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senior housing

May 21, 2019 - 4:46pm

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today proudly announced that more than $9 million has been awarded to improve the availability of two affordable housing projects and revitalize the surrounding community.

Frances Apartments II in the Town of Sweden was awarded $3.4 million to create 48 affordable apartments, and $6.3 million was awarded for La Rosa Villas in the Village of Le Roy, creating 60 affordable apartments for seniors close to the village's main street and transportation.

“Home ownership is ingrained as part of the American dream, and helping our seniors and most vulnerable New Yorkers achieve safe, affordable and comfortable living situations is a primary responsibility we all realize as lawmakers,” Hawley said.

“I am proud to see such a large investment injected into the communities of Le Roy and Sweden, as these investments will lift up all residents, but especially those seeking affordable housing. I am pleased to take part in such an important announcement and look forward to these developments serving residents for years to come.”

The funds were made available through New York State Homes & Community Renewal's 2018 Unified Funding Application, a streamlined process to apply for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and low-interest loans for affordable, multifamily developments.

April 5, 2019 - 3:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Le Roy, The Greens of Le Roy, senior housing, notify.

This week The Greens of Le Roy senior assisted living facility announced that it has been acquired by St. Ann's Community, a leading provider of senior housing and health services in Rochester with a 134-year history there.

New signage and papwerork will display its new name, St. Ann's Community at The Greens.

Day-to-day operations will continue as they have and Director Kim Pasquale will continue as the day-to-day point of contact person. The St. Ann's finance team will contact residents and their families soon and provide a new W-9 form.

A letter to stakeholders from officials says: "By bringing together The Greens of Le Roy with St. Ann's Community, we benefit from out collective histories, values and missions to provide residents with the best quality of life.

"It quickly became apparent after working together, that our organization becoming one will enhance our abiluty to serve seniors."

The announcement was made by Michael E. McRae, president and CEO of St. Ann's Community, and A. John Bartholomew, president of Bartholomew Healthcare Group.

St. Ann Community is headquartered at 1500 Portland Ave. in Rochester.

November 16, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Calamar, senior housing.

david_ficarella_1.jpg

UPDATE -- 11/16/16 - 2:15 P.M.

The Batavian received a return phone call from Jocelyn Bos, Calamar's senior housing development director, and she stated that the project is at the "very conceptual level, with no landowner contracts or business details in place."

She did mention that Town of Batavia officials had asked her company to consider another senior apartment complex due to the "incredible need" for that type of housing, and commended David Ficarella for putting together a "substantial plan."

-------------------------------------------------------

The Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday night threw its support behind the idea of a proposed three-story, 110-unit senior apartment complex off Route 33 near Donahue Road, west of the city.

“I definitely like the concept and would be willing to write a letter to the Town of Batavia (board) recommending our approval,” said Kathleen Jasinski, planning board chair, after learning of the plan from David Ficarella, a Lovers Lane Road resident, who said he is working with Calamar Enterprises of Wheatfield on the development.

Ficarella, at the meeting with his wife, Katie, said it will take about $11 million to create the 55-and-over senior community of apartments that would rent at market rate -- $800 to $1,100 per month, with all major appliances and utilities included.

His summary outline to the board states that up to four full-time and two part-time positions will be created, and that about 200 construction jobs will be created to build the facility.

More importantly, he said, his proposed tax structure would generate $1.3 million in county and school tax revenue over the first 10 years, and would provide a sewer system that the town could tap into in the future.

“As it stands now, it’s a piece of land that brings in a couple thousand dollars in taxes, and it would stay that way for the next 30 years if nobody does anything about it,” he said. “The way we have it set up is that this facility will generate long-term tax base without adding demands for services on the school district.”

Ficarella said he is hoping that the Town of Batavia approves a sliding scale, percentage-based tax structure that starts with a low assessment ($250,000) for the first five years and increases to full valuation (estimated at $9 million) by year 10.

The project would not include tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

 “We’ve already been turned down in our request for incentives (from the GCEDC),” he said.

