Third phase of affordable apartments opens in Radisson

Eagle News
October 5, 2016
by Ashley Casey

Riverknoll III features 80 units

Ten years of developing affordable housing units culminated in the grand opening Sept. 28 of Riverknoll at Radisson Phase III. Baldwin Real Estate Corporation’s $12.3 million project adds 80 affordable housing units, including units for families and individuals with disabilities. Riverknoll at Radisson now has 240 units of housing for those whose income is 60 percent of the area median income.

“[This is] not to be confused with subsidized housing,” said Bill Durdel, president of Baldwin Real Estate Corporation (BREC). “The rents are based on the size of the apartment, not on the income of the family. We’re able to create and provide housing at an affordable rent based on the participation of New York State Homes and Community Renewal.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) provided Riverknoll with 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and a $3.5 million permanent loan. Over the next five years, New York state plans to put $2 billion toward the creation of 100,000 affordable housing units.

“This is the gold standard of what the state of New York is trying to do,” Sen. John A. DeFrancisco said of Riverknoll.

Durdel said BREC, part of the Rochester-based DiMarco Group, has been involved in the greater Baldwinsville area for more than 30 years and manages seven apartment communities. While Baldwin Park Apartments are located in the town of Van Buren, the remaining six properties are located in Radisson: the three phases of Riverknoll, Drumlin Heights, the Meadows and Woodsboro.

“We’ve certainly increased the tax base in the community. We have increased the revenue that the Radisson Community Association needs and uses to create all the amenities that are available to the residents here,” Durdel said. “We’re very, very pleased.”

Durdel said there is already a long waiting list of prospective residents for Riverknoll Phase III.

Nick Petragnani, senior vice president and regional director of Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), said affordable housing such as Riverknoll is a positive thing for Baldwinsville. He said such properties make it possible for lower-income families to live in the suburbs and send their kids to quality public schools.

“At CPC we believe that quality affordable housing is the backbone of strong communities,” Petragnani said in a release about the project. “Riverknoll at Radisson helps to fill a vital need in the community for affordable and supportive housing, and gives hardworking families an opportunity to put down roots in the neighborhood. This is a project that exemplifies the best of what a public-private coalition can achieve when it sets its sights on a common goal of serving the needs of the community.”

CPC financed the construction for the first two phases of Riverknoll and provided the permanent mortgage for the second and third phases.

Current Riverknoll residents addressed the audience at the Phase III ribbon cutting. Gloria Dykes said she enjoys the beauty of the sunrises, sunsets and rainbows in Radisson, a far cry from her upbringing in tenement housing with no electricity. A cancer survivor who has asthma, Dykes said her health has improved since moving to Riverknoll.

“It’s been an ease on my children’s mind … to know that their mom is in a safe place and a beautiful place,” said Dykes, who moved into Riverknoll in October 2015. “I haven’t had an asthma attack since I’ve lived here.”

Riverknoll Phase III features 80 apartments in 10 two-story buildings — 32 one-bedroom units, 40 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units — and meets LEED Silver Certification. Green Business Certification Inc.’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program recognizes projects that meet certain environmental standards.