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Marilyn Thomas, Regional Manager at Conifer Realty, LLC has officially retired after 46 years in the affordable housing industry.

Thomas MarilynDuring her tenure at Conifer, Marilyn oversaw a portfolio of 48 apartment communities in three states with over 1,500 apartment units for the past 33 years.

Mrs. Thomas was Vice President at Patterson-Erie Corporation where she was in charge of management from 1983 to 1998 of both the affordable housing and market rate apartments. Prior to that, she worked in the real estate industry for LaJohn, Realtors for 14 years.

Prior to joining Conifer in January, 2004, Mrs. Thomas served as Vice President of Home Properties and HP Resident services since 1999. At Home Properties, she was the Regional Leader for the Erie region, which consisted of 51 communities representing 1,588 units in four states.

She has had extensive training and experience in affordable housing including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, along with being a Certified Property Manager since 1988 and a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania.

“Marilyn has been such an outstanding leader at Conifer for nearly 20 years,” said Tim Fournier, President and CEO. “Her commitment, dedication and respect for the Conifer mission, her colleagues and her many residents were evident in how she led her team every day. We thank Marilyn for her many years of outstanding service, but more importantly for her kind, caring way and her friendship.”

We would like to wish Marilyn all the best in her retirement!

National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)
Resource Library, March 07, 2016

"On February 18, advocates from across Maryland gathered in Annapolis for Housing Day, coordinated by the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC), an NLIHC state partner. More than 200 advocates met with over 40 legislators to build support for increased funding for affordable rental housing programs in the 2017 budget.

The event kicked off with words from MAHC Board President, Chickie Grayson, who welcomed the advocates and thanked them for their commitment to the preservation and expansion of affordable rental housing in the state. Grayson then introduced a group of legislators, including Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones (D), Chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee, and Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D), Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Following the legislators’ greetings and remarks, Roy McGrath, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and Kenneth Holt, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), addressed the advocates. Secretary Holt celebrated the rapid acceleration of housing production in Maryland and praised the contributions of MAHC in expanding affordable rental housing the state. The Housing Day advocates then began to prepare for their own lobbying. Jessica Zuniga, Chair of the MAHC Legislative Committee, emphasized the legislative priorities of the day: continued funding for the Rental Housing Works (RHW) program and full funding for the other Department of Housing and Community Development rental housing programs.  Advocates then fanned out to meet with their legislators. 

Launched in 2012 after the strong advocacy of the MAHC and others, the RHW is a state loan program for the construction and rehabilitation of rental housing for low-income families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. RHW allows Maryland to tap into its unused bond authority to fund additional rental housing projects. (See Memo 2/22/2013). In addition to funding affordable housing production, the program stimulates job creation and economic growth in the local economy. So far 36 RHW properties have been completed or are nearing completion, totaling $68 million of investment. Advocates urged their legislators to increase RHW funding from $10 million to $25 million in the FY17 budget.

“Every $1 invested by the State in RHW leverages $11 in private and other public funding, so a $25 million investment would translate into nearly $300 million in rental housing development in communities across Maryland – a real win for the State,” said Miranda Darden-Willems, MAHC Executive Director.

For more information about the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, visit or email Miranda Darden-Willems at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.."

Full Article

Tim Gannon, Staff Writer
Riverhead News-Review

peconic crossing main street Copy

"A proposed 45-unit affordable apartment building on West Main Street received final site plan approval from the Riverhead Town Planning Board Thursday night. 

Peconic Crossing, a joint venture between Rochester-based Conifer Realty and the nonprofit Community Development Corporation of Long Island, was approved by 3-1 vote, with Planning Board member George Nunnaro absent, and Planning Board chairman Stan Carey voting no because of parking concerns.

The proposal calls for Conifer to demolish the Long Island Science Center building on 11 W. Main St. to build a new, five-story building with 45 apartments and 34 ground-level parking stalls.

The project is located within the town’s public parking district, which allows for tenants to use town parking lots.

