Preservation Development Partners seeks PILOT for $21 million investment

By Amanda Fries

Updated 9:00 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2016

A low-income senior and handicapped housing complex in Albany could see improvements in its future should a New York City-based company secure a tax abatement for the $21 million investment.

Preservation Development Partners, the prospective buyers of Thurlow Terrace Apartments at 2 Thurlow Terrace in Albany, are seeking a 35-year payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, to purchase the high-rise and renovate the 137 units, update heating and cooling systems and improve security.

While Thurlow Terrace currently has a PILOT, the potential buyers say under a new agreement they’d pay about 30 percent more. The city would receive 10 percent of the amount of rent collected, which Preservation Development plans to increase through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development charges. It would continue to operate as Section 8 housing for seniors. Tenants’ rates will not be increased, said Chris Bombardier of Ostroff Associates, a government affairs firm representing Preservation Development.

“The pilot agreement that we’re asking for is critical to the project going forward,” Bombardier said during a city Industrial Development Agency Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday. “The project will not be able to go forward absent PILOT assistance.”

Current owner LAS Albany Redevelopment Co. paid $127,375 this year under the PILOT agreement, a roughly 75 percent reduction in taxes.

Under a new agreement, Preservation Development would pay an estimated $163,081 to the city in 2017.

The company also is seeking mortgage recording tax and sales tax abatements. The city IDA will consider the request at its next meeting on Nov. 17.

“This helps our tax base while still providing affordable housing for our vulnerable citizens in our neighborhood,” said Councilwoman Leah Golby, whose 10th Ward includes the apartment building. “To me, that alone is a win-win.”

The high-rise hasn’t been renovated in about 40 years, and most residents are welcoming the plan, but hope that security can be improved. Some others feel the renovations aren’t necessary.

“I live in a very nice apartment, and it doesn’t need to be fixed in any way,” Joan Mathews said. “These renovations are not necessary.”

Indira Hogan expressed her approval for the project, but noted that proper identification and security measures should be in place when construction begins. It’s expected to take 18 months and residents will remain in the building during the process.

“We need some identification system because I feel very vulnerable when I see strangers,” Hogan said. “I think I know who they may be, but I really don’t know.”

The purchase is part of several low-income housing acquisitions by the company in the Capital Region. Preservation Development also plans to purchase and renovate Summit Towers, an affordable senior housing apartment complex in Schenectady.

Most of the plans are still in the approval process.

Francine Kellman, a co-principal of Preservation Development Partners, said the company still needs HUD to approve paying more in rent at Thurlow Terrace.

[email protected] • 518-454-5353 • @mandy_fries