December 13, 2006

Apartment Project Progressing

In about a year two dozen local families could be poised to settle into new homes for the holidays.

Construction has begun on the Springs Fireplace Apartments project in East Hampton.

Councilman Pete Hammerle has spearheaded the long-aborning project, ferreting out the property located just north of the Springs Fireplace Road senior center back during the Schneiderman administration.

The town will underwrite construction of the project, then turn it over to the East Hampton Housing Authority. The independent agency will run the project and hold a mortgage to cover the cost of construction.

When complete, the project will be comprised of 26 apartment units in six separate buildings. Four or five units, some of them duplexes and some single story will be sited on a six-acre parcel. They will be moderate income one and two bedroom apartments, with rent, including heat and water, running about $1200 for a 950 square foot one bedroom unit and $1500 for the 1100 square foot two bedroom unit.

The larger units have two full bathrooms, and a number of the apartments will be easily convertible for handicapped accessibility.

There will be no blanket Section Eight housing tenants, Hammerle emphasized this week. "This is geared toward young, working couples," he said. The two bedroom units could also accommodate four working adults in a roommate scenario, he said.

The town will pay for infrastructure out of its $3 million Housing Opportunity Fund, which was passed by voter referendum several years back. Once construction is complete, the Housing Authority will hold a mortgage to cover the cost of the buildings. Hammerle estimated the entire project to come in at between $1.8 million and $2 million.

The project received approval from the planning board, as well as the Architectural Review Board. Clearing has begun and, according to Hammerle, the hope is to get roadwork and foundations poured before winter kicks in. Reflecting on the lengthy path to this point, the councilman effused this week, "This project is happening, baby!"

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