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Silver Creek Apartment Project Closer To Reality

The former Silver Creek High School building at 60 Main St. in the village has sat vacant since the late 1970s. On Tuesday, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency approved financial incentives for Silver Creek Apartments, LLC to help remove and redevelop the abandoned property. Submitted photo

A new housing development in Silver Creek is moving forward.

On Tuesday, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency approved the necessary tax breaks for Silver Creek Apartments, LLC to demolish the former Silver Creek High School and construct a three-story, 50,574 square foot apartment building for senior citizens.

The project still needs state funds to become a reality.

During the county IDA meeting, Allen Handelman, Vice President of Park Grove Development, said they have applied to New York’s Homes and Community Renewal for a grant.

He said both state Sen. George Borrello and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell are in favor of the project and are lobbying for the funds on their behalf.

Handelman said he expects to hear from the state in the spring as to whether they get the grant funds or not. “We’ve been advised that there’s a good amount of funding resources for this round,” he said.

He noted that if they aren’t successful in this round, they will review the comments made by the grant funders and see if there are ways the application can be improved and resubmit it again. Handelman said that it isn’t unusual for projects of this nature to have to apply more than once.

In October, representatives from Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. (STEL) and Park Grove Development, LLC appeared before the county IDA to provide initial details of the new Silver Creek Apartments project. “The abandoned school really does send the wrong impression of what Silver Creek is and what it could be,” Handelman said last fall.

The building has sat vacant for more than 40 years and while several attempts to renovate it have been made, those efforts were unsuccessful. Most recently, in 2021 Region 9 sought to remodel the building but was unable to get the housing credits and backed out in early 2023.

With the building continuing to deteriorate, STEL and Park Grove Development decided to give up remodeling it and try to get the funds to raze it and construct a new housing complex there. Handelman said at Tuesday’s meeting that the state Historical Preservation Office has agreed that the building can’t be repaired and needs to be torn down.

The demolition would include long-needed environmental remediation, including the removal and disposal of hazards including asbestos, PCBs, and lead paint. Once constructed, the new apartment building would provide 54 safe and affordable apartments for seniors age 62 and up, with 15 units set aside for supportive housing. Of those units, 51 would be one-bedroom apartments, and three would be two-bedroom apartments. Within the building there would also be a community room, fitness room, laundry facilities and an onsite property management office. The facility would also include a large parking lot for up to 70 vehicles, along with a patio and shed.

According to company officials, the project would provide 180 construction jobs and, once complete, have 4.75 full-time equivalent jobs. The total cost would be $20,155,262, with the project also receiving $1 million in assistance from the village’s Restore NY award.

The county IDA approved a 30-year Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement. It will result in payments to the Village of Silver Creek, Town of Hanover, Silver Creek Central School District, and Chautauqua County totaling $347,486. Silver Creek Apartments will also save up to $497,261 in sales tax and an additional $191,574 in mortgage recording tax.

Should they get the funding from the state in the spring, developers would like to start work sometime in 2024.

County IDA director Mark Geise expressed excitement for the project. “I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. If we can make this work it will fulfill a need in the community, while removing an unsightly and dangerous influence in the community,” he said.

County IDA Chairman Gary Henry agreed. “It’s exciting to see how far we’ve gotten and hopefully the funding comes through and we’ve able to move ahead with this project,” he said.

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