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Conifer In The News

Conifer 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 300 employees in attendance to celebrate, connect, collaborate and communicate. 

2016 Conifer Conference Award Winners

From left to right: Al Baxter (2016 Maintenance Person of the Year for Family Housing awarded from the USDA Rural Development); Wayne Chapman (Property of the Year); Karen Coleman (Co-Rookie of the Year); Dorisa Otero (Manager of the Year); Patti Painton (Conifer Value Award); Karen Koskinen (Most Improved Property NOI); Laurie Thomas (Co-Rookie of the Year); Brandi Pecor (Most Improved Property NOI); Sue Terwilliger (Most Improved Property NOI); not pictured: Jacqueline Majors-Myles (Outstanding Customer Service) & Robert Figueroa (Maintenance Supervisor of the Year)

Please join us in congratulating our exception employees on a great 2015 and even better 2016! 

National Housing & Rehabilitation Association
NH&RA, Member News

"Conifer Realty, LLC, celebrated the completion of construction and occupancy of Wincoram Commons in Coram, New York, alongside Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County and New York State officials, as well as civic leaders and private funders. The $56 million development consists of 176 mixed-income multifamily rental apartments, 9,000 square feet of office/retail space, a community center, and a connector road between Route 112 and Route 25 which serves as the main street for the development.

Wincoram Commons Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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Wincoram Ribbon Cutting Event, May 19, 2016

Centereach, N.Y.
(see excerpts from Press Release below)

Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty, LLC, joined today with Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County and New York State officials, as well as civic leaders and private funders to celebrate the completion of construction and occupancy of Wincoram Commons in Coram New York.  This beautiful, new $56 million development consists of 176 mixed-income multifamily rental apartments, 9,000 square feet of office/retail space, a community center, and a connector road between Route 112 and Route 25 which serves as the main street for the development.

Permanent financing sources include: a $9.3 million loan from The Community Development Trust; $7.5 million in tax-exempt bond proceeds from the NYS Housing Finance Agency; a $1 million loan from Empire State Development; $600,000 in Homes for Working Families; $2 million in Suffolk County Workforce Housing Infrastructure funds; $500,000 from CDCLI Funding Corporation; and $31.9 million in federal and state tax credit equity provided by Red Stone Equity Partners.  Capital One and NYS Housing Finance Agency provided construction financing.  The Town of Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency provided crucial development incentives.
“We come together today for a celebration of a new community. The buildings are beautiful, but it is the people who now live here who make this a special place. Within every apartment a family has a story of a life uplifted because so many dedicated people came together in partnership to replace blight with a hamlet center. We are so grateful for the support of all of our public and private sector partners who have made this development possible. You all have invested in the dreams of many people and helped us to transform lives,” said Marianne Garvin, President and CEO of CDCLI.

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Affordable Housing Finance
Christine Serlin, Staff Writer

"Industry experts share strategies for working with neighbors, local officials.

1. Educate the Community

The key to overcoming NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) opposition is to educate people as to what affordable housing really is and what it is not, says Charles Lewis, senior vice president for Conifer Realty.


“When people hear the term ‘affordable housing,’ they tend to think of the worst-looking public housing project in the worst neighborhood in their town,” he says.

Conifer works to dispel those myths by explaining that affordable housing is rental housing affordable to a family of four earning $50,000 (or 60% of the area median income), who the residents are, and where they are from.

“We show that our residents will be people from the community. On the average, 70% of the residents of our developments already live within five miles of the development,” says Lewis. “The other 30%, by and large, have some sort of connection with the community. They work there, grew up there, or have family there.”

Conifer researches pay scales in the community to give examples about the people who will live there, such as a teacher with children, a health-care worker, or an administrative assistant.

2. Address Legitimate Concerns

Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, says it’s important to address the opposition’s legitimate concerns, such as traffic or project design.

These legitimate, non-discriminatory concerns may lead the affordable housing developer to make adjustments to items such as the location of the entrance driveway or the design of the building to better fit in with the existing community.

“It is wise for the affordable housing developer to be able to report to the local elected body that they have worked with the neighbors and made every reasonable effort to respond to each concern,” says Ross, who is also an attorney. “Once all legitimate concerns are addressed, if opposition persists, it can be stated with certainty that the opposition is illegitimate and is therefore opposition that would be inappropriate, arbitrary, capricious, or unlawful for the local government to consider in making its land-use decision.”

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Conifer is ranked 21st in The National Affordable Housing Management Associations “Affordable 100” list for 2016!  This is up from 24 in 2015!

Thank you to our team for thier role in working together!  #ConiferInMotion  #DoingWhateWeDoBetter

To see the rankings, click on the link below:

Wincoram front rendering 600x330

David Winzelberg, Staff Writer
Long Island Business News /

"As officials plan to cut the ribbon Thursday on a new $56 million mixed-use development in Coram, its first retail tenants have already been signed.

Called Wincoram Commons, the project by Rochester, N.Y.-based Conifer Realty and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, brings 176 workforce homes, 9,000 square feet of office/retail space and a community center to the site of a former multiplex movie theater which had been abandoned for more than a decade.

