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Developer plans more townhouses next year at Eagle Ridge Village

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The developer at Eagle Ridge Village in the town of LeRay will drop its plan for commercial space and add 40 to 45 two- and three-bedroom townhouses to the 39 four-bedroom units already planned at the site at Route 342 and Goulds Corners Road.

Clover Construction Co., based in the Buffalo suburb Williamsville, will now submit a modified site plan for review to the LeRay Planning Board in June for phase five of the project, slated to break ground this summer on the eight acres of property adjacent to the 643 townhouses at the site.

The developer scrapped its original site plan after finding out the three commercial lots planned at the site to attract retail businesses would be more costly than anticipated, said Chief Operating Officer Gary J. Cluney. He said the town would have required the developer to build a public road leading to the lots, rather than a private connector road that would have been less expensive.

“It just became not economical to do any of it unless we decided to build more units there,” he said. “Having 80 to 85 units is part and parcel to the original Eagle Ridge plan.”

The move to build extra townhouses at the site was also spurred by the ongoing demand for housing at Fort Drum, Mr. Cluney said, which has remained at a high pitch since the project broke ground in 2007. Illustrating that point, the 104 townhouses the developer built for phase four were immediately rented by military families. That project, which broke ground in September 2011, will be finished this month.

“We still seem to have a strong rental demand, and it’s all applied to the expansion at the base,” he said.

Because the modified site plan still needs approval, however, the developer’s timeline for construction will be significantly delayed. The project was set to break ground in June and be completed by the end of the year; it will now likely start in September and be completed in the summer of 2013.

A three-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement — similar to agreements approved for prior phases — is expected to be approved for the project by the town of LeRay, Indian River Central School District and Jefferson County. The three entities have tentatively agreed on the PILOT deal, in which the developer will make annual payments totaling 25, 50 and 75 percent of the total property tax for three years before paying the full assessed value. If 85 percent of the units are occupied before that time, the PILOT would end and the developer would begin to pay full taxes.

LeRay Supervisor Ronald C. Taylor said the town supported the developer’s plan to develop commercial lots on the property, which would have been attractive because of the area’s high traffic flow. Access to the area is expected to improve during the summer, however, with the town’s construction of Taylor Road, a connector road linking Eagle Ridge Village to the intersection at Walmart.

“I still think Route 342 would be a suitable area for commercial entities, too, not just housing,” Mr. Taylor said. “But everyone’s still looking for housing, so it’s probably a good project for them at this point.”

Mr. Cluney said Clover Construction is now also eyeing the former Jefferson Apartments site off Taylor Road that was sought by Albany housing developer Dawn Homes, which abandoned that plan in March. The developer is considering another round of townhouses on the property, which is owned by Columbia Development, Albany.

“We’d want to do some more townhouses and small commercial lots back there,” he said of the property. “We would have to work with the design of the (site plan) to make it fit in with what we would do. But we’d need to get more input from the military before making a decision.”

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