Region Nine Housing Corporation Discontinues Proposed Silver Creek Affordable Housing Development

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Article Contributed by
County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA)

Region Nine Housing Corporation, the developer who has been working on the project to renovate the dilapidated Silver Creek School into 47 units of affordable senior housing, has officially announced that they will not be moving forward. During a recent meeting with Town, County, State, and County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) officials, Region Nine Director of Development, Mark Comroe, explained that the company is ceasing its involvement in pursuing all low-income housing tax credit development.

Mr. Comroe stated “We are very disappointed that we will not be moving ahead with this project. We have put our hearts and souls into this and were very committed to seeing it to fruition. Unfortunately, despite our commitment as a non-profit to take no development fees or money from the project, the dramatically increased renovation costs have made the building and maintenance of this project untenable. Available grants, tax credits, and tax credit rental limits combined could not meet the costs associated with converting this historic school building into affordable homes for seniors. Everyone, including the local community, the County, the State, and the CCIDA, has been terrific to work with, and we hope that eventually this project will come to fruition.”

“As someone who has championed the transformation of the old Silver Creek School into affordable senior housing for more than a decade, I am disappointed at this turn of events. However, I fully understand why the growing costs to renovate this deteriorated building ultimately made the project financially unworkable for Region Nine,” said Senator Borrello. “They have my gratitude for the tremendous time, dedication and resources they’ve invested in this project over the last four years. The Fricano family’s roots in Silver Creek made this project especially important to the Region Nine team, which is why they persevered for so long, despite the growing challenges. We are very appreciative that they’ve offered to share their studies and evaluations with future interested parties, which will be enormously helpful in sustaining the momentum around this effort. Our partners in government at the local, state and federal levels who have worked together throughout this process remain just as determined to expand the affordable housing options of seniors in the Silver Creek community. Thanks to Region Nine, we have a strong head start as we pursue other potential opportunities,” Senator Borrello said.

County Executive PJ Wendel said, “While I’m saddened that Region Nine has opted to not move forward with this project, I am also hopeful that we can find another developer that can step up and make this project happen. This effort has involved a collaborative approach among many stakeholders, including local, County, CCIDA, State, and federal agencies, and I am very grateful for everything everyone has done. We’re not done!”

Jeff Hornburg, Mayor of Silver Creek, stated, “We are understandably disappointed that Region Nine is ceasing involvement with the senior housing project at the Silver Creek School property. We have put a lot of time and effort into providing Region Nine what they needed from a local level to make this project a reality, including discussions related to rates and fees within the Village; however, at the end of the day Region Nine just can’t make the project work. Since we (the Village of Silver Creek) received a $1 Million grant for this project, this funding is available to another developer who may be willing to adopt the project.”

Mark Geise, CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA), said, “We will continue to do everything in our power, including offering technical assistance and incentives, to find another developer who can bring this project, or some form of this project, to fruition. I can’t say enough about the collaborative effort that was involved in this project, and how grateful I am to everyone that has been involved with it. You can imagine how disappointing it is to work on a project for many years, and then have it not work out in the end. I am still hopeful that we can find a developer to step in and make the project a reality, whether it is a renovation project or a demo/new-build project. We will keep working on it.”