Ficarella owns about 140 acres in the area along Route 33 and would relinquish 10 to 15 acres for the project.

He said he prefers to partner with Calamar based on the company’s “excellent reputation in senior housing” and also is working with East Coast Commercial for financing.

Calamar previously wanted to build a senior citizens housing complex on West Main Street Road, but its request for tax incentives was turned down by the GCEDC Board of Directors. The Niagara County firm then filed a lawsuit against the GCEDC, which it lost. As a result, that project was scrapped.

Phone calls to Jocelyn Bos, senior housing development director for Calamar, were not returned this morning.

This latest proposal also includes the future extensions of Donahue Road north across Route 33 and of Edgewood Drive, which is sandwiched between Route 33 (Pearl Street Road) and the Fairway/Valle/Woodland residential area developed by Gary McWethy, Ficarella said.

“We’re looking to put in some more (single family) building lots, since Gary is out of lots on Edgewood,” Ficarella said. “With the STAMP project coming in (notably the 1366 Technologies solar wafer plant), there will be a lot of people looking for places to live.”

Ficarella said that McWethy has been working toward extending Edgewood Drive onto Pearl Street but has been delayed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has concerns over wetlands located at the west end of the road.

At the end of his presentation, town planners voted unanimously to accept the conceptual proposal and authorized Jasinski to draft a letter of recommendation to the Town Board.

Photo -- David Ficarella of Lovers Lane Road in the Town of Batavia displays his preliminary sketch of the area of a proposed senior housing apartment complex -- along with single-family building lots -- along Route 33 (Pearl Street Road), west of the city. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

November 14, 2014 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, housing, Calamar, senior housing.

A developer seeking to build a senior housing complex in Batavia has filed a lawsuit against the Genesee County Economic Development Center over the board's decision in July to block the project from receiving tax breaks.

The suit alleges that the GCEDC board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, an abuse of discretion and affected by an error of law."

The suit calls for a court-ordered reversal of the decision to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and the proposed tax abatement. 

It doesn't ask the court to actually grant the tax breaks. Typically, the GCEDC board votes on whether to grant tax exemptions after a public hearing. Calamar is seeking to present its project to the public and give the public a chance to weigh in on whether it should receive more than $1.4 million in tax breaks for the project.

Calamar has a contract to purchase 33.4 acres at 3989 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. The development plans call for 110 middle-income apartment units rented exclusively to people 55 and older.

The developer, with offices in New York, Canada, Massachusetts and Nebraska, says it plans to invest more than $11 million in the project.

GCEDC's position is that the lawsuit is without merit. 

Here is a statement provided by Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director for GCEDC:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is in receipt of a notice of a file of claim against our organization by Calamar Enterprises as a result of a recent vote by the GCEDC board.

We believe the allegations in the claim are without merit and will be determined by the courts as such.

As this is a legal matter, the GCEDC will have no further comment.

The suit implies that Calamar was misled about GCEDC's willingness to support the project and that the board's decision went both against GCEDC's own policy and prior approvals for similar projects.

The project was first presented to the board by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, in February.  Masse said during the meeting, according to a quote in Calamar's petition, that he was looking for feedback from the board. 

Calamar said that GCEDC's attorney told the board that although the project wasn't manufacturing, "This project is authorized and allowable under IDA law."

At a March 6 meeting, CEO Steve Hyde reportedly informed the board that GCEDC had participated in housing projects previously, such as the Manor House and the Jerome Center.

The petition claims that Masse continued to work closely with Calamar officials on project plans and proposed tax incentives in the following months.

At a staff meeting in June, the petition states, Masse gave every indication the project would get a green light.

"At no time during this meeting did Mr. Masse state that the Agency had concerns about the Project or was unwilling to support the Project," the document states. "To the contrary, all statements made and actions taken by Mr. Masse indicated that the Project had the support of the GCEDC, justifying the significant investment of time and resources by Calamar."

The project was put before the board July 10 for approval of a public hearing.

The board voted to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and Calamar is accusing two board members of a conflict of interest on the project.

