AHDC annual meeting highlights Helen Hill Apartments

SARANAC LAKE – At its annual meeting March 12, the Adirondack Housing Development Corporation elected its officers for the year and detailed the multi-faceted improvements made to the Helen Hill Apartments as AHDC’s term as manager approaches 18 months.

The board was unanimous in its election of Allen Dunham as president, Craig Stevens as vice president, and Mary Lawthers as secretary. Each will serve a one-year term.

AHDC assumed management of the 12-unit Helen Hill Apartments, located on the corner of Front and Helen streets, in Saranac Lake Oct. 1, 2012.

Built in 1979 as off-campus housing, ComLinks redeveloped the units as high apartments in 2001 utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New York State Housing Trust and HOME funds, and an allotment of the village of Saranac Lake’s Community Development Block Grant funding.

The owner, Michel Properties, LLC, a Massachusetts-based company, owning developments nationwide, approached AHDC the summer of 2012 to discuss the possibility of a management partnership when it became apparent Comlinks would cease operations. AHDC oversees lease-ups, lease enforcements, rent collection, and property maintenance.

In its almost 18 months of management, AHDC has renovated 11 apartments, improved the buildings’ exteriors and grounds, cleaned and maintained common areas, installed security, and attracted a stable tenant base. Occupancy reached 100 percent in September 2013 and remains unchanged.

The project’s finances have turned around as well. With improved finances, the partnership has begun to make regular payments on a Village loan on which payments had not been made in years.

“AHDC entered into this relationship with Michel Properties with a great deal of excitement but little experience,” Dunham said. “Over the last 18 months we have learned a lot and, in the process, developed great working relationships with Michel Properties, the Village of Saranac Lake, and the State Department of Housing and Community Renewal.”

The buildings’ one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are rent-restricted and available to income-eligible individuals and families. Amenities include heat, playground, storage lockers, laundry room, and on-site parking. Applications are available at the Harrietstown Housing Authority, 14 Kiwassa Road, Saranac Lake.

AHDC’s mission is to provide, on a non-profit basis, decent affordable housing and related community services and facilities to meet the needs and requirements of low income families and individuals by developing and improving rental housing and home-ownership opportunities. AHDC manages the Helen Hill Apartments on Front and Helen Streets in the village of Saranac Lake.