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Conifer In The News

Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty, LLC, hosted a groundbreaking event this morning for 45 mixed-income apartments to be constructed on Main Street in downtown Riverhead.  A blighted building was recently demolished on the site and will be replaced with a high quality, five-story building featuring one and two bedroom energy efficient apartment homes.

Complementing the community’s ongoing redevelopment efforts, Peconic Crossing is an important mixed-income revitalization development in Downtown Riverhead that will provide sorely needed workforce housing.  There will be preferences for artists, as well as persons who had been displaced by Superstorm Sandy.  The New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) committed $4.55 million through the Affordable Housing Fund program to finance the new development in conjunction with NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

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Gwen O’Shea, President and CEO for CDCLI said, “Enhancing downtowns by providing attractive and affordable housing opportunities is critical for Long Island’s sustainability. CDCLI is thrilled to work with our partner, Conifer Realty, to create an innovative housing opportunity for artists in Riverhead.  The development will have ground floor gallery space for artists to display their work and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Peconic River.   Not only will new residents enhance local businesses, they will also add to the vibrancy and sense of place.” 

Arthur Krauer, Senior Project Director of Conifer Realty stated, “This development is another in the continued successful collaboration between CDCLI and Conifer Realty. Our partnership has already produced 620 affordable apartment homes on Long Island.” He added that “rents will range from $960 to $1,537 per month. The total development costs are in excess of $18 million. Conifer is committed to Long Island and is proud to build, own, and manage high quality, energy efficient, affordable apartments. Peconic Crossing will offer artistic residents a place to create, collaborate and live.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone pointed to the benefits of downtown redevelopments such as this and added, “It is essential for Suffolk County to support smart growth affordable housing through our infrastructure funding.  The creation of Downtown housing options helps the local economy, preserves open space, and enhances the quality of life for all involved.  I am very pleased to see the construction getting underway.” 

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said: “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to dedicate state resources to leverage private investment is the driving force behind this new development. Mixed use, mixed income and resilient affordable housing is the key to bringing new energy, opportunity and growth to Riverhead. Developments such as Peconic Crossing are precisely the type of housing that the State wants to encourage and is proud to support.”

GOSR Executive Director Lisa Bova-Hiatt said: “Governor Cuomo created GOSR with a single mission: to build back better than before. Peconic Crossing, financed through our Affordable Housing Fund program, epitomizes the goal of supporting the preservation or development of rental housing lost as a result of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and/or Tropical Storm Lee. It’s resilient, cost-effective, and affordable – and with a preference for households displaced by Superstorm Sandy, it represents a secure new start for families who lost their homes. We aim to foster vibrant 24-hour, smart growth, transit-oriented communities anchored by high quality, mixed income housing. And that is what Peconic Crossing will deliver, bringing an essential fresh, new addition to Riverhead’s downtown center.”

“Conifer Realty and CDCLI are contributing to the revitalization of downtown Riverhead,” stated Riverhead Supervisor Sean M. Walter, “This project represents a new approach to apartment living and will bring an artistic element by offering a gallery space and preference to our local artists.  We look forward to seeing more young people along our riverfront, walking down Main Street and enjoying our local businesses when this development is complete,” the Supervisor concluded. 

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Long Island Association President and CEO Kevin S. Law said, “Peconic Crossing will help keep Long Island a vibrant region with a growing economy by providing more affordable rental opportunities for families and revitalizing downtown Riverhead, and thus we commend the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and Conifer Realty for their efforts.”

Patricia Drake Snyder, Executive Director of East End Arts said, “It has been proven over and over again that embracing the arts in a community is a transformational step towards a vibrant environment and enhanced quality of life. Riverhead has been progressive and welcoming to artists over the last several years and it shows by the growing number of public art, the success of the performing arts venues, and the approval of Peconic Crossing. Not only will Peconic Crossing further encourage artists to engage in the community, it will also ensure housing costs remain affordable.”

Multifamily affordable housing developments require multiple public and private funding sources in order to be financially viable.  Peconic Crossing is receiving federal and state low income housing tax credits, CDBG Disaster Recovery funds through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, infrastructure funds through Suffolk County, REDC funds through Empire State Development, and a grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.  CDCLI Funding Corporation is also investing $200,000 into the development.