Pete Zeliff (mistakenly named "Paul" in the petition,) and Ray Cianfrini both spoke against tax breaks for the project and voted against setting a public hearing.

The conflict arises, according to Calamar, because Zeliff is building a single-family residential project on East Main Road, Batavia, and Cianfrini, also chair of the Genesee County Legislature, sometimes provides legal counsel to Zeliff.

"The agency's mission is to further the development of industries and create jobs and that housing should stand on its own," Calamar quotes Zeliff as saying.

Calamar claims to have been unaware of Zeliff's development interests at the time of the meeting.

To further emphasize the alleged conflict, Calamar quotes from a story published in The Batavian where Zeliff denies there is a conflict.

In that story, Zeliff noted that the two projects are completely different and do not overlap intended housing markets. Calamar is building apartments for seniors. Zeliff is building houses for families.

The petition states, "Zeliff also acknowledged that competition was an issue influencing his vote," and goes on to say that Zeliff voted against the project to protect his own Oakwood Estates development. 

The characterization of what Zeliff told The Batavian is misleading. Zeliff drew the distinction between his own project and said he didn't see Calamar's project as competitive with it, but noted that another senior housing project, Clinton Crossing, has proceeded without government aid and has a waiting list of residents trying to move in. He said the Calamar project, if it received assistance, would have an unfair, subsidized advantage over Clinton Crossing.

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

The suit also criticizes Zeliff and Cianfrini for misstating how many jobs the project would create. 

Rather than just two jobs, Calamar claims the project would add 4.5 full-time equivalent non-employee jobs (contractors) as well as dozens of construction jobs during the project development.

The rejection, the petition states, was taken "without any findings or reasoning," which Calamar claims is required if the board is going against either past practices or policy.

Calamar is also critical of GCEDC for having a vague Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP), and notes that the state's comptroller's office had the same criticism of GCEDC earlier this year.

"The Comptroller found that this failure to have formalized evaluation criteria resulted in an inconsistent approach by the Board and a lack of objective evaluation of proposed projects," the petition states.

Calamar claims to have received tax incentives for similar projects in Niagara County, Erie County, Stueben County and Auburn.

There is a great need in Genesee County for such a project, Calamar tells the court. According to the 2010 Census, 28.5 percent of the local population is 55 or older and 23.7 percent is 40 to 55.

The Genesee County Housing Focus Group's strategic plan states, according to Calamar, "senior apartment shortages have been noted as a major concern."

Calamar's project would be marketed to people 55 and older with an annual income of $35,000 to $45,000, and residents would only be those not receiving government housing assistance.

The 117,000-square-foot facility would offer one and two bedroom apartments with rents from $805 to $1,050 per month. There would be a full-time director on site, with events, educational seminars, meals, exercise instruction, home helpers, cleaning services, health system services and transportation offered.

The 33 acres of the proposed project is currently assessed at $166,400. The anticipated increase in assessed value is not stated, but the total value of the PILOT would be $854,580, with Calamar paying 20 percent of the taxes on the increase in assessed value in the first year. Calamar would pay an increasing share of taxes up to 100 percent by year 11.

Other proposed tax abatements are $454,744 on sales tax for materials and an exemption of the $120,000 mortgage tax on the purchase of the property.

The suit claims both Masse and GCEDC attorney Russ Gaenzle were shocked by the board's vote and exhibits include copies of their e-mails.

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

August 14, 2014 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC, Calamar, senior housing.

A company that was planning to build much needed middle-income senior housing in Genesee County is apparently ready to kill the project after the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board voted Tuesday to block the project from receiving financial aid.

A representative of Calamar, the senior housing developer, sent an e-mail to a county official yesterday that said without the more than $1.4 million in tax breaks Calamar was seeking, the project is not financially viable. 

A source provided The Batavian with a copy of the e-mail.

"We've been left with no options than to not proceed," wrote Jocelyn Bos, director of senior housing development for Calamar. "If we do not have an endorsement, I wouldn't be able to keep the rents affordable to the middle income senior group of Batavia." 

Asked by The Batavian for further comment and to confirm the contents of the e-mail, Bos backed off the not-proceeding statement.

