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Housing project getting support

Saturday, December 14, 2013 - Updated: 4:08 AM

By HEATHER NELLIS

heather.nellis@recordernews.com

It's been a good week for the folks behind the Deer Run Assisted Living Facility project proposed on Amsterdam's South Side.

On Wednesday, it was announced the project will receive $880,000 in state economic development funding.

On Thursday, the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency approved a 10-year Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes deal, and exemptions for sales tax on construction materials, and the mortgage recording tax.

"We're very pleased," said Diane Shea, the chief financial officer for River Ridge Living Center, which is owned by Paul Guttenberg, Deer Run's developer. Guttenberg was reportedly out of the office Friday.

"It will hopefully help the project go forward a little quicker," Shea added.

Deer Run is a two-pronged, $25 million project proposed adjacent to the existing skilled-nursing facility at River Ridge on Sandy Drive.

Plans at Deer Run include an approximate 94,000-square-foot, 120-bed assisted living facility, plus 14 three-unit senior houses totaling 56,000 square feet.

IDA CEO Ken Rose said Friday the approval is for the PILOT in scope. The IDA will now craft the legal agreement, and set up a time to close the transaction.

The IDA is pursuing the project for multiple reasons, Rose said.

"We're taking it on because it's a $20-plus million project, but they're also committing to the creation of 73 permanent jobs at that facility, and it's fulfilling a need within the county," Rose said. "Our biggest priority, though, is job creation and retention."

On top of the permanent jobs, the project will create 225 jobs through the 18-months of construction.

Rose described the PILOT as a "standard" 10-year plan, in which any increase of assessed value on the property will be abated.

After the first year, the 100 percent abatement would drop to 90 percent; after two, to 80 percent, and so on for the duration of the plan.

However, like the rest of the IDA's PILOTs, this one is subject to job-creation call-back tests that stipulate tax penalties if the numbers are not met.

For example, Beech-Nut in the Florida Business Park was recently hit with a $1 million tax penalty because it did not meet job creation numbers stipulated in its PILOT agreement.

Deer Run's PILOT will not diminish any taxes already paid for the parcels, Rose said.

The PILOT is subject to local and state permitting. At the local level, Rose said the city Planning Board and the county IDA have already approved everything in relation to the project.

In December 2012, the New York State Department of Health approved a Certificate of Need for Guttenberg to build the assisted living center.

U.S. Census Bureau data says one in every four Montgomery County residents is a senior citizen.

According to Department of Health documents, Deer Run was awarded the second-highest number of beds in the state. The highest is a Niagara County assisted living program with 150 beds.

The land is already purchased, and buildings would afford all the required modern amenities, according to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.

     

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