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Conifer Realty announces start of construction at Wincoram Commons

August 1, 2014

New Mixed-Use Development in Coram, NY to Feature 176 Workforce Apartments and Create 175 Jobs

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC) today joined with the Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty to break ground on Wincoram Commons, a major redevelopment project in Coram, Suffolk County. This transformational project, which is moving forward on the strength of a $1 million award from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, will redevelop a former vacant and blighted site into a new, mixed-use development with 176 workforce rental homes and 13,300 square feet of commercial space, located at 3700 Route 112. The project will inject nearly $56 million into the local economy, and is expected to create approximately 145 construction jobs and more than 30 new, permanent jobs.

“Today’s groundbreaking on Wincoram Commons will transform this community eyesore into a local economic engine,” said Long Island REDC Co-chairs Kevin Law, President & CEO, the Long Island Association and Stuart Rabinowitz, President, Hofstra University. “The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council identified Wincoram Commons as a Priority Project and invested in its future because it will help meet the need for rental housing and be a model for growth and economic development.”

“Wincoram Commons reached this successful milestone because of the overwhelming support of the Coram community and the commitment, hard work and funding from our public and private sector partners,” said Marianne Garvin, President and CEO of Community Development Corporation of Long Island, a local non-profit celebrating 45 years of service to the region. “Investments of resources into
revitalizing communities yield dramatic positive economic and social results and we are proud to be a part of this transformation.”

“This groundbreaking is the culmination of a complex collaborative effort of the public, non-profit and private sectors,” said Allen Handleman, Vice President at Conifer Realty. “This would not be possible without vision and leadership of all levels of government, nor would it be possible without the good work of individuals at all levels of the many agencies, businesses and organizations that have contributed to successful commencement of Wincoram Commons. We are grateful to all those involved.”

Wincoram Commons will provide one-two- and three- bedroom affordable rental homes in a new smart growth community. In addition to the construction of mid-rise apartment buildings and townhomes over flats, the project includes significant infrastructure work, including the connection to a nearby sewer treatment plant. The development will feature commercial space on the first floor of some of the residential buildings, along with a commercial building on Route 112 which will serve as a gateway to the community. A leasing office, fitness center and community space will be housed in a separate clubhouse. A connector road will be constructed from Route 112 to Route 25 at the intersection just north of the site and be the main street of the community. A sidewalk will connect the Wincoram Commons to the existing adjacent Avalon Bay at Charles Pond luxury apartment complex. A public plaza and open green space round out this ambitious redevelopment.

In September 2012, the Long Island REDC identified Wincoram Commons as a Priority Project for Round II of the REDC initiative. After three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, resulting in creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs statewide. As part of that process, Community Development Corporation of Long Island was awarded a $1 million grant from Empire State Development to support the mixed-used development, including infrastructure improvements and expansions.

In addition, as part of $91 million in awards announced last year by Governor Andrew Cuomo to build affordable housing and revitalize communities, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) approved $1,154,390 of federal tax credits and $923,624 of state tax credits for the first phase of Wincoram Commons. For Phase II, HCR’s New York State Housing Finance Agency will award $7,480,000 of tax-exempt bond financing, $600,000 from the Homes for Working Families program, and $744,038 of state tax credits, as well as $744,038 of federal tax credits.

“Breaking ground on the Wincoram Commons redevelopment is a great example of what can be achieved through the strategic state and local partnerships we have fostered under the leadership of Governor Cuomo,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “At Empire State Development we aim to invest in projects that create jobs and help to revitalize communities. Wincoram Commons will not only do both, but will also ensure future growth by improving important infrastructure and bringing new business and economic opportunities to the Coram community.”

“HCR is proud to be part of Wincoram Commons. I congratulate our partners at CDCLI, Conifer, and Empire State Development,” said Darryl C. Towns, Commissioner/CEO of HCR. “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Long Island REDC made Wincoram Commons a priority project because it will not only bring affordable homes to Coram, but also jobs, economic activity, and sustainability. This innovative, dynamic development will enhance quality of life in Coram and serve as a model for public and private partnerships that make New York a better place to live.”

Since the UA Coram Movie Theater closed more than ten years ago, the 17.65 acre vacant site has been an economic drag on the Coram community. The property was tagged as one of the first “monuments to blight” targeted for redevelopment in Brookhaven Town’s “Blight to Light” initiative. The local community, through a visioning process, worked with the town to recommend that the site be transformed into a retail and residential town center community.

The project was designed and constructed using green building and sustainable community practices. The intent is to provide a convenient town center with retail that will support the needs of the surrounding community and be a very attractive destination to shop for area residents. The Coram Civic Association, which has been very active in the planning of the project, named the development “Wincoram Commons” at its membership meeting in June 2012.

Suffolk County committed $2 million in funding toward the infrastructure improvements as part of its Workforce Housing Capital program.

“Today’s groundbreaking for Wincoram Commons is a great example of the public sector and the private sector working together to promote economic development,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “This development will provide much needed housing opportunities for Long Island residents and redevelops a blighted site in Coram using green and sustainable building practices which serve as a win for the residents, tenants and the Coram community at large. I thank the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and Conifer Realty for bringing this blighted property back to life.”

Widespread Public, Private, and Community Support for Wincoram Commons

Erma Gluck, President of the Coram Civic Association said, “Finally after ten long years we’re breaking ground on Wincoram Commons. This project will bring the heart of Coram to life. For too many years the residents of Coram had to endure driving by this monument of blight. This project will transform this area into a vibrant, walkable downtown center where we can shop and recreate. It will also improve the traffic conditions on Route 112 and Middle Country Road. We would like to thank CDCLI, Conifer Realty and Councilwoman Connie Kepert, for working with our Civic from the very beginning to make this project a reality. Our long awaited dreams are finally coming true.”

