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Seniors at home in new Estee apartments in Gloversville

Seniors at home in new Estee apartments in Gloversville

'I just couldn't do the outside work anymore'

For Cathy Acquilla, the decision to put her house on the market and move into the newly constructed $9 million Estee Senior Apartments came down to one main thing – yard work.

Acquilla, 64, who retired recently after years of working at Lexington Center, said she bought her house in 1999, but she doesn't want to live there anymore. 

"I don't know about the winter yet, but I assume they plow," she said of the Estee complex. "That was my main reason why, too, because I just couldn't do the outside work anymore." 

The recent completion of the Estee Senior Apartments was made possible by a $9 million grant from the state Homes and Community Renewal Department, which has helped secure a total of $107 million for affordable housing projects for about 3,340 residents in the Mohawk Valley. 

The funding for the Estee project – which created 37 energy-efficient, rent-controlled units for seniors 55 and older – includes federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $4.6 million in equity, a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant award and $38,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant money, through the Low-Rise Residential New Construction program. 

The three-story apartment building replaces part of the original Estee School building, but it was designed to architecturally resemble the original structure.

"It's a wonderful place to live," Acquilla said. "The people are great. For one thing, I like the elevator, because I don't like stairs. This one guy made a cake and brought it down to the recreation room for anybody to help themselves, which was nice." 

Some of the amenities at the apartment building include laundry rooms on every floor, storage bins on every floor, an exercise room with a trainer and a computer room.  

In a news release, HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said the Estee project represents one small part of the state's $20 billion, five-year Housing Plan, which targets housing accessibility and homelessness by building and preserving 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing. 

Gloversville Councilman-at-Large Vince DeSantis said enabling more people to live downtown will help the city's economy. 

"From all of the things that I've studied about urban revitalization, right at the top of the list is population density," he said. "Increasing that walkable population that can walk out the door and be downtown and take advantage of the retail opportunities. What this does is create a customer base for new businesses downtown." 

CRM Rental Management runs the new apartment building for its owner, nonprofit Liberty Affordable Housing. CRM's Trisha Deguire, the Estee site manager, said all 37 units were filled by Nov. 1, demonstrating the need for that type of housing in the area. She said most of the units are occupied by only one person, with only three units occupied by couples.

She said rents for the apartments range from $415 to $500 per month, and eligibility is based on 50 percent of the Capital Region's annual median income -- $22,550 to $27,060 for individuals and $25,750 to $30,900 for couples.

"We are not at the maximum rents allowed by the federal tax credit rules," Deguire said. "The owner has set the rents at a break-even number because Liberty is a nonprofit organization." 

Six apartments are set aside for individuals with mobility, hearing or vision impairment, or frail elderly residents, with priority given to veterans.

Deguire said renting at the building requires a month's deposit and a one-year lease, after which tenants' leases become month-to-month. 

"Currently, we are building a waiting list. Applications are constantly accepted. People can stop into our office to pick up an application, go onto our website or call the office," Deguire said. "There are currently 13 people waiting to get in." 

More information about renting the apartments is available at mycrmrental.com/property/estee-senior-apartments

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