Planning Board members had expressed concerns during the project’s review that there may not be many parking spaces left in downtown Riverhead.

The project has been before the Planning Board for a little over a year, and replaced a similar 48-unit, for-profit apartment proposal called Blue River Estate, which had been proposed in 2013 on the same land, but was never approved by the town.

So what’s the next step?

“We’d like to break ground soon, but our contract with the Science Center provides them time to find a suitable location,” said Allen Handelman, Conifer’s vice president of development. “Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll break ground.”

The Long Island Science Center plans to use the money from the sale of the building to buy another building at a new location, according to Science Center board member Larry Oxman.

“We’re searching right now,” he said, adding that negotiating for a new location was hampered by not having the approval for Peconic Crossing.

After the approval, Mr. Handelman said: “Now there’s a level of certainty that didn’t exist an hour ago.”

“This clears the hurdle,” Mr. Oxman added. “Everything we had looked at would have had to have been conditional on this [approval] taking place. Now that this has taken place, we can negotiate.”

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Our non profit partners at People for People Foundation discuss Camp Salute, a new development that will offer affordable housing for veterans in Clayton, NJ. Construction will begin June 2016 and offer 76 apartment homes with 1, 2 & 3 bedrooms. Camp Salute offers a fully equipped community complete with a laundry center, computer labs, fitness centers, as well as Supportive Services for veteran residents by People for People. 

Jessica Zuniga, Vice President of Development has been a consistent voice for affordable housing in Maryland. She has developed numerous communities for Conifer and continues to build lasting relationships in her region. Recently, Jessica spoke at the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) Housing Day. Jessica is a Board Member of MAHC as well as the Legislative Chair. 

MAHCHousingDay021816 1113 MAHCHousingDay021816 1098

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The above are pictures are from the MAHC Housing Day. For more information about MAHC, please visit or to take a glance at the Legislative agenda for the event, please visit 

Brian Crandall, Staff Writer
The Ithaca Voice 

"A long-delayed plan for affordable senior apartments has been funded through a state grant and is poised to begin construction later this year.

The Ithaca town board convened Monday night to discuss property easements required from Rochester-based Conifer Realty LLC as one of the stipulations of receiving a building permit for construction.

The 3-story, 68-unit apartment building, to be called "Cayuga Meadows", would be located on a grassy field directly south of the Overlook at West Hill apartment complex, east of Cayuga Medical Center. Final site plan approvals for the 58,500 square-foot project, a mix of of 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units, were granted in November 2013. Although the land is Cornell-owned, the 4.8 acres the building will be built upon will be subdivided from the rest of Cornell's land, and the project will be on the tax rolls.

conifer static map

According to town planning director Sue Ritter, a project needs to begin construction within three years of receiving final approval, otherwise it once again has to return to the town planning board.

The years-long delay was the result of a lack of financing for the affordable housing project. As previously discussed here on the Voice, affordable housing is very complicated to pay for - funds have to be cobbled together from a variety of public, not-for-profit and for-profit sources in order for a project to have enough funding secured to pay for construction.

Programs like New York State's Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) have three applications for every funded project, meaning it often takes multiple attempts before an affordable housing project is able to obtain financing. For comparison's sake, that INHS's 210 Hancock received grant funding on the first try is very rare (but welcome, given the well-documented affordability issues plaguing Ithaca and the region).

After multiple attempts, the final piece of the funding puzzle was awarded to the project by a state resolution on January 28th. The $8,395,000 will come from the sale of bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency (NYSHFA). Other sources of funding for the project include the LIHTC program mentioned above, and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The project's total cost of construction (including "hard costs" like materials and "soft costs" like legal fees) is $14.5 million.

Cayuga Meadows 1

The units will be available to individuals aged 55 and older, with incomes 60% or less or the Area Median Income (AMI). AMI in Tompkins County is about $53,000 per household, so a qualifying senior household would have an annual income of $31,800 or less. 7 units will be accessible to mobility-impaired individuals, and 3 units will be designed to accommodate hearing or visually-impaired occupants.

