings, catered and corporate functions, art shows and exhibits. A lower level will have studio space, offices and sound-isolated rooms for teaching.

Remarkably, the auditorium has held up well over the years, Estey said.

“It has some great bones,” Estey said. “It’s really, really sharp. This will make a really charming theater.”

The hope is for the facility to be a community center for the whole region, Estey said. Now, there just isn’t enough space around to do what the group wants to see happen.

High school stages, including Canandaigua Academy and Finger Lakes Community College’s new stage, are booked solid, Estey said.

For Stave, the interest in the project came from his role as president of the Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra, which always seems to be looking for a home.

“Now the hard work starts — looking for the money to get it done,” Stave said. “We’re trying to create a little frenzy here.”

The plan

Here's how the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center is envisioned to work.

Members will be reaching out to regional organizations interested in using the venue either on a regular or rotating basis. Users may reserve space for recurring productions or rehearsals or book occasional events.

The operation will be managed by the organization's board of directors and an on-site executive director. Volunteers also will be recruited and trained professionally to assist in the aspects of running the facility.

For more information, visit www.fhpacc.org."


Kristine Wolf, Publisher
New York Real Estate Journal

"Woodbury, NY The 15th Annual Long Island Smart Growth Awards took place this June at the Crest Hollow Country Club, honoring individuals and organizations and advancing successful downtown initiatives. Over 900 of Long Island’s civic, business, development and government leaders took part in the program for the best in class for 2015-2106. NYS comptroller Tom Dinapoli was the keynote speaker.

Of Long Island’s 100 downtown business districts 60 have revitalization plans and 40 are actively moving projects forward. All told over 12,000 units of transit oriented development housing have been approved over the last ten years along with countless other downtown projects.

Vision Long Island received over 40 deserving nominations and the project and organizational honorees awarded include: Scott Rechler for regional leadership; Hon. Don Barbieri for Walkability in New Hyde Park; Alma Realty Corp & the Village of Valley Stream for a Mixed UseProject in Valley Stream; Conifer Realty & Town of Babylon for Housing Choices in Copiague; Patchogue Chamber of Commerce for “Alive after Five” in Patchogue; Town of Islip & Greenview Properties for a Pedestrian Plaza in Bay Shore; LI Building Trades Council & LI Federation of Labor for Job Development; Lalezarian & Village of Mineola for Mineola Village Green & One Third Ave, two redevelopment projects in Mineola;Beechwood Organization & Village of East Rockaway for Marina Pointe, a waterfront TOD in East Rockaway; Bartone/Terwilliger & Village of Farmingdale for Cornerstone, a TOD in Farmingdale, the Gitto Group & Village of Port Jefferson for the Hills, a TOD in uptown Port Jefferson; and East End Arts and the Westbury Arts Council for creating a Sense of Place by providing arts, music and culture in our downtowns."


Tim Gannon, Staff Writer
Riverhead News Review

"Peconic Crossing, a 45-unit, five-story “workforce housing” apartment building proposed on West Main Street, will get a 100 percent property tax abatement on the value of the improvements for 10 years, under a decision made by the Riverhead Town Industrial Development Agency Monday. 

The 10-year tax abatement — which means they will pay full town, school, county and fire department property taxes on the value of the land, while getting a full abatement on the value of what they build — is the IDA’s standard tax abatement for projects in downtown Riverhead, where officials are trying to attract development.

The $17.6 million project also will receive an abatement on county mortgage recording tax, and on sales tax associated with material used in the job.

A joint venture between Conifer Realty of Rochester and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Peconic Crossing plans to buy the Long Island Science Center building on 11 W. Main St. and demolish it to make way for the apartments.

Peconic Crossing is working to help find the Science Center a new location, according to Conifer vice president of development, Allen Handelman.

“We’re hoping to begin construction by the end of the year,” he said at Monday’s IDA meeting. “If not, then maybe the first quarter of next year.”

The Science Center has 240 days from the closing of the sale of the building to leave, under the agreement between the two entities, but Mr. Handelman said they are working to help relocate the Science Center and may do some of the work planned on repairing the bulkhead to the south of the property first, to give them more time.

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Emily C. Dooley, Staff Writer
Newsday / www.newsday.com

"The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery is spending $68.6 million in federal disaster recovery money to help fund construction of 695 affordable housing units statewide, replenishing stocks damaged by superstorm Sandy and tropical storms Irene and Lee.

The spending includes $13.25 million to partially cover the cost of 135 apartments at complexes in Copiague and Riverhead that will feature raised electrical panels, repaired bulkheads and other resiliency measures.

The storm recovery money is being used in Sandy-affected communities or nearby areas, said James Rubin, commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal and former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

“What makes a community resilient in the face of a storm is a resilient housing stock,” he said.

Nearly 17,000 rental units on Long Island and upstate were damaged during the 2011 and 2012 storms. Of those, 2,069 units were severely damaged, according to state data.

Money from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery helps fill funding gaps for the projects while ensuring that the new housing units are storm-ready, spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio said.

