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WASHINGTONVILLE, NY-A host of state and local dignitaries were on hand yesterday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Stone Hill Apartments affordable senior-housing development here.

Robert H. Wilder Jr. of Elmsford-based Wilder Balter Partners, who presided over the event, notes that the project would not have been economically feasible without the Federal Housing Tax Credit program, which encourages investment in affordable rental housing.

The $12-million Stone Hill development totals 104 units, of which 92 are one-bedroom apartments and 12 are two-bedroom residences. One-bedroom units, which average 800 sf, rent for $447 per month. Two bedroom apartments are approximately 1,000 sf, and rent for $532 per month.

The Stone Hill complex, which is fully leased, is the third senior-housing project Wilder Balter has built in Orange County. Its other developments are located in Goshen and Warwick.

Stone Hill received low-interest loans from the New York State Housing Trust Fund and the Federal Home Loan Bank as well as HOME loans from Orange County.

Wilder also credits local agencies such as the village of Washingtonville Planning Board and Town Council for approving the necessary zone change to allow the project to move forward and to the town of Blooming Grove for the necessary tax abatements.

Katherine E. Bonelli, supervisor for the town of Blooming Grove, says the Stone Hill project is the third senior-housing development there. In total, the three developments feature more than 200 affordable senior-housing units.

“There are a lot of residents in Blooming Grove who have lived here and raised their children here who want to stay here. This gives them a means to do that,” Bonelli says.

Bonelli adds that she is very pleased with the Stone Hill development and says that the project was a much better alternative to an earlier proposal by another developer who wished to build a much larger affordable-housing development at the site.

Wilder notes that the project probably would not have been built without the federal tax credit program and other state and local loans and incentives.

“If we had to do this as a market rate project you would probably have to charge rents of $1,200 per month for one bedroom apartments and $1,300 or more for two bedroom units,” he says.

The firm has a host of senior-housing projects in the region including two ventures that just recently began construction — Hughson Commons, an $11.7-million, 94-unit senior complex in Carmel (Putnam County) and Brookview Gardens, a $28-million, 208-unit senior community in Babylon (Long Island).

William G. Balter, partner in the firm, notes that the company is also in the approval process for “Woodcrest at Leonard Park” in the village of Mount Kisco (Westchester County). That venture, if approved, will feature 112 units of senior rental housing and an additional 40 luxury housing units that will be put on the sale market. Balter relates that the project could receive final approvals by December 2001 or early 2002 and will cost approximately $15 million to build.

In addition to Supervisor Bonelli, Washingtonville Mayor Leonard Curcio, State Senator Willam Larkin, State Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, Judy Calogero, Deputy Commissioner for Community Development for the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal, as well as other officials from Orange County were also on hand for the event.

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