PLATTSBURGH — A Wednesday afternoon groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of construction on a 40-unit affordable housing complex at 20 Montana Dr. in the Town of Plattsburgh.
The Atlas Heights development team will include not-for-profit Plattsburgh Community Housing, an affiliate of the Plattsburgh Housing Authority, and 3d Development Group LLC.
Mark Hamilton, executive director for both Plattsburgh Community Housing Inc. and the Plattsburgh Housing Authority, said the final project would have a 49,000-square-foot footprint.
"That includes three apartment buildings, a community building and then a tenant storage area," Hamilton said, adding that a playground and support services would be on site, as well.
"This is a great project for the community. Though it's in the town, it borders the city, which is another really exciting opportunity for the residents here."
The development's lot just off of U.S. Avenue was within walking distance of grocery stores, pharmacies and a variety of employment opportunities, he added.
"We're excited to see what's going to happen."
The Atlas Heights buildings will be constructed in hopes of attaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, recognition and New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) approval.
According to a Plattsburgh Community Housing release, those certification processes would result in a higher quality of construction that is more energy efficient and healthier for tenants.
Plattsburgh Housing Authority operates 601 housing units throughout the City of Plattsburgh and those units, split into three Asset Management Projects, are home to approximately 7 percent of that municipality.
Atlas Heights in the Town of Plattsburgh would be different from those pre-existing developments, though.
The Plattsburgh Community Housing and Atlas Heights Limited Partnership will be its owners, Hamilton said.
"The Housing Authority won't own the development," he said. "It will just be acting as a managing company — that's what's new for us.
"The Housing Authority does not currently manage housing that it doesn't own. This is really building our capacity to manage housing.
"So, as more housing gets developed in the area, we'll be able to be considered for management."
Hamilton said the $13.8 million project was primarily funded via New York State Homes & Community Renewal through tax credits or the Housing Trust Fund.
"With the exception of $40,000," he added. "That funding came from a NYSERDA grant."
The Atlas Heights development was expected to have eight three-bedroom units, 20 two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units.
Qualified families will have 60 percent or less of the area's Median Family Income.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that income for Clinton County in fiscal year 2019 was $68,300.
Depending on unit size, future residents of Atlas Heights will pay between $550 to $928 per month.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP
Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) attended the Wednesday groundbreaking and said the incoming development would help to fill a local void.
"We all know that we need affordable housing here in Plattsburgh," Jones said. "Some of the biggest obstacles that our people have are transportation, childcare and, yes, housing.
"This definitely, definitely fits into what we are trying to do here."
But the assemblyman said something even greater would come with Atlas Heights.
"The piece of this that I especially like is they are doing 14 units for survivors of domestic violence," Jones said. "We all know when people are trying to get out of a situation, housing is one of the biggest obstacles.
"To give this to the people who are trying to better themselves and better their families is just a wonderful opportunity."
In addition to the units reserved for domestic violence survivors, Hamilton said the 40-unit development would have other designations, too.
"We have six fully accessible units and four units that are designed for the hearing and visually impaired," he said. "Those units will go to people who meet the income requirement, but will also have those needs.
"The rest of the units are for anyone that meets the income requirement."
Construction of the complex was expected to finished by June 2021 and by March of that year, Hamilton expected a marketing campaign would begin searching for applicants.
During the first round of applications, applicants would be put into a lottery, he said, and then, "any application received after that would be put on a waiting list by date received."
'HELP ALL OF US'
Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said Atlas Heights will be bringing more affordable housing to not just Plattsburgh, but to the county.
"The greater region of Clinton County is in dire need of good, affordable housing," Cashman said. "This will help all of us. It sets a standard of affordable, safe housing."
"Thank you to everyone that has invested in this project, not only with dollars, but in time and energy," he continued. "I look forward to future growth and the good things to come."
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