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Gouverneur Town Council negotiates PILOT for Cambray

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GOUVERNEUR — The town has a tentative agreement with the developer of Cambray Court for a payment in lieu of taxes.

Cambray is a series of separate buildings with a total of 100 apartments primarily for senior citizens. Omni Housing Development, Albany, in conjunction with Cambray Housing Corp., wants to replace most of the buildings in a first phase of construction with a three-story building of 72 units.

Under the agreement, Omni will pay $25,500 in the first year of the agreement. That amount will go up 2 percent annually over the 30-year agreement, town Supervisor Robert R. Ritchie said.

Construction of the first phase of the $11 million project could begin this summer with the approval of state Homes & Community Renewal, which would mean federal tax credits for financing, said Paul C. Kruger, Omni project manager. The Development Authority of the North Country has pledged assistance in the form of a loan up to $500,000.

The first phase of construction could wrap up in 12 to 14 months, Mr. Kruger said.

Cambray, built in 1974, has a number of problems that the construction will solve. It is not completely handicapped accessible as there are no elevators to the second floors of the buildings. It has electric heat with bills in the winter topping $20,000.

The buildings need renovation. One building is in a flood plain of the Oswegatchie River.

The design requires residents to go outside if they want to visit someone in another building or if they want to go to the office.

“We’re in need of good, modern housing,” said Mayor Ronald P. McDougall, who is also president of Cambray Housing.

The plan is to minimize the disruption of residents during the construction.

“We think we have a great plan,” Mr. McDougall said. “We know what the attrition rate is. We believe we’ll be able to accommodate everyone’s needs.”

As part of the first phase, Omni will leave in place three buildings on the river end of the property that have 28 units.

The second phase of the construction would see those buildings removed and replaced, Mr. Kruger said.

Omni is also working with the Kinney Foundation on a proposed wellness center, he said.

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