Long Island Tech News (

"A groundbreaking for a new $18 million apartment complex in downtown Riverhead is scheduled for next week.

The project, called Peconic Crossing, will be developed by Rochester-based Conifer Realty and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and bring 45 income-restricted apartments in a four-story building at 11 West Main St. The development, which will have one- and two-bedroom apartments will replace the former Long Island Science Center, which has been razed.

The new rental housing is designed for working families earning less than 90 percent of Suffolk County’s area median income, which is $76,160 for a family of two. There will also be preferences for artists, as well as persons who had been displaced by Hurricane Sandy, according to a statement from CDCLI. A ground-level artist gallery is part of the plans.

Amenities at the complex will include a fitness room, a community room and laundry room.

Officials expected at the March 28 groundbreaking ceremony include Gwen O’Shea, president and CEO of CDCLI; Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Kevin Law, president and CEO of the Long Island Association; Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island; Patricia Drake Snyder, executive director of East End Arts; and Thomas Johnson, executive vice president of Conifer Realty.

“The town has done careful planning to redevelop Riverhead one project at a time,” Alexander said. “This development fits perfectly with that planning strategy to continue to revitalize Main Street.”

Affordable Housing Finance

"The LIHTC equity will help finance a 48-unit development in Dryden, N.Y.

Boston Capital announced that it is investing in the construction of a 48-unit affordable housing development for families in Dryden, N.Y.

poetsPoets Landing II is being developed by Rochester, N.Y.–based Conifer Realty.

Boston Capital is investing approximately $7.6 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity in the project. The firm also partnered with Conifer on the construction of Poets Landing I, a 72-unit apartment community completed in 2013.

Conifer Realty's 48-unit Poets Landing II will provide affordable housing for families in Dryden, N.Y. The deal marks the 30th collaboration between Conifer and housing tax credit syndicator Boston Capital.

"Low- to moderate-income families in need of high-quality affordable housing in the Dryden area will benefit from Boston Capital's investment in Poets Landing II," said Jack Manning, president and CEO of Boston Capital, in a statement. "We are happy to once again team up with our longtime partner Tim Fournier and our friends at Conifer in the second phase of Poets Landing.”

Since 1986, Boston Capital and Conifer have partnered in 30 multifamily developments, resulting in the creation of 2,249 units of affordable housing across the Northeast, according to Manning.

Located on 10 acres, Poets Landing II will feature 16 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom, and eight three-bedroom units in six two-story buildings. Units will include central heating and air conditioning, dishwashers, patios/balconies, and storage. Residents at Poets Landing II will have access to the community amenities at Poets Landing I, which feature a leasing office, a great room, a computer workstation, a laundry center, and a playground. The apartments will be available to families earning 60% or less of the area median income.

To date, Boston Capital has invested in more than 6,700 apartments in New York.

BPerry CopyIt is with great honor that we announce the addition of Betty Perry, Regional Vice President of Property Management to Conifer.

“Betty will oversee the Long Island region and join the Property Management Leadership Team,” said Thomas R. Johnson, Executive Vice President. “Betty comes to Conifer from Related Management Company, where she spent 24 years in various property management positions.” He added, “Her most recent role was managing a portfolio of 39 properties consisting of 7,200 apartment units. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the affordable housing industry.”

Ms. Perry depicts the Company’s core values of commitment, dedication, honesty, innovation, integrity, quality and respect, every day. She brings over 20 years of experience overseeing a diversified portfolio of mixed use properties, totaling approximately 39 assets with a total of 7,200 residential units, 29 retail/commercial spaces and parking garages. She is an I.R.E.M. Certified Property Manager; National Apartment Association (NAA) member; TaCCs Low Income Housing Tax Credit Certified; National Property Management Association (NPMA) gold member; and a NYS Licensed RE Salesperson. Conifer is fortunate to have Ms. Perry as part of our team of dedicated and skilled professionals. 

