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Hammondsport senior apartments nearly done

HAMMONDSPORT—It might not look it from the outside yet, but reconstruction at the old Hammondsport Academy is about 90 percent done. Dozens have already applied for new apartments.
“Exterior work is ongoing,” says Dan Gallagher, Director of Real Estate Development at Arbor Development, “and the landscaping certainly doesn’t look the way we’d like it to. And we got slowed down when a window vendor went out of business.
“But most apartments are complete except for the finishing work, such as carpeting. Utilities and infrastructure are done.”
Arbor Development is converting the old Hammondsport Academy -- parts of which went up before the Civil War -- into 21 apartments for seniors. The historic structure at Lake and Main Streets was also the original Curtiss Museum. Most lately it served as Hammondsport-Urbana municipal offices, and as the Hammondsport Library.
It will now be known as Lake Street Senior Apartments.
Gallagher gave his opinion that construction would be complete and ready for a Certificate of Occupancy in mid to late May, but added that the nature of the project also required a state inspection. He sees July as a likely time for the first residents to move in, noting that Arbor Development expects to feature the completed project as part of its 40th anniversary celebration later in the year.
Lake Street includes 20 single-bedroom units and one two-bedroom apartment. All are handicap accessible, with five outfitted for the “frail elderly” and one with strobe alerts for sight or hearing impaired. Apartments have kitchenettes, living room-dining room space, and individually-controlled heat/air conditioning.
Old Hammondsport hands may feel at home in the common room, which preserves the old stage with its proscenium, identified by the state as a critical historical element that had to be preserved. The front entrance on Lake Street is also preserved as a historic element, though Gallagher speculates that most residents will routinely use the back parking lot entrance, where the elevator is located.
While Gallagher warns that calculations are complex, he says that as a general statement the maximum permitted income for residents would be about 60 to 70 percent of the county’s median income, which is around $42,000 for the year. Applicants must be at least 62 years of age.
“There are a lot of people that really like Hammondsport,” says Gallagher. “Hammondsport’s a beautiful place. People the age of our applicants feel comfortable in a place that has a lot of history. They like being able to walk to shopping and restaurants... it’s one of the nicest locations you could have, for ease of accessibility and also quality of life. We’ve had applicants who tell us they went to school there.”
The original tin ceilings have been preserved in many areas, and Gallagher says that most of the apartments are so large that if the project were being proposed now they would require a variance for being oversize. “A lot of us have been looking at them and figuring out how many years we have to go before we hit 62, and wondering which one we’d like to have.”
Arbor Development, formerly Steuben Churchpeople Against Poverty, owns and operates 90 living units in Steuben and Allegany Counties, with 50 more nearing completion. It owns an additional 164 in partnership and under other management.

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