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ImageBetter Housing for Tompkins County (BHTC) Executive Director John Spence announced Tuesday that it will submit an application in partnership with the NRP Group to fund a $9 million development in the Village of Lansing.  The project will be located between the Northwoods Apartment complex and Route 13.

"All the collaboration in the world won't cut it if it doesn't translate into housing opportunities," BHTC Executive Director John Spence told a large audience of Tompkins County community leaders Tuesday morning.  "That's why I'm pleased to share with you that Better Housing has partnered with one of the country's top affordable housing developers, the NRP Group of Cleveland, Ohio.  Just one week ago today we submitted an application to fund a $9 million project to build 80 affordable family apartments in the Village of Lansing."

Better Housing has partnered with other agencies to provide affordable housing since 1981.  NRP Group specializes in building attractive, affordable and market-rate housing, senior housing, single-family infill, and commercial and retail sites.  The company has build over 13,500 homes and apartments over the past 15 years.

A county housing needs assessment in August of 2006 concluded that almost 14,000 workers commuted into Tompkins County, a 21% increase from 1990.    Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) Vice President Martha Armstrong says that the County's goal was to create 400 affordable housing units per year over a ten year period.  She says that the county reached that goal in 2005, but in 2008 it had fallen to 231 units.  This project will help the County get back on track to reach its goal.

BHTC Executive Director John Spence

"We're pleased that this project directly addresses the needs articulated in the County's housing needs assessment," Spence said.  "We're pleased, too, that the project's design will protect open space,tie into the Village's green walkways, will have ready access to public transportation, and will be close to the county's major employers.  The icing on the cake is that Better Housing will own and manage the apartments."

Spence says that support will increase the project's chances of receiving the grant.  Letters of support were provided by the Village of Lansing, the County, the Chamber of Commerce, Tompkins County Area Development, United Way for Tompkins County, New york State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, and State Senator Mike Nozzolio.

Village of Lansing Mayor Donald Hartill notes that the Village already has the largest inventory of affordable housing in the county, largely due to numerous apartment complexes near the mall area.

"It will continue to add to our inventory of affordable housing in a very nice way, from the looks of the project," he says.  "The sponsors seem very responsible, so overall it will be very good.  We have a lot of support that will make it very likely."

Spence says that the apartments will be affordable for people earning 80% of the County's median income.  The grant would obligate the project to remain affordable at that rate for 20 years.  If awarded the tax-credit funding would provide most of the cash for the project, allowing for relatively little debt load, which will be the key to keeping rent affordable.


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