Montgomery County

Tax breaks OK’d for Amsterdam senior community plan

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency last week gave preliminary approval to tax break

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency last week gave preliminary approval to tax breaks for a proposed $30 million senior community in Amsterdam.

Terms of the agreement have not been finalized.

The IDA will extend a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program to the Long Island-based developer of the center, Concordia Senior Communities, which operates facilities throughout the state. CEO Ron DeVito says the tax breaks make the project more feasible and will “make the project go forward.”

The proposed community on Sandy Street in Amsterdam will consist of 162 units — 98 of which will be located in a three-story, assisted-living building. The remaining 64 units will be housed in four, one-story buildings and will offer support for those with cognitive impairment.

The project also received a grant of nearly $1 million in the 2013 round of Regional Economic Development Council awards.

Montgomery County IDA Director Ken Rose said there is a high demand for senior living centers in the county.

“In the Capital Region as a whole, there aren’t many senior communities that cater to the cognitively impaired,” Rose said.

The Palatine Nursing Home is the only other in-patient facility for seniors in the county.

Rose said the center would be the largest private-sector business the city has seen “in quite some time.”

“When completed, the center should create about 116 jobs and also around 225 construction jobs,” Rose said, adding that he hopes construction will begin sometime in the spring.

The project must overcome one more obstacle before construction begins: The Amsterdam Planning Commission must give the project its stamp of approval.

Commission Chairman Mike Kilgallen said the original plans, which were approved in August, were much larger in scope, but the commission allowed the developer to revise the plans and Kilgallen said he hasn’t seen the new design. He added, however, that he believes the project is a win-win for the city.

“The developer and everyone involved has answered every question we have had to this point, and they have done a great job,” he said. “The project seems to be just what the city needs: It will add to the tax base over time and increase employment opportunities.”

The commission meets Thursday at 7 p.m., but Kilgallen said he doesn’t expect the project to be approved at that time.

“We still need more time to look at the plans and ask questions to the developer,” he said. “But I don’t see any reason why we won’t approve it in the near future.”

DeVito said he founded the company four years ago with the idea of building affordable senior living centers in rural communities.

“I wanted to go where other people in the industry normally don’t go,” he said. “They usually look for high-end projects in densely populated areas.”

When studying the city of Amsterdam and Montgomery County, DeVito found there was a void in care for seniors with memory loss, he said.

“There is a lack of places in that area and the Capital Region for people with dementia,” he said. “I am very pleased with the project and the fact that it is going in such a high-need area.”

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane called the project “hugely important for the community.” She said the project serves a need for seniors in the area and will also create good paying jobs.

“I am really grateful this project is moving forward,” she said. “It is a great thing for the city and the county.”

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