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Homes and Community Renewal

NYS Homes and Community Renewal, Two Plus Four Construction, SEPP and Partners Join to Celebrate the Grand Opening of Watkins Glen School Apartments

51 Affordable New Homes for Seniors, Community Events Venue Created in the Former Middle School

Watkins Glen, NY March 10, 2016 New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) joined Two Plus Four Construction, SEPP Management Group, and partners to announce the opening of Watkins Glen School Apartments, a new 51-apartment affordable development for seniors created through the redevelopment of the former Watkins Glen Middle School.

Located at 906 N. Decatur Street, the newly created apartments are among the thousands of units that form the foundation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s new, $10 billion House New York 2020 program to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over the next five years.
HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin said: “Adapting existing outdated structures for new uses has the effect of breathing new life into a community. With this development, and thanks to Governor Cuomo’s enduring commitment to providing more affordable housing opportunities in communities across the state, we have achieved that promise by producing this new housing and by crafting a beautiful new events venue for the community. Watkins Glen School Apartments is a great investment and inspired development that will provide an irreplaceable affordable housing resource for years and years to come.”

The former Watkins Glen middle school was converted into a senior community with 51 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The $14.3 million project includes an important extra benefit for the community in the form of civic space created by rehabilitating the former school’s existing auditorium and gymnasium. The three-story building’s residential units are located on the first, second and third floors and are accessible by both stairs and an elevator.  Laundry facilities are available on each floor, and the development provides a large community room with a kitchenette and a computer lab on the first floor. Two additional activity rooms are on an upper floor.  Watkins Glen School Apartments are conveniently located near downtown and the Watkins Glen harbor district. A grocery store, pharmacy and local retail shops are all within walking distance of the site.

Anthony F. Fiala, Jr. Executive Director/CEO of SEPP Management, said: “On behalf of SEPP, we are very pleased to be part of the Village of Watkins Glen and the County.  It was a team effort with our partner Two Plus Four Construction and the result is an incredible project that will provide safe, affordable housing for generations to come.”

Susan M. Kimmel, President of Two Plus Four Construction, said: “Watkins Glen School Apartments is a perfect example of a successful public / private partnership. Governor Cuomo has made affordable housing a priority and has given the leadership at NYS Homes and Community Renewal the tools necessary to bring affordable housing to the most vulnerable New Yorkers. In working closely with the development team, NYS Homes and Community Renewal has given the Village of Watkins Glen the opportunity to see the reuse of a historic landmark central to their Village while providing much needed housing to the seniors in their community.” Two Plus Four Construction served as the general contractor and Managing Member of Lakewood Development II, LLC the developer.

Senator Thomas F. O’Mara said, “What a fantastic, innovative project to help Watkins Glen address the critical need for more affordable senior housing, which remains a challenge across the region and state.   The Watkins Glen School Apartments will make a great home for many of our senior residents.  I’m proud to have played a part in making this project a success.  It’s an exciting and a welcome addition to the community and we appreciate the state and Governor Cuomo for their significant support of this project.”
As an historic landmark, features such as the school lockers, skylights, doors and wood work, chalk boards and other original fixtures and details have been retained, as a reminder of the building’s original use and adding decorative elements and character to the apartment complex.

HCR funding for this $14.3 million project was provided through the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and Federal Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) Programs, which leveraged an NBT Bank loan, Federal and State Historic Tax Credit Equity, NYSERDA incentives and a deferred developer fee. Citi Community Capital provided the construction loan and has an equity investment in Lakewood Development.  HCR’s Rural & Urban Community Investment Fund program and Empire State Development, through a Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council CFA grant award, are providing funding for the civic space.

“Citi is committed to financing affordable housing in communities throughout New York State, and we have been excited to work with a creative developer like Lakewood Development, who has the skills needed to take a historic building, a school no longer needed for that purpose, and turn it into much needed affordable rental housing for seniors,” said Richard Gerwitz, Co-Head, Citi Community Capital. “We are pleased that our loan and equity investment, together with considerable State resources, will provide such a substantial benefit to the people of Watkins Glen.”

Residents began moving in on Friday February 26, 2016. The building is expected to be rented to capacity by April 2016. Applications are currently being accepted and to date, 21 households have moved in. The gross rents (rent plus utilities) range from $485 to $616 a month, and will be affordable to households with incomes at or below 50% of area median income.  HTFC Project-Based Rental Vouchers will be provided for the eight apartments reserved for frail elderly renters. For applications call 800-838-0441 TDD 711 or visit

The development team of Lakewood Development II, LLC and Sepp, Inc., developers; Two Plus Four Construction, Inc., general contractor; and BCK-IBI Group, architects began construction work in November 2014. Work was completed in February 2016.

About New York State Homes and Community Renewal:
New York State Homes and Community Renewal serves New Yorkers by fostering the creation and preservation of affordable housing, working strategically to revitalize neighborhoods and communities, and promoting fair housing opportunity throughout the Empire State. HCR agencies include the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA), Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. In 2015, HCR was the #1 bond issuer in the nation with $2.5 billion issued and is taking the lead on the Governor’s new $10 billion commitment to finance the creation or preservation of 100,000 affordable apartments and homes over the next five years.