Conifer is pleased to announce that a brand new, 120-unit, senior apartment community in Capitol Heights is now open! 

Located at 2011 Brooks Drive in District Heights, Conifer Village at Oakcrest offers individuals 62 and older an affordable, one or two bedroom, high-quality, state-of-the-art apartment home with many amenities. Each apartment home includes energy efficient appliances, patio or balcony, a fully-equipped fitness room and great room for social events. Just off of Pennsylvania Avenue, residents enjoy an array of neighborhood amenities, such as the Oakcrest Community Center, restaurants, shopping, banks and more.

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Conifer Village at Oakcrest has seven apartments accessible for people with disabilities as well as three hearing and visually impaired apartments set aside.

“With rents soaring and a large and growing senior population, providing affordable, accessible senior housing in Prince George's County has never been more important,” says Eric C. Brown, Director of the Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development.   “We applaud Conifer for bringing this project to our County and increasing the opportunities for our seniors to have an affordable, comfortable and safe place to live.”

The total development cost for the project is over $26.5 million. Financing was provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, in the amount of $9.2 million, from Red Stone Equity Partners, a $12.1 million loan from Prudential, a $2.5 million loan from Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and a $2.2 million loan from Prince George’s County’s HOME Program funds.

“The completion of Conifer Village at Oakcrest is an outstanding example of what is achievable through collaborative public-private partnerships,” says Sam Leone, Regional Vice President of Development at Conifer. “The result here is a beautiful new community, offering an excellent quality of life for seniors. It has been a great pleasure working with the local community, Prince George’s County, and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to see this through from vision to reality.”

For more information, visit, call (240) 767-6563 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Send completed applications to 2011 Brooks Drive, District Heights, MD 20747.

CorredineR9323It is with great honor that we announce the promotion of Rob Corredine, CPA, to Corporate Controller.

“Rob joined Conifer in 2013 and has made significant contributions in many areas of the Company, including corporate and development accounting,” said Tim Fournier, Chairman & CEO.

In his four years at Conifer, Rob has held various positions in the Accounting Department, proving his expertise in the Accounting field. Previous to joining Conifer, Rob worked at Centerline Capital Group where he worked in fund management, responsible for the reporting of 135 funds which invested in over 1,200 Low Income Tax Credit properties throughout the United States.

“I am excited to shift my focus from Development to Corporate Accounting to continue to expand the department to be a best in class, helping to support Conifer’s core businesses,’ said Rob Corredine.

“I have had the pleasure of working directly with Rob over the past five months, and have witnessed many of his wonderful attributes. In this restructured role, Rob will focus on enhancement of our corporate reporting process as well as our overall company treasury functions. Rob and I will continue to work directly together. I want to thank Rob for his hard work and dedication, and look forward to working with him for many years to come – Congratulations Rob!”

Ross Barbara

It is with great honor that we announce the addition of Barbara Ross, Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Development to Conifer.

“I have known Barb for many years and have worked alongside of her at another organization,” stated Mark Benotti, Vice President of Shared Services. “She is a true professional and owns a strong record in shaping human resource business strategy, providing Conifer the leadership needed to elevate us to another level.” He added, “Her strategic, organizational thinking, communication style and knowledge of complex human capital systems have all contributed to her success. We are excited to have her at Conifer.”

Mrs. Ross exemplifies the Company’s core values of commitment, dedication, honesty, innovation, integrity, quality and respect, every day. She brings over 20 years of human resources expertise and continues her growth and ambition within the field. She has gained invaluable experience from her previous positions at Monro Muffler Brake, Chobani and Constellation Brands, Inc., including expertise in acquisitions, due diligence and employee engagement.

Conifer is fortunate to have Mrs. Ross as part of our team of dedicated and skilled professionals. 

Robin K. Cooper, Reporter
Albany Business Review

"Conifer Realty has secured a $10 million construction loan from TD Bank for a 140-unit apartment project in Ballston, New York.

The Rochester apartment management company plans to start construction of its Blue Heron Trail development on Route 67 during the first or second quarter of this year, said Gerry Magoolaghan, a real estate agent with Continuum Commercial Realty, who has worked with Conifer for the last three years.