Actual rents have not been released by Conifer, but a second senior housing project they recently built in Ithaca, West Hill's Conifer Village Apartments, charges $678-$864/month for a 1-bedroom unit, and $803-$979/month for a 2-bedroom unit, with income limits of up to $43,300/year for a single senior, and $49,600/year for a couple.

Conifer Realty owns and manages several local apartment complexes, including the Cayuga View Apartments (part of Linderman)Conifer Village at IthacaEllis Hollow ApartmentsLinderman Creek Apartments, and The Meadows Townhomes."


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New Jersey Biz presents an annual Forty under 40 award celebrating 40 of New Jersey's most accomplished young businessmen and women who have been making headlines in their field and who share commitment to business growth, professional excellence and the community - the next generation of unstoppable leaders. Janine Owens, Project Coordinator in New Jersey, has been selected for the award!

"Janine recently completed Riverfront Village at Pennsauken, the Duffy School and Conifer Village at Rittenberg," said Charlie Lewis, Senior Vice President of Development. "All three deals were brought in on time and on budget. She is currently running the Meadows(the Atlantic City HOPE VI), Clayton Mill Run, Camp Salute and Hamilton Township."

Please join us in congratulating Janine for this prestigious and well-deserved award.

DennyP9218It is with great pleasure that we announce the promotion of an exceptional, hard-working employee, Patricia Denny, effective immediately. At Conifer, we believe in hiring the best and brightest who allow us to promote from within.

“I am pleased to announce that Patti Denny has been promoted from Senior Asset Manager to Director of Asset Management,” said Thomas R. Johnson, Executive Vice President and CFO of Conifer.

Patti joined Conifer in 2012 and has lead the development of Asset Management from a brand new Conifer function to a highly effective group. Under her leadership, Asset Management has significantly improved multiple processes, including property budgets, development conversions, property tax reviews/challenges and acquisition analysis.

Please join us in congratulating Patti on her well-deserved promotion.

It is with great honor that we announce the promotion of Sam Leone to Regional Vice President of Conifer Realty, LLC.

Leone Sam"Sam has had a wonderful career since joining our New Jersey development team nine years ago,” said Tim Fournier, President and CEO. “He not only has become a very accomplished Developer, but has earned a broad level of respect from our construction partner Conifer-LeChase Construction, and every department within Conifer. Most importantly, Sam cares deeply about the Conifer values and so clearly demonstrates this through his daily actions. I have great respect for Sam personally, as a Developer and leader of Conifer.”

In this new position, Sam will work directly with Jessica Zuniga, Vice President of Development in Maryland, as we continue to accelerate our growth in the Maryland market. With Sam’s talents, capacity and leadership we expect to enhance our growth in Maryland and create a platform from which we can expand our development opportunities in other Mid Atlantic and Southern states.

We are so proud to have a team of committed professionals who strive every day to do what we do, better. 

"Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the City of Rochester and the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living have launched Celebrate City Living, a new program to help homebuyers and renters learn about the benefits of living in the city and find the resources to make it easier to buy or rent a home in Rochester.

“Rochester’s neighborhoods are a great place to grow and Celebrate City Living is our way of making sure everyone knows why,” said Mayor Warren. “I want to thank the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living and all of our sponsors for helping us create an exciting new opportunity to celebrate city living and invite more people to choose Rochester as their home. People who know why Rochester is a wonderful place to live can become active partners in our mission to create more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.”

“The Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living is extremely proud to partner with the City of Rochester to promote city living by helping potential homebuyers and renters fully appreciate and enjoy the amenities of living in Rochester,” said Coalition Chairs Beverly Fair-Brooks, Vice President, Regional Community Reinvestment Officer of M&T Bank; and Ted Wood, Realtor, Construction Manager and Real Estate Broker at the Ibero American Development Corp. “Celebrate City Living is a fun and exciting way to increase investment and build a stronger sense of community in all of Rochester’s neighborhoods.”

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