Since 2007, an island of affordable housing dedicated solely for seniors has been located just across the Mid Hudson Bridge from Poughkeepsie, Some 51 single-bedroom rental units have been available next to the Franny Reese State Park for persons at or below half of the area median income level (AMI) in an apartment complex known as Golden View. Now another housing complex that will more than double that number is about to spring up next door.
Called Silver Gardens, the new apartment complex on Argent Drive will create 57 one-bedroom units, of which ten will be marketed to seniors at an income level of half the area median income, 13 to seniors at an income level of sixty percent area median income, five to seniors at an income level of ninety percent of the AMI, and the remaining 29 units reserved for the homeless frail elderly, those with HIV/AIDS, and the chronically homeless.
According to Ulster County government, Silver Gardens wlll address critical housing gaps identified in the 2021 county Housing Action Plan.
“We desperately need more housing in Ulster County, and projects which allow us to provide affordability while also greening our environment and economy are a win-win,: said Ulster County executive Pat Ryan “This is exactly what we should be doing with our ARPA funding.”
The project is a joint venture between Richard Gerentine and Rupco (Rural Urban Preservation Company), who have a working relationship going back two decades. Rupco is a 501c3 nonprofit agency whose mission is to create homes and to improve communities.
Affordable senior housing has been a passion for Gerentine, an eight-term legislator emeritus from Marlborough, former legislative chair, and longtime senior Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. He developed his first senior-citizen housing complex, Jenny’s Garden, in 1998, followed by Jenny’s Garden 2 in 2004 and Golden View in 2007. When Silver Gardens opens its doors, 174 units total throughout Ulster County will have been created by a business model wherein Gerentine owns the land and Rupco manages the properties. They build together.
Gerentine and Rupco are not looking for the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency for a property-tax break. Silver Garden’s tenants by and large won’t be raising children of school age.
The project will be subsidized by federal tax credits offered as incentive to create affordable housing. These credits are sold by the developer to high-income individuals in order to generate revenue for a project. This mechanism can postpone tax obligations indefinitely. Rupco will apply for them.
The general contractor will be Tern Construction. The architect will be Coppola Associates. The energy consultant will be Integral Building and Design, Inc.
The developer agrees that for the next 30 years a predetermined percentage of rental units will remain available at below-market rates.
The plan to build green is another attractive feature of Silver Gardens. As with Rupco’s Energy Square in Kingston, this project will construct a geothermal ground source system designed by Buffalo Geothermal Heating for heating and cooling and to provide hot water. With a cost estimate of a little over a million dollars for the design and installation of the geothermal system, the Ulster County Legislature has allocated $600,000 of federal ARPA funds to augment the construction effort.
All over the Hudson Valley, the new paradigm for attempting to solve housing insecurity is upon us. Its shape resembles private interests partnered with non-profits to create a new legal entity. It’s corporate welfare in the service of improving conditions for those struggling in Ulster County to find affordable housing.
Rupco has been at the game of affordable housing and community revitalization since 1981. It’s a nonprofit agency (501-c-3) whose mission is to create homes through new construction and revitalization, and to improve communities. At Silver Gardens, RUPCO will provide case management and supportive services.
Rupco’s website describes Silver Gardens as “nestled in a tranquil, forested setting,” This word picture is incomplete. The apartment complex will be nestled on one side by the Route 9W in the bosom of the Town of Lloyd.
As with any new development, the project attracted scrutiny and encountered some resistance upon its introduction..In a public hearing from March of last year, Gerentine made himself and his lawyer available to address and respond to the concerns of citizens hesitant about various elements of the development — from dynamite blasting to density.
Interestingly, traffic congestion is apparently less of a problem with elderly tenants. A traffic report study of Golden View found that fewer than 30 owners of the 51 units had cars, and that over a two-week period only half these cars ever moved. As the minimum age limits at Silver Garden will be 62 and older, not many new cars are anticipated in the area.
Over the course of the last year, environmental reviews have been completed, zoning confirmed and plans approved. With the hearty endorsement of the county government, 57 more units will now be available in Lloyd in the battle against housing insecurity.
Long is the struggle.