The project will be located on Route 67 near East Line Road on a 17-acre parcel that Conifer bought from developer Hal Schultz. Conifer paid $2.47 million for the property in a deal that closed July 1.

Conifer has partnered on the Blue Heron development with Rochester builder LeChase Construction, the project's general contractor. Since 1975, Conifer has developed more than 220 apartment communities in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The company is also close to an agreement to purchase 16 acres on Route 9 in Malta, just a few miles east of the Ballston project.

The Route 9 and Route 67 corridors running between Ballston and Malta have generated a lot of attention from investors over the past few years. More projects are expected to emerge in the near future since Malta town leaders voted in October to rezone a section of Route 67 that runs from the Ballston town line into the center of Malta.

Conifer's Blue Heron project will include what the company describes as "workforce housing."

The company builds apartments that seek to attract tenants who earn less than $60,000 a year. Rents for many of the apartments are expected to run between $700 and $1,100 a month."

South Jersey Times Editorial Board / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

"With a name like Camp Salute, you might think what will take shape on some former farmland in Clayton will provide outdoor summertime recreational activities geared toward 8-year-olds who like to play "Army."

It's really a much bigger deal than that.

Camp Salute, despite its mildly deceptive name, is a $20 million development that will provide new housing opportunities, and much more, for under-served military veterans. All clients will be a good deal older than summer-camp age. Poison ivy should not be an issue, and no one will have to drink "bug juice" at lunchtime.

Camp Salute

The 76-apartment complex is the brainchild of the Gloucester County-based People for People Foundation, a once-fledgling charity that stepped up to the plate big-time for this undertaking. The site will have 19 units set aside specifically for disabled veterans. Veterans and Gold Star families -- who have lost a child in combat -- will be given priority for the other affordable housing rental units. Construction is slated to begin in the spring.

It's an understatement to say that the project will fill a need. Although New Jersey has made some recent progress on veteran homelessness and employment, the state historically has had elevated joblessness rates for veterans of recent conflicts.

Camp Salute also offers a partnership of public, private and volunteer funding and management that could be a model for other ventures. Eighty percent of the financing will come via federal affordable-housing credits, and Conifer Realty LLC will own and manage the residential structures. The complex will also include a new headquarters for People for People, which was founded by Bernadette and Paul Blackstock in 2003.

The Blackstocks and their organization has always had a keen interest in making things better for veterans, although its initial goal was to help anyone who was down on his or her luck, but who had self-help potential with a little push. The Blackstocks both had fathers who served during World War II.

With this in mind, Camp Salute will have an on-site veterans' resource center to help with day-to-day issues, such as appeals of Veterans Affairs decisions on health care or other benefits. Perhaps Camp Salute can be viewed as a kind of "assisted living" facility, but not one designed exclusively for senior citizens in their declining years. Some of its services will also be available to veterans and others who are not residents.

People for People hopes that Camp Salute will attract veterans who feel more comfortable living mainly among other veterans. The project can also help erase the unjustified stigma that some people place on low-income and affordable housing developments of all types. Military veterans who have served our country with distinction are not freeloaders. Some may have developed drug problems or suffer from post-traumatic stress and other ailments, but our duty is to help them re-integrate into general society, not to cast them aside.

Camp Salute sounds as if it can help accomplish that mission."

Matt Gray, Staff Writer / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"Behind Clayton Mews senior apartments on Delsea Drive sits acres of what used to be farmland.

Work will soon begin to transform a portion of this site into permanent housing for military veterans and their families.

Called Camp Salute, this apartment complex will provide housing for low- to moderate-income families, with a preference given to veterans.

The People for People Foundation of Gloucester County has worked for six years to develop this project in collaboration with Conifer Realty, LLC, which is serving as developer, contractor and will own and manage the day-to-day operations of the site.

Construction is slated to start by mid-spring of 2017. If the weather cooperates, the first building could be open within nine months.

A love for veterans

The $20 million project consists of 76 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with 19 subsidized units set aside for disabled veterans. Housing preference will be given to veterans and Gold Star parents of a son or daughter killed in combat.