Her entire statement:

First, I want to tell you how I have admired how your paper supports the seniors of all incomes in your community and just want to let you know that we are exploring our options regarding our proposed middle-income senior complex.

According to John Gerace, a real estate agent who assisted Calamar with locating the property on West Main Street Road for the project, Calamar officials spent much of yesterday discussing their options.

Among them, he said, is filing an Article 78 claim (essentially a lawsuit) against GCEDC.

The way Gerace sees it, middle-income housing for seniors is needed in Batavia; it's part of the county's master plan; it's an identified need in GCEDC's planning documents; and this is a commercial project just like any other, so it's eligible for assistance.

"I told them (the GCEDC board), 'you guys should be ashamed of yourselves because you know it's warranted and needed, so what you've done is just shut the door on any more senior housing in Genesee County,' " Gerace said.

Calamar was seeking $400,000 in sales tax and mortgage tax exemption and a $1 million PILOT, which exempts a property from additional property taxes on an increase in assessed value, graduated over 10 years.

The value of the developed property would have been at least $5 million, Gerace said, which would have meant an additional $175,000 in new local property tax revenue once the PILOT expired. 

Local residents selling their homes to move into the Calamar facility also would have generated new tax revenue, Gerace said.

Gerace worked as a secondary agent on the property sale, he said, and stood to get no more than a $4,000 commission on the $1 million sale of the property on West Main Street Road.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the County Legislature, and a GCEDC board member, said he voted against Calamar because he can't see authorizing spending $1.4 million in taxpayer money to create two jobs.

"We all agreed that it's a worthwhile project," Cianfrini said. "We all agree middle-income senior housing is needed. We agree with that, we just don't want to spend taxpayer money to do it. If the project doesn't go forward, I feel badly about that, but this was not a narrow vote."

Cianfrini said he also sees the Calamar project as competition for existing senior housing in the county -- housing that was built without taxpayer assistance.

Calamar would have been able to charge lower rents than some existing projects and that wouldn't be fair to the other developers, Cianfrini said.

The idea of competition is the key to the vote, Gerace said. More new housing in the county would mean more competition for Pete Zeliff and his Oakwood Estates project on the east side of town.

Zeliff, a newer member of the GCEDC board, is building single-family homes that would be marketed to upper-income professionals.

Gerace thinks that creates a conflict of interest for Zeliff and Cianfrini, who is the attorney for Zeliff on the project.

Cianfrini and Zeliff said both said don't see a conflict of interest. The two projects are completely different. They're aimed at different markets -- one is rental, the other is home ownership. Even if you factor in existing homes being vacated by seniors moving into the Calamar project, that's still a very different home buyer looking at those older homes than would consider something in Oakwood Estates.

Zeliff has not even approached the GCEDC about financial incentives for Oakwood Estates. He said his vote against the Calamar project had everything to do with the merits of the proposal.

"They're creating just two jobs at cost of $1.4 million," Zeliff said. "That's $700,000 a job. The residents complain when the EDC gives incentives to industry that is $100,000 a job, why would the residents want to commit $700,000 to a job to residential housing?"

And yes, competition is an issue -- Calamar would compete with projects such as Clinton Crossings, which charges $1,100 a month in rent. Calamar's taxpayer-subsidized rents would all be $1,000 or less.

Clinton Crossings received no tax incentives for its project, Zeliff said.

"They have 35 people on the waiting list waiting to get in," Zeliff said. "The area will support senior housing at the money Calamar claims it won't."

Gerace wonders why the GCEDC board wouldn't even let the project go to a public hearing, allowing the public to weigh in on whether Calamar should get tax incentives to help build much needed senior housing.

Cianfrini said he didn't see any point in a public hearing.

"My position, if we don't believe in the project in the first instance, why let it go to a public hearing when we know we're going to vote it down after a public hearing," Cianfrini said. "We just thought we'd be wasting valuable time to even let it go to a public hearing. If they want to know what the public viewpoint on this is, let them poll the public themselves and get their own opinion on it."

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