On June 1, 2018, at Riverhead Town Hall, Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDCLI) and Conifer Realty, LLC conducted a lottery to select residents and establish a waiting list for 45 brand new affordable apartments that are nearing completion on West Main Street in Riverhead.
Gwen O’Shea, President and CEO of CDCLI, said, “Over 900 applications were received for 45 units! This tremendous response reinforces the demand for our collective efforts to create attainable housing in downtown communities, and to provide stable homes for our diverse community members – artists, seniors, singles, families, and displaced storm survivors. CDCLI is proud to partner with Conifer and East End Arts to bring a vibrant addition to the fabric of downtown Riverhead. Conifer and CDCLI greatly appreciate the support of the Town of Riverhead, the Riverhead IDA, Suffolk County, New York State, and all of our private lenders and community partners, without whom this development would not have been possible.”
“It is critical for Suffolk County to support these types of transit oriented, smart growth developments that take advantage of our vibrant walkable downtowns,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Peconic Crossing provides our residents with attainable housing and builds upon our constant effort to grow our economy. I want to thank Conifer Realty and CDCLI for their efforts in this vital project.”
Recognizing the role of art in creating and supporting a vibrant downtown, Town of Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said, “Riverhead is looking forward to welcoming our new artist residents and their creative energies to Main Street. We know they’ll enjoy both the inspiration of living alongside the river and Grangebel Park as well as the convenience of our downtown district.”
“On behalf of the board of East End Arts and our Executive Director, Pat Snyder, our staff, and most of all our 800 members and families, I’d like to thank Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Conifer Realty, and certainly the Supervisor and Board of the Town of Riverhead for considering the arts as a building block in the revitalization of downtown Riverhead,” said East End Arts Board President John McLane. “We would also like to thank everyone for including East End Arts as a participant in the process that brought this specific project to completion. It is a great example of collaboration between government, private and non-profit organizations.”
Conifer Regional Vice President Betty Perry greeted all of the lottery participants and explained that all names would be drawn and numbered, that applicants would be notified by mail of their lottery number, and that screening and determination of artist and storm preference would begin shortly. Conifer staff then supervised the drawing of names and input the information into a database.
The first applicant drawn who was present in the room was Frances Twyman, a local resident, She said, “Most of my income goes towards rent now. I’m retired, but I’m forced to work part-time to make ends meet.” Julie Morris was the first artist drawn in the room. She said, “I feel incredibly lucky to have been selected for the possibility of getting an apartment that’s affordable and supports artists.” Similar sentiments were shared by Katherine Silvestro, another artist. She said, “I’ve been looking a better apartment for at least a year. This is a weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s impossible for a single young mother who’s a business owner to get a home. I’ll be a lot closer to work, and I’m very interested in the downtown area and the galleries.”
Funding and incentives for this new housing have been provided by NYS Empire State Development, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, Suffolk County, the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency, Capital One Bank, Community Development Trust, JPMorgan Chase, TD Charitable Foundation, CDCLI Funding Corporation and others.