Eighty percent of the project is financed via the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which promotes private development of affordable housing projects.

The complex will include a club house with a community room, exercise room, space for a leasing office and offices for the People for People organization itself.

"That will become our new home," said Bernadette Blackstock, president and CEO of People for People.

Blackstock and her husband, Paul, founded the non-profit People for People in 2003 as a way to help normally self-sufficient people who have fallen on hard times. Many of those needing assistance were veterans.

The idea of helping vets came naturally for the Blackstocks, since both of their fathers served in World War II.

"This is really important to us," Bernadette Blackstock said. "We have a real love for veterans."

Her father served in Italy and North Africa.

"My dad was on the first landing at D-Day," Paul Blackstock said. His father suffered serious injuries and spent seven years in hospitals. Blackstock grew up in a household with his father and two uncles, who are also veterans, all suffering with what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I grew up with that," he said. "When I was five years old, I was putting flags in grave sites on Memorial Day."

People for People holds a Wreaths of Remembrance ceremony at the county veterans cemetery each December. The Blackstocks have also hosted a veterans picnic each year for more than 30 years.

More than a place to live

In working with veterans over the years, the Blackstocks have come to understand their needs.

"We know that there are a lot of veterans who are not necessarily homeless, but are in a position where income isn't that high," Bernadette Blackstock said. "It's very difficult to find a safe, secure place to live."

Rents at Camp Salute will run in the range of $800 to $1,000 a month, said Sam Leone, vice president of Conifer Realty.

"All of the units have a rent," Leone explained. "They just happen to be affordable to different income levels."

To qualify for a unit at Camp Salute, applicants must have income, either through a job, retirement benefits or compensation for a disability.

Camp Salute will be more than just a place to live, though.

An on-site veterans resource center will assist vets and their families with various needs. Three People for People staff members -- the Blackstocks and Charles Gallagher -- are now volunteer accredited claims agents and can represent veterans in filings and appeals before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are only six other accredited claims agents in the state.

The staff at Camp Salute will provide its free services to the entire South Jersey veteran population. In addition, they will provide assistance for seniors dealing with Medicare, Medicaid and other senior programs.

A 'bricks and mortar salute'

While services exist around the region to help homeless vets and those suffering with drug and mental health problems, Camp Salute offers an answer for veterans who are ready to move on to permanent housing after receiving help from these agencies. 

"This is not a rehab center. This is where you live," said Allan Connors, a Vietnam veteran who served three tours and is now a member of People for People.

People for People has pledged to work as consultants assisting Amazing Grace Ministries as it develops a veterans retreat in Franklin Township. The retreat will provide a transitional setting, where combat veterans dealing with PTSD can spend up to two years as they receive care and skills training.

People for People will assist veterans in this program as they deal with the VA and make their transition to a regular job and a place to live.

Since Camp Salute provides permanent housing, this could be ideal solution for veterans completing that two-year program.

"They've had two years of being with veterans and having that support," Bernadette Blackstock said. "They graduate the program and they go out into the real world and they don't have that support anymore."

Camp Salute allows veterans to maintain that sense of belonging.

"What makes our project unique is that it is a community of veterans," she said. "Veterans are unique. They like to be together. They love the feeling of community."

The location for Camp Salute is also ideal for veterans, given easy access to bus transportation along Delsea Drive, Leone noted.

"You're not far from Glassboro and other employment centers," he said, but for those still working through PTSD and other issues, the location offers a serene spot set back from the sounds of traffic and adjacent to a large wooded area.

Connors talked about the misconceptions many have when they hear the term "low-income housing," noting that the residents at Camp Salute will be "solid people."

"These are working people, retired people," he said. "There's nothing that exists that with this model. This is a community of veterans."

The Blackstocks doesn't foresee any problem filling the units with veterans. More than 100 vets have signed up online to receive updates about Camp Salute as the project takes shape. 

The name Camp Salute is important, Connors said, because this project represents a tangible way to show respect for our veterans.

"What better way than to give them a decent place to live," he said. "This is a true, substantive bricks and mortar salute.""