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Four developers ask for housing money from Jefferson County agencies

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Four companies that want to build apartment projects for Fort Drum soldiers and other residents asked for money from area agencies through an application process that ended Tuesday.

COR Development Co., Fayetteville; Morgan Management, Rochester; Dawn Homes Management, Albany, and Fidelity American Holdings Corp., Laguna Niguel, Calif., collectively asked for $11.4 million in grants to build 1,179 units.

The Community Rental Housing Program has collected commitments of $7 million from the Development Authority of the North Country, Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. Officials from those organizations work on a committee to award contracts based on the developers’ bids.

The committee is tasked with attracting construction of 1,035 units, the expected gap between available units and the off-post need as Fort Drum soldiers return from Afghanistan and have less frequent deployments. The committee will review the proposals over the next month and could announce preliminary awards as soon as early September, said DANC project development director Kevin J. Jordan.

“Obviously, we’re trying to fast-track it,” he said. “The market is tightening up and vacancy rates have been heading down significantly, so that they’re not just below 3 percent.”

That trend is expected to continue as the 10th Mountain Division’s headquarters battalion returns this fall.

“The market is going to get tighter before there is some easing,” he said. “And then with 2012, we start to get the full impact of longer dwell times, so the announcement of these projects will come at a good time.”

COR plans to build 305 apartments in seven buildings south of Target in its Towne Center, Route 3. Morgan Management proposed 394 units north of Sam’s Club on Route 202. Dawn Homes has plans to build 402 units in three phases behind Walmart on Route 11 in the town of LeRay. Fidelity owns 334 acres off Gould Corners Road north of the Eagle Ridge development and west of the proposed Dawn Homes project.

The committee, a result of continued housing analysis by the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, hopes that the state will make some contribution to the pot of money.

“It’s very much a process where we assess the market, find the need, build the units, then re-assess the market and build more units — it’s what we expect to continue to do,” Mr. Jordan said.

Jefferson County has not yet decided how it will contribute its promised $2 million. In two previous rounds, it put a share toward affordable housing. Officials have discussed infrastructure contributions this time, but no decisions have been made.

“All partners will have money available when the awards are announced and when it is needed to start making payments to developers,” Mr. Jordan said.

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