LAKE PLACID — It’s construction season again in Lake Placid, and not just on Main Street. Three housing developments – Fawn Valley, MacKenzie Outlook and the Peaks in Lake Placid – are underway, and construction is restarting and progressing at two of those developments.
Peaks in Lake Placid
Construction plans, timelines and financing for the project have been changing for some time at the Peaks development on Barn Road. The proposed 355-unit housing complex, located in the former W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, was originally scheduled for construction starting last May and expected to be completed within two years.
Crews cleared the land last fall and began installing underground infrastructure, although Peaks developer Joe Barile did not apply for additional construction permits, according to code enforcement officer Mike Orticelle.
When reached by phone to comment on developments on Tuesday morning, Barile asked that questions from the press be sent to him in a message. Barile did not respond to questions by press time on Wednesday.
Orticelle said on Monday that Barile had not applied for a permit to lay the foundations for new buildings. Orticelle learned from a contractor working at the Peaks that the project was on hold, but Orticelle didn’t know why.
The project was scaled back last year due to funding and construction material supply chain issues, and North Elba City Supervisor Derek Doty said last month that Barile intended further reduce the project. Doty believed that Barile had decided to remove 55 units from the project plan, which he said constituted an entire building in the complex, to facilitate the redrawing of lot lines. Councilwoman Emily Kilburn Politi said in February she believed Barile was applying for a sales tax exemption for the Peaks project through the Essex County Industrial Development Agency.
Barile encountered a few hurdles in financing the Peaks. He was denied a loan he originally applied for through Green Bank, a state-sponsored bank aimed at financing green energy projects, which would have fully funded the project. He eventually secured partial financing through the Evans Bank in Buffalo and the local Champlain National Bank, which led Barile to develop the project in “steps” because it provided additional funding.
The 101-unit first phase was expected to be complete by the 2023 FISU games next January and accommodate around 620 athletes, but Barile told Adirondack North Country Sports Council executive director Ashley Walden earlier this year that he could not guarantee that none of the units would be done by the games.
Orticelle said Monday that Barile is not at risk of losing the project permit approvals he obtained from the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Panel in March 2021. Someone does not need to present a new application for review board approval if they complete their project within three years. or make substantial progress on their project during that time, according to Orticelle, and he believes Barile has done “substantial work” at the Peaks.
He said construction crews have cleared much of the property and started clearing out the old Cell Science Center, which is set to be renovated and turned into townhouses, but no new construction can take place without permits for residents. works.
valley of the beast
Construction resumes in Fawn Valley this week after a winter break, according to Homestead Development Corporation President Steve Sama. HDC is a local non-profit organization responsible for the development of Fawn Valley, located on Westvalley Road, which will provide 22 new homes for sale: six Cape Cod-style two-bedroom single-family homes and 16 two-bedroom townhouses located in four buildings.
Construction workers plan to start digging the ground to replace 320 feet of a 100-year-old sewer line this week. The main water line to the property is already in place and a rough road to the property has been laid out. Sama said they will start laying gravel and asphalt soon, and workers plan to start digging foundations in June for the six homes that will arrive on the site this fall. Each house and townhouse building is modular and mostly arrives pre-built. The townhouses are expected to arrive next summer.
Six applications have already been approved for the homes, and Sama said the homes are going to local essential workers – law enforcement, teachers, healthcare workers – “exactly the people we wanted to serve.”
HDC received its second $125,000 Local Improvement and Advancement Fund grant for Fawn Valley last month. The City of North Elba awarded HDC its first grant of $125,000 last November. Sama said Monday that HDC got an additional $15,000 from the Adirondack Foundation and $25,000 from the Cloudsplitter Foundation. He said that would largely account for the $400,000 bill for the first half of the project. He expects cash flow for the rest of the project to improve as the first six homes are sold.
There have been a few updates to the project since its initial announcement. The homes were originally expected to sell for around $200,000, but Sama said they will eventually be closer to $220,000. Sama said HDC was selling the units at cost.
Another change is that townhouses were originally planned to be condominiums. Sama said the estimated cost of each unit – $180,000 – will remain the same. The main difference is that townhouse buildings will each have four two-story units side-by-side, while two-story condominiums would have had four one-story units stacked together. Sama said the new design won’t require people to live on top of each other and each townhouse will have its own basement instead of the common basement originally planned for condos.
HDC has not yet approved applicants for the condos since construction is still a year away, Sama said.
All Fawn Valley units will be subject to deed restrictions so they cannot be used as short-term vacation rentals or rented to long-term tenants. Sama also said HDC would cap the price at which homes can be resold, though he did not elaborate on the specifics of that cap on Monday. He said HDC wanted to ensure the homes would remain affordable in perpetuity.
HDC is hosting a fundraising spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 326 in Lake Placid on May 14 from 4-7 p.m. to benefit the society.
While construction at Peaks and Fawn Valley was halted for the winter, work continued at the MacKenzie Outlook development on Westvalley Road.
“We never stopped, and everything is on schedule” said developer Larry Regan on Monday.
The roof was built at MacKenzie before winter set in, allowing crews to work in the snow. Construction at MacKenzie Outlook is due to finish in late August or early September, according to Regan, and he said the development should first accommodate staff for the 2023 World University Games in January before being handed over to long-term tenants. term.
Of the three major housing projects under construction in Lake Placid at the moment, MacKenzie is the only one with “affordable” units intended to house the local workforce. A housing needs assessment study released in 2020 showed that with a target of 50% of the local workforce living within the community, North Elba and Lake Placid need approximately 1,534 “workforce and affordable level” housing units. Most of this assessed need, 1,013 units, is for people earning less than $35,150 per year. In the study, affordable rent for this income bracket is defined as less than $879 per month for an apartment and less than $123,000 for a house.
Some MacKenzie Outlook units will be priced for this demographic. Mackenzie Outlook will have 40 one-bedroom apartments and 20 two-bedroom apartments; one-bedroom apartments will rent from $528 to $900 per month, plus a utility allowance of $87, and two-bedroom apartments will rent from $633 to $1,045, plus a utility allowance of $87. $108.
Regan said he plans to start pre-letting the apartments to long-term tenants this fall, giving a move-in date of February 1, 2023.