Funding Approved for Wincoram Commons

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NYS Homes and Community Renewal, Empire State Development, Suffolk County and CDCLI to provide funding for workforce rental housing in mixed use development

Wincoram Press Conference

Wincoram Press Conference

Wincoram Commons is a great example of the public sector and the private sector working together to promote economic development - County Executive Bellone

Marianne Garvin, President and CEO of Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) announced during a press conference today, that funding has been secured for Phase I of Wincoram Commons, a redevelopment of the former United Artists (UA) Movie Theater in Coram. Wincoram Commons is a joint venture between the non-profit, CDCLI and Conifer Realty of Rochester. It is anticipated that a ground breaking will take place later this fall.

As part of $91 million in awards, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced to build affordable housing and revitalize communities, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (“HCR”) approved $1,154,390 of federal tax credits and $984,718 of state tax credits for Wincoram Commons. The financing from HCR will leverage nearly $20 million in private equity. Suffolk County will present a resolution to the Legislature requesting $1.5 million from its Infrastructure Improvements for Workforce Housing Capital program. New York State Empire State Development (“ESD”) committed $1 million from the Regional Council capital program. Another $500,000 loan from CDCLI Funding Corporation, using capital received from NeighborWorks® America rounds out the funding.

Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of HCR said, “HCR is bringing a variety of state resources together, working with public and private partners to create and preserve affordable housing. HCR is proud to be part of Wincoram Commons, an outstanding example of mixed-use, sustainable development that will enhance quality of life in Coram. The development will revitalize this community by providing services and amenities Long Islanders want and need while also providing affordable, high quality homes for current and future generation to enjoy. Thank you to our partners, CDCLI and Conifer, for the commitment and partnership.”

“ESD is pleased to partner with HCR to help eliminate blight in the community and transform sites like this into projects that will better serve the community,” said Kenneth Adams, President and CEO of Empire State Development. “This partnership will provide needed rental housing units and help attract retail and private sector investments to the area.”

“Wincoram Commons is a great example of the public sector and the private sector working together to promote economic development,” said County Executive Bellone. “This development will provide much needed housing opportunities for Long Island residents and redevelops a blighted site in Coram using green and sustainable building practices which serve as a win for the residents, tenants and the Coram community at large.”

The 17.65 acre UA Coram Movie Theater site has been a monument to blight in the Coram community since it closed in 2004. The existing structure is vacant and in severe disrepair and will be demolished to be replaced with new construction. The result will be a mixed-use development featuring 176 workforce rental housing units with gateway retail on Route 112 and main street retail totaling 13,300 square feet.

The total project cost is estimated to be $53 million, a significant investment in the Coram community that will leverage public dollars with private investment. It is anticipated the project will create 145 construction phase jobs and also create and support 34 permanent jobs.

Phase I will include 98 rentals (34 one-bedrooms, 50 two bedrooms, 14 three bedrooms) as well as 7,300 square feet of retail space; offsite sewer treatment, wetlands remediation, the connector road, community building, public plaza and a play ground. The cost for Phase I is just over $33 million. Phase II includes the balance of the housing and open green space. Phase III is the gateway retail of 6,000 square feet.

The project will be designed and constructed using green building and sustainable community practices. The intent is to provide a convenient town center with retail that will support the needs of the surrounding community and be a very attractive destination to shop for area residents. The Coram Civic Association, which has been very active in the planning of the project, named the development “Wincoram Commons” at it membership meeting held in June 2012.

“This is a difficult to develop site, as evidenced by the blight that has existed here for ten years, but thanks to the unwavering support of all levels of government and the tenacity of the Coram Civic Association, we have a fully funded mixed use hamlet center, that reflects the vision of the community,” said Marianne Garvin, President/CEO of CDCLI. “We look forward to the groundbreaking.”

The redevelopment leverages many community benefits that include access to an offsite sewer treatment plant and a connector road extending Skips Road from Route 112 to Route 25. This will ease traffic congestion at the intersection of Route 25 and Route 112. The redevelopment will also include a bike path and sidewalks that will connect the project to the existing Avalon at Charles Pond community located to the west off Route 25, allowing residents easy “walk-able” access to the retail business located in the new development. In addition, a two acre parcel on the site will be preserved in its natural state.

“This project will help improve the way-of-life for area residents by renovating this abandoned and unsightly property while providing much-needed workforce housing. In addition, it will benefit the local community by creating jobs and increasing the tax base and I applaud the CDCLI for bringing this project to fruition for the residents of Coram,” stated Senator John Flanagan.

Assemblyman Englebright said, “Congratulations to CDC of Long Island on securing funding for phase I of this project. Wincoram Commons represents the best of community-based planning and it will provide Coram with attractive community spaces in a walk-able neighborhood where a blighted property has stood vacant for almost ten years. The architectural and streetscape character coupled with affordable housing and new retail outlets will revitalize the heart of Coram. I applaud CDCLI on their leadership and their ability to create meaningful cooperation with key players in the public and private sector, and especially their inclusion of the Coram Civic Association in the planning process.”

“I applaud Marianne Garvin for securing the funding for this vital project from all of the various entities involved,” stated Legislator Tom Muratore. “The former UA Movie Theater property has been an eyesore in Coram for far too long. Wincoram Commons is a great example of how government can effectively collaborate with non-profit organizations and private businesses to revitalize an area and provide much needed jobs and housing for the community.”

The UA Movie Theater property was one of the first “monuments to blight” targeted for redevelopment in Brookhaven Town’s “Blight to Light” initiative. It was also identified in the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan, which was initiated by Councilwoman Connie Kepert and adopted by the Town Board in 2006. That plan recommended the site be redeveloped for mixed use and be transformed into a retail and residential town center community. In addition, last September, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council selected Wincoram Commons as a Priority Project for the region’s economy. The Town of Brookhaven Planning Board gave preliminary site plan approval, including a special use permit for change of use from J2 to J6 and MF, and was deemed a Bright to Light Radiant project, at its September 10, 2012 meeting.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “The Town is pleased that this blighted property will finally be developed and improve the community with a multi-use development that includes much needed housing.”

“Providing Coram with the vibrant mixed use containing shops, public spaces and residences, has been a goal of the community that I have championed since the visioning that occurred for the Middle Country Road Corridor in 2002," stated Councilwoman Kepert. "Congratulations to Conifer Realty and CDCLI. Every step forward for this development is a step toward the revitalization of Coram.”

“Conifer is pleased that the hard work of so many in the community and local government, advancing this transformational project, has been recognized. We and our partner CDCLI are most excited to participate in giving this blighted site a bright future as a mixed-use workforce housing community,” stated Andrew Crossed, Executive Vice President of Conifer Realty.

"The Coram Civic Association is delighted to hear that the Wincoram Commons was granted state funding. We have been looking forward to this day for years. We would also like to thank the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and Conifer Realty for including us in the process from the very beginning so that we could express our opinions of what we wanted included in this project. I'm really excited that the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan, created in 2002, is beginning to take shape. I look forward to seeing this blighted property transformed into a vibrant downtown center.”

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Christine Pagliari
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