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, "Coram residents have waited a long time for this blighted property to be redeveloped into a thriving community. Thanks to the vision of CDCLI and Conifer Realty, Wincoram will greatly improve the area, create jobs, stimulate the local economy and
provide a new Main Street destination for shopping and dining. I look forward to being here to welcome some of our new neighbors when they move in."

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Connie Kepert said, "Today's groundbreaking is the result of years of hard work on the part of a dedicated group of people who never stopped believing in turning this blighted corner into a vibrant place for the Coram community. I want to thank the Coram Civic Association’s participation in the Middle Country Land Use Plan which has guided this project, especially Civic President Erma Gluck, who has been involved every step of the way through this process. I also want to thank Marianne Garvin, President & CEO of CDCLI who has made it her mission to see to this redevelopment happen, and to Conifer Realty for working closely with the Town's Planning Department and the community to ensure the project stays true to the community's vision. Today is a great day for the Town of Brookhaven and the Hamlet of Coram."
As the lead bank for Wincoram Commons, Capital One is providing over $15 million in financing through a construction loan and nearly $32 million in tax credit equity through Red Stone Equity Partners. The Community Development Trust (CDT) is providing permanent financing in the amount of $9,330,000.

Laura Bailey, Managing Vice President, Community Development Finance, Capital One Bank said, “Capital One Bank is very proud to be involved with the great partners developing Wincoram Commons. This is a tremendous opportunity to invest in Coram by providing high quality affordable living and creating additional jobs here. We are committed to working with communities on Long Island to protect and enhance what is so special about this place.”

Eric McClelland, President of Red Stone Equity Partners said, “Red Stone Equity Partners is pleased to work with Conifer and CDCLI on behalf of Capital One in the re-development of the former United/Artist Theater. Red Stone remains very committed to areas such as Coram in order to help address the acute shortage of quality affordable housing in this nation. Red Stone’s collaborative efforts with Conifer, CDC of Long Island, Capital One, and the other private and public partners will result in the revitalization of Coram and the development of 176 units of much needed affordable housing.”

CDT President and CEO Joseph Reilly said, “This project offers a fantastic combination of residential and retail space with the goal of holistic community development. Wincoram Commons will not only provide brand new affordable housing for hundreds of local residents, it will also serve as a much-needed commercial and community hub for the town. This project is an important building block for the bright future of Coram, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

CDCLI Funding Corporation, an affiliate of Community Development Corporation of Long Island and a federally certified Community Development Financial Institution, is loaning the project $500,000 in construction funds and permanent financing. The corporation is using capital from its national affiliate, NeighborWorks America, as well as other sources, to make the loans.

NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen M. Fitzgerald said, “Providing capital to CDCLI to help the Wincoram Common development move forward is integral to the NeighborWorks America vision that affordable housing is critical ingredient to revitalizing and strengthening communities and essential for serving the needs of the residents of these communities. Wincoram’s multi-faceted impact on the neighborhood -- removing blight, adding jobs, and increasing green space -- is exciting and a model that other communities might follow.”

Congressman Tim Bishop said, “The mixed use community that will replace the old United/Artist Theater in Coram is exactly the type of new development we need in Suffolk County. Not only will this project bring new life to a site that has been an eyesore for residents, it will do so in a way that uses smart growth principles to provide much-needed workforce housing.”

New York State Senator John Flanagan said, “As this project continues to move from dream to reality, the residents of this region can start to envision how this transformative project will positively impact the Coram community. This abandoned property, which has been a example of economic stagnation, will now become a symbol of how public and private partnerships can improve the quality-of-life for area residents. CDCLI and Conifer Realty deserve credit for their efforts and for their commitment to this region.”
New York State Assemblyman Steven Englebright said, “It is a cause for optimism and celebration to see work beginning on a site that has for so long been a sad symbol of bad planning. Like the arrival of springtime, this area will soon blossom into a vibrant center of our community. Our hats are off to CDCLI, the Coram Civic, and all the community leaders who made this transformational turning point possible.”

Suffolk County Legislator Tom Muratore said, “I express my support for this transformative redevelopment. Wincoram Commons is an example of smart growth redevelopment at a site that has been vacant and blighted for the past decade. This community is just what is needed to revitalize the heart of Coram.”

About Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc. Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) invests its resources, talents and knowledge in the people of Long Island, helping them to achieve their dreams of an affordable home in a vibrant community. Since its inception, 45 years ago, CDCLI has assisted more than 149,000 Long Islanders, and invested $1 billion into the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit www.cdcli.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cdcoflongisland and follow us on Twitter @cdclongisland.

About Conifer Realty, LLC
Conifer Realty, LLC is a full-service real estate company specializing in the development and management of high-quality, affordable housing communities. Since its inception, the company has developed and/or acquired over 230 properties and over 17,300 apartment units. Conifer concentrates its business in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The company currently owns and
manages over 13,000 apartment units throughout these regions. Please visit
www.coniferllc.com for more information.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, resulting in creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

About Red Stone Equity Partners

Red Stone Equity Partners, LLC is a leading real estate investment firm specializing in the syndication of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to facilitate affordable housing development. Red Stone builds upon long-lasting relationships with investors and developers as it acquires, structures, and provides long-term asset management services to its institutional clients. Its senior management represents more than 75 years of tax credit equity syndication experience, involving the acquisition and syndication of approximately $10 billion of tax credit equity. Red Stone Equity Partners is headquartered in Cleveland, OH, with regional offices in Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York.

Learn more about Red Stone Equity Partners