Developers seek OK for Estee plan

GLOVERSVILLE – The potential buyers of the Estee Commons property previously had their project concept to build new, affordable senior citizen housing approved by the Planning Board. On Tuesday, they sought the same approval from the Common Council.

The developer, which is in discussions with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth to buy the Estee Commons property, needs the Planning Board and Common Council’s concept approval so it can apply for funding from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Agency. The agency requires an endorsement of the project’s concept by the city.

The developers want to develop an additional 35 one-bedroom units on the Estee Commons property to provide affordable housing for seniors. The other rental units already at the site would remain conventional rental properties.

Steven Smith of Civil & Architectural Engineering said the undeveloped Estee Commons building would have to be demolished because of its deterioration.

Plans would include taking down the old structure and replacing it with a new one. The new building would look like the original building.

Smith said the new building would be shorter than the existing structure but a little longer, resulting in it being located closer to Prospect Avenue.

Once funding is available, the developers -?Liberty Affordable Housing – would return to the Planning Board for site-plan approval, officials said. The plans are contingent on reaching a deal with the CRG and obtaining funding for the project, said Liberty Affordable Housing Deputy Executive Director Davis Yohe.

The developers said they would have to apply for the funding by the December deadline for the project and would hear the decision around April or May. The developers said the construction of the building would take about 15 months, but they are hopeful they could break ground next fall.

The council scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers in City Hall to consider the project. At the meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on the concept approval and potentially approve it so the developer can apply for funding before the early December deadline.

Liberty officials previously said CRM Rental Management would manage the property, negotiate deals and help with contacts throughout the construction process. Liberty is a nonprofit affordable housing operation that would lead the development.

The new three-story building would keep some of the existing architecture such as large columns at the entry along Main Street and granite blocks that line the base of the building. Smith also said the monuments and existing trees on the property wouldn’t be removed or altered for this project.

Smith showed the council the existing brick used at the site and compared it to what would replace it.

Smith said the plan is to use the existing granite around the base of a patio that would be located on the Main Street side of the building.

He said the back side of the building, which can be reached from Prospect Avenue, would serve as the primary entrance and parking for the building.

Mayor Dayton King and other city officials have said the development would be good for the city.

King said a private company paying for what could be a $2 million demolition cost also would be good for the city.

Liberty officials said would make a payment in lieu of taxes as part of the project.

The parcels include the 39-apartment Estee Commons building facing Fremont Street, the vacant adjoining main part of the old school at 90 N. Main St. and a three-acre parcel on Littauer Place.

The CRG is the parent company of the Crossroads Incubator Corp., which owns the former school property. The CIC was asking $3.4 million for the property.