“We have a commitment to rebuilding in a more resilient way,” said Paul Lozito, director of housing policy and affordable housing at the state’s storm recovery office.

Copiague Commons Copy

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Brian Crandall, Staff Writer
The Ithaca Voice

"ITHACA, N.Y. -- It's safe to say this is under construction. Work has commenced on Conifer LLC’s Cayuga Meadows affordable senior housing project on West Hill.

Cayuga Meadows is a 3-story, 58,500 SF apartment building with 68 units, 59 1-bedroom and 9 2-bedroom. The units will be available to individuals aged 55 and older, with incomes 60% or less or the Area Median Income (AMI). AMI in Tompkins County is about $53,000 per household, so a qualifying senior household would have an annual income of $31,800 or less. 7 units will be accessible to mobility-impaired individuals, and 3 units will be designed to accommodate hearing or visually-impaired occupants. Included in the plans are two covered patios, a community garden, and stormwater, lighting and landscaping improvements. 67 parking spaces will be paved behind the building.

The history of Cayuga Meadows goes back a few years, and has its share of twists. Originally, the project had been conceived as “Conifer West Hill” in 2009 as a component to a Cornell-led mixed-use development on about 36 acres of land across from Cayuga Medical Center. Rochester-based Conifer’s part in the plan has always been the same – affordable housing for seniors. But Cornell had other plans for the rest of the acreage.

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Conifer is pleased to announce that, in partnership with Volunteers of America Upstate New York (VOAUPNY), a brand new, 60-unit, senior apartment community is now leasing in Webster! 

Cobblestone Place at Webster

Cobblestone Place at Webster will be opening in late 2016, offering spacious one and two bedroom apartment homes, including HVI units for those with special needs. Individuals 62+ can stay close to home in an affordable, high-quality, state-of-the-art apartment community, featuring many amenities, including energy efficient appliances, patio or balcony, fitness room and great room for social events. Located off Ridge Road, residents will enjoy being less than a mile from banking, restaurants, medical centers, shopping and more!

To obtain an application, please visit the property webpage www.cobblestoneplacewebster.com to fill out the digital interest list form, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (585) 280-5083. Send completed applications to PO Box #849, Webster, NY 14580


Robin K. Cooper, Reporter
Albany Business Review

"A Rochester real estate developer has purchased 17 acres of land on Route 67 in Ballston, New York, where the company is seeking approval to build 140 apartments.

Conifer Realty, which has developed more than 220 apartment communities in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, acquired property along the heavily traveled corridor in Saratoga County for $2.47 million. The deal closed July 1.

The land was purchased from Hal Schultz, a real estate developer who has been working to develop and market the property since 2007. That was two years before computer chip maker GlobalFoundries began building its $15 billion factory less than 10 minutes away.

Schultz, who ran H.R. Schultz Inc. construction company in Ballston until retiring two years ago, started acquiring property on Route 67 near East Line Road in 1978.

He grew up on Wolf Road in Colonie, one of the Albany region's busiest commercial corridors, and he saw potential decades ago for residential and commercial development along Route 67, which carries an average of 16,000 vehicles per day between Route 50 in Ballston to Exit 12 of the Interstate 87 Northway in Malta.

Schultz said his real estate agent, Dean Taylor of Re/Max in Clifton Park, identified Conifer Realty as a potential buyer and developer of an area where Schultz had envisioned investing $35 million to construct apartments, townhomes, offices and retail space.

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The South Wedge Farmers Market, which operates under the direction of the South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC), is stationed outside of The Hamilton Apartments on Mount Hope every Thursday night from 4pm-7pm from June through October.

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The Farmers Market offers locally grown food from vendors less than 100 miles from Rochester, live music with electric provided by The Hamilton Apartments, and cooking demonstrations from local chefs. 2016 is the 10th season for The South Wedge Farmers Market with a goal to provide healthy, fresh food to the city and support the community’s well-being.

Come to the Genesee Gateway Park at Mount Hope and Alexander this Thursday and enjoy some local vendors, such as, Blue Toad Cider, Happy Pickle, Lagoner Farms, Paw-La’s Pantry, Pudgy Girl Bakery and more! 


154The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA Rural Development) announced the winners of the National Multi-Family Housing Maintenance People of the Year for 2016. We are proud to announce Al Baxter, Maintenance Mentor at Willow Landing Apartments I & II, was one of two recipients of this award. This is the second year USDA Rural Development has given an award for Maintenance Person of the Year.

“Congratulations to Albert “Al” Baxter, the Rural Development winner for family projects, of Willow Landing Apartments I & II in Palmyra, New York. Al was nominated for his phenomenal work keeping up with the maintenance work at the projects (apartment communities). A celebration, date and time to-be-determined, will be held at Willow Landing Apartments this summer,” an excerpt from USDA Rural Development’s May/June/July MFH Newsflash.

A panel of housing professionals from CARH and representatives from USDA Rural Development made the selections. Winners were selected from numerous nominations from several states.

Please join us in congratulating Al on providing maintenance care beyond expectations. He is a true testament to the professional employees who continue to show their dedication at Conifer. 


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