ComLinks complex set to welcome first tenants in Malone

MALONE -- A new affordable-housing complex in Malone could have its first tenants move in this weekend, the day after an open house.

Windmill Estates is a 20-unit facility that has two-, three- and four-bedroom duplexes, with an on-site coin laundry, a children's playground and half-court basketball area and a community room that can be reserved for use by residents.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the 112 Porter Road site. 

During the open house and guided tours, visitors will see how local furniture stores decorated the apartments to create a warm and homey atmosphere for the holidays.

ComLinks, the community-action organization, is administering the project and obtained funding through the state's Low Income Tax Credit Program and a 1-percent mortgage through the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corp.

"The idea had its genesis with the town when they approached us," said Brian Cassini of ComLinks. "They felt there was a need for affordable housing for working families."

Knowing that two other ComLinks-held housing complexes -- with a total of 28 units -- were full and that each has a waiting list, the agency did marketing studies.

"The town's hunch was right," Cassini said. "There was very little affordable housing and no four-bedroom housing at all."

What's truly different about Windmill Estates, compared to other housing complexes, he said, is that the renters can become the property owners after 15 years.

The rent for each apartment is determined by the family's income based on a median-income formula for Franklin County.

The average eligible-income level ranges from $20,350 for a two-person home to $35,400 for a six-person home, with the rental fees ranging from a low of $400 to a high of $610 a month.

Each unit has hardwood cabinetry; radiant-heat vinyl flooring; energy-efficient windows, doors, refrigerators and stoves; attached storage areas; and available laundry hookups.

The two-bedroom units are handicapped accessible, with one bathroom; three-bedroom units have 1½ baths and two entrance porches; and the four-bedroom apartments have two full bathrooms with two porches.

Cassini said the exterior was designed to reflect North Country style and that Windmill Estates was crafted with a farmhouse look.

He said all construction should be completed by Christmas and that a number of tenants plan to move in after the first of January.

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