The first tenants signed to the retail portion of the development are Kindred Fitness, a gym which will occupy 1,381 square feet and Sammy Scissors, a barber shop, which will occupy 638 square feet. Both plan to open next month.

Jonathan Mehr and Douglas Bomzer of Garden City-based Sabre Real Estate Group represented the landlord in both lease transactions. Sabre is marketing five additional retail spaces at Wincoram, ranging from 767 square feet to 1,534 square feet and a 6,000-square-foot pad site to be completed in early 2017 that’s approved for a 150-seat restaurant.

The rental housing at Wincoram, offered through a lottery system, is reserved for households falling within 50 to 90 percent of the area median income. Rents range from $929 to $1,294 for a one-bedroom, $1,113 to $1,551 for a two-bedroom and $1,230 to $1,778 for a three-bedroom apartment, based on income. Apartment sizes range from 708 to 1,376 square feet.

A host of elected officials and business leaders are slated to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine, State Sen. John Flanagan and Long Island Association President Kevin Law."

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Nicholas Spangler, Staff Writer
Newsday / 

"Groundbreaking was celebrated yesterday for Copiague Commons, a $33.5 million, 90-unit affordable apartment project local officials say will spark a resurgence of the hamlet’s downtown.

“This downtown has the potential to be one of the great downtowns in our region,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “Key to that is affordable housing.”

Apartments in the two four-story buildings planned for the 54 Railroad Ave. site will rent for $1,193 to $1,850. The project is aimed at tenants earning 60 percent to 100 percent of the area median income, which is $106,200 for a family of four.

Developers are building on the former site of a commercial warehouse a short walk from the Copiague Long Island Rail Road station, taking advantage of new Babylon Town zoning for the hamlet’s downtown that permits greater density.

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Tim Gannon, Staff Writer
Riverhead News-Review

"Two projects received tax incentives from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency Monday, and two others began the process of applying for them.  

In addition to approving tax abatements for a hard cider facility on Sound Avenue and a proposed restaurant and hotel on East Main Street, the IDA heard informal presentations from two proposed downtown apartment complexes seeking tax abatements."


Representatives of Peconic Crossing — another proposed “workforce housing” apartment complex in downtown Riverhead — made an informal presentation at Monday’s IDA meeting.

In March, the project received site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board for a 45-unit affordable apartment complex, three less than originally proposed, at the site of the Long Island Science Museum. Peconic Crossing also plans to give leasing preference to artists and to have an art gallery within the building.

A joint venture between Conifer Realty of Rochester and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Peconic Crossing plans to buy the LISC building and demolish it.

The LISC would use the money from the sale to buy property elsewhere for the museum.

The museum would have nine months from the closing of the sale to find another location and Conifer Realty would assist in that search, according to Conifer vice president of development Allen Handelman.

An IDA public hearing on the project is set for June 6."

Nicholas Spangler, Staff Writer
Newsday /

"Groundbreaking is scheduled for Thursday at the downtown Copiague site where developers plan to build a 90-unit affordable rental apartment complex, Copiague Commons.

Like other so-called transit-oriented developments in Ronkonkoma, Wyandanch and Patchogue, Copiague Commons will be within walking distance of the hamlet’s Long Island Rail Road station, a location that project backers and planners say has growing cachet with seniors, young professionals and commuters who are carless by choice.

Town officials say the $33.5 million Copiague Commons is expected to be finished next spring. It is the first and so far the only project under rezoning passed last year intended to encourage denser building and mixed commercial and residential use in the hamlet’s downtown, dominated by low-slung commercial buildings.

Ultimately, they say, redevelopment will bring jobs and services to an area where median income trails the rest of the town.

“This is going to kick-start other private investment into that downtown,” said Marianne Garvin, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island, one of the developers.

Copiague Commons will also alleviate a rental housing shortage so severe that many of the nonprofit’s projects have 10 times as many applicants as available apartments, she said.

“All over Long Island, there’s a severe disconnect between need and supply,” she said, with much of the new housing stock too expensive for all but the affluent.

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David Winzelberg
Long Island Business News /

Copiague Commons Copy

"Developers, business leaders and elected officials are slated to attend an official groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a 90-residence apartment complex in Copiague.

The $33.5 million project being built by the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and Conifer Realty will add 56 one-bedroom and 34 two-bedroom apartments on the Railroad Avenue site just across from the Copiague Long Island Rail Road station.

Demolition of the blighted site was recently completed to make way for the two four-story buildings that will house the apartments that will be available to families earning up to the area median income ($106,200 for a family of four). Rents will range from $1,193 to $1,450 for the one-bedroom apartments and from $1,431 to $1,850 for the two-bedroom apartments.

Among the officials expected at the groundbreaking are Marianne Garvin, president and CEO of CDCLI; Joan Hoover, vice president of Conifer; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer; Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory; Sharon Fattoruso from the Copiague Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association; Laura Bailey, a managing vice president of Capital One Bank; Tricia Yarger, vice president of Citi Community Capital; and Eric McClelland, president and CEO of Red Stone Equity Partners, which is helping to finance the project with $7.2 million in low-income housing tax credit equity.

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