ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After a difficult year, Fairport apartment complex the Pines of Perinton has been named by the governor as a recommendation for the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Following New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s Monday announcement, some are raising concerns.
Properties listed on a state or national historic registry can receive financial assistance the form of things like tax credits or grant matches. In a Tuesday statement, District Senator Samra Brouk expressed concern that the Pines — a private business which she says has already received significant public funding — will gain additional taxpayer dollars without actually benefitting the public.
The governor’s office said that the Pines is being considered for its role in the creation of affordable housing for low-income families and senior citizens in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
At that time, it’s developer, the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC), was the only major developer in the country for affordable housing in the suburbs, the governor’s office said. Of UDC’s fifteen NY projects, the Pines of Perinton was the most successful and remains the most intact today.
In January 2022, the complex underwent a devastating fire, displacing 65 people across 18 apartments. Following the local attention, residents complained of several health and safety violations that they say were unaddressed for years.
The Pines was issued appearance tickets for 26 code violations by the Town of Perinton in August. These include water leaks, drywall damage, kitchen and bathroom repairs, window repairs, and rodent infestation.
About a week after their violation scandal, the complex announced sweeping $57 million renovation plans. These include a new $850 thousand community building (which will house a computer lab, fitness center, and event space), and to the majority of apartments and communal spaces, including kitchens, breezeways, playgrounds, laundry rooms, roofs, and windows.
The Pines is also considered as “a rare and important example of the work of well-known New York City architects Gwathmey Siegal and Associates.” The Pines were designed as a revolutionary high-density, low-rise housing prototype, the Governor’s office said, and is recognized for its modern design.
“WinnCompanies, who manages Pines of Perinton, has already received millions of dollars in public money to improve the standard of living at the Pines,” Brouk stated in part. “I witnessed firsthand the significant disrepair of many of the units. I am concerned that the Pines of Perinton’s nomination to this registry will result in additional public funds being diverted to a private company with little benefit to the public.”
News 8 reached out to WinnCompanies for comment and heard back from spokesperson for the Pines of Perinton Ed Cafasso, who clarified that a registry designation alone does not provide funding. He said that tax credits will only become available when their planned renovations occur.
“The value of the credits will go directly to help fund the renovations,” Cafasso stated in part. “The Development Team has not closed on financing for the project, but we are actively working with the great team from the State of New York to reach that milestone in the first quarter of 2023.”
According to a study by the National Park Service, between 2016 and 2020, historical registry tax credits generated 74,220 jobs nationally and over $1.3 billion in local, state, and federal taxes.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.
“Placement on the State and National Registry is a great honor that provides the recipient with opportunities to receive public funding and other support—including a significant credit toward federal taxes. While I’m pleased that an affordable housing development here in our community is receiving an additional opportunity to make necessary improvements, WinnCompanies, who manages Pines of Perinton, has already received millions of dollars in public money to improve the standard of living at the Pines. Earlier this year, my office worked closely with residents of the Pines to address significant issues, and I witnessed firsthand the significant disrepair of many of the units. I am concerned that the Pines of Perinton’s nomination to this registry will result in additional public funds being diverted to a private company with little benefit to the public.”
WinnCompanies/Pines of Perinton Statement
“We’re pleased with the historic designation because it recognizes the important role that the critical affordable housing at the Pines of Perinton has played for so many people in the region. The designation does not produce any funding by itself. Historic tax credits will only become available if and when the planned $57 million rehabilitation of the Pines occurs. The value of the credits will go directly to help fund the renovations that are badly needed to bring this 50-year-old property into the 21st century and preserve a key source of affordable housing in the area for decades to come. The Development Team has not closed on financing for the project, but we are actively working with the great team from the State of New York to reach that milestone in the first quarter of 2023. We appreciate the support of elected officials to preserve and improve the community at the Pines of Perinton.” -Ed Cafasso, spokesperson for Pines of Perinton