Senior Pine Plains tenants no longer face immediate eviction

Seniors from Pine Plains Active Adult Condominium Community may remain on site at this time. After tenants are faced with a developer’s ultimatum to buy their homes or move out – some during the holiday season – a nonprofit works to keep tenants in their homes so no one does not need to move immediately.

“Our deadline was December 24 to get out,” said Michelle Francese, 68, one of the tenants. “Now that the plans have changed, there is no longer a sheriff to come and kick someone out until this whole deal is done.”

Hudson River Housing is trying to purchase nine of the 10 units, known locally as “Town Center,” from New Jersey-based developer Reynolds Asset Management. The remaining unit is purchased by a current tenant.

Housing is widely considered to be affordable housing, although nothing legally states this as such. Monthly rents for the condo development would be as low as $ 1,000 per month.

If the developer accepts Hudson River Housing’s proposal, the units would officially become affordable housing owned by Hudson River Housing, according to the Town of Pine Plains. Hudson River Housing will then rent affordable units to tenants who earn between 60% and 80% of median household income. The developer would build 38 additional townhouses for sale, as originally planned for the location.

“Hudson River Housing is committed to helping Town Center tenants in any way we can,” Christa Hines, executive director of Hudson River Housing, said in a statement. “We continue to work closely with the owner and other partners to find a solution that works for everyone involved. “

Tenants first received a letter in March 2021 from the former owner of the condo community, Moshe Ziv, stating that they were to start paying rent to a new management company, but no further information was given. has been disclosed. In August, Francese said she and other tenants received another letter advising them that they would either have to move out by November 23, 2021, or buy their home. The new owner, Reynolds Asset Management, values ​​units over $ 300,000, which averages about $ 250 per square foot to start.

Francese, a real estate saleswoman at Century 21 Alliance Realty Group, called the price “outrageous for this region”. By comparison, a six-bedroom home in Pine Plains, twice the size of the downtown units, is currently listed for $ 375,000 on Zillow, or $ 146 per square foot. A four-bedroom house of similar size is currently listed there at $ 275,000, or $ 98 per square foot.

Darrah Cloud, the Pine Plains Town supervisor who lost a nomination for re-election last November, said she worked with Hudson River Housing to consider buying the property in Ziv and then building and selling the additional 38 units initially planned at a more affordable price. They met with Ziv – who Cloud says has done a lot for the community, including developing a veterans center – in early 2020 to assess his interest in selling the downtown property to Hudson River Housing.

This proposal was turned down and Ziv decided to sell instead to the New Jersey developer, who renamed the condominium community to Stissing Farm Townhomes.

Stissing Farm Townhomes declined to comment on Hudson River Housing’s new proposal. Emails from Francese to Stissing Farm Townhomes also went unanswered, even though tenants missed their December 24 deadline.

Francese first learned of the potential sale when she received a letter in mid-December from the Town of Pine Plains, in partnership with Hudson River Housing. If the nonprofit were to buy the homes, the letter explained, some of the funding would have to come from government programs, which have income limits. He asked tenants to provide this information to see if they would qualify for affordable housing.

The form included cutoffs for 60% and 80% of median income based on household size. For a two-person household, $ 48,240 is considered 60% of median income, while $ 63,950 is the threshold of 80% of median income.

The letter also asked tenants if they wanted to stay in their existing accommodation for the foreseeable future or if they planned to move within six months.

In Francese’s case, she is currently not eligible for affordable housing because she and her husband are still working.

“The city supervisor said she had no idea there were people here who wouldn’t qualify,” Francese said, adding that “probably in a year or two our income will just become a retirement income “.

No matter what happens next, the proposed sale extends the date when everyone may need to move, according to Hudson River Housing.

In Francese’s case, the agreement in principle gives her leeway so that she can spend more time looking for new accommodation and move out later rather than in the middle of winter. And for tenants who currently qualify for affordable housing, it offers even more peace of mind.

“The lady opposite was taking all her Christmas decorations apart to get ready to leave in December,” Francese said. “After receiving the letter, she began to unpack and put her things away because she will be qualified.”

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