Saturday, June 29, 2024

Northern Forest Center Plans Hale House Apartments to Increase Workforce Housing in Elizabethtown

Exterior view of Hale House

Nonprofit Plans 5 Units to Increase Workforce Housing in Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown, NY –  The Northern Forest Center has purchased a portion of the historic Hale House property, including the Hale House and the Law Library, and will redevelop the buildings into five rental units to help meet Elizabethtown’s desperate need for rental housing.

The Center has worked closely with the board, staff, and trustees of the Elizabethtown Social Center to reach an arrangement that will best meet the town’s housing needs and enable the Social Center to focus on its mission. The Social Center will retain ownership of the recreation fields when the property is subdivided.

We are excited to engage with an organization whose goals for the Hale House so closely mirror our own,” said Arin Burdo, executive director of the Elizabethtown Social Center. “The property’s history will be preserved while adding to housing stock, ensuring continued service to the community, and freeing up resources for ESC to better accomplish its mission work.” 

The Northern Forest Center, which purchased the property June 17, will redevelop Hale House and the Law Library to create 5 new multi-bedroom apartments to serve middle-income wage earners in the community. Detailed planning work will begin immediately; construction should begin early in 2025.

“Here at the Elizabethtown Community Hospital, we’ve seen first-hand how important housing is in our ability to recruit new staff,” said Matt Nolan, vice president and chief operating Officer at the hospital. “We are grateful that the Northern Forest Center is tackling this critical need, which we encounter every time we try to bring in new employees to support our mission of providing quality local healthcare to the Elizabethtown community.” 

The Hale House and Law Library are both contributing structures in the Hand-Hale Historic District. The Northern Forest Center has applied for historic tax credits for the project and all the renovation work will meet standards for historic preservation. The Northern Forest Center is a regional organization with experience redeveloping historic buildings, such as the Parker J. Noyes building in Lancaster, NH, and the Gehring House in Bethel, Maine, bringing these properties back to life to serve their communities while maintaining their historic integrity. 

“We’re planning on creating five units,” said Leslie Karasin, Adirondack program director for the Northern Forest Center. “There will be four apartments in the house, each with two or three bedrooms, and the Law Library will be a single-family, two-bedroom rental.The units will average about 1,800 square feet, and the total renovation is expected to cost about $3 million. The Elizabethtown Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals have both approved the project. 

New or restored housing has averaged less than two units a year over the last five years in Elizabethtown, based on local building permit data. The Center uses a mix of funding sources to achieve its goal of creating high quality apartments that can be rented at middle-market rates. Sources include the Center’s Northern Forest Fund – which integrates private impact investments, philanthropic donations, and grants from public sources – as well as tax credits, grants, and donations for this specific project. 

The Northern Forest Center is an innovation and investment partner serving the Northern Forest of northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. In 2017, the Center expanded its programming to include redeveloping underused properties to enable young professionals and families to find homes and contribute to rural communities.

“We’ve been working in communities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Adirondacks to create housing that will be attractive and financially within reach for people and families who want to live in these rural communities,” said Karasin. “Thriving communities need schoolteachers, small business owners, health care staff, and other key workers to make the community hum, and they need places to live,” said Karasin. The Northern Forest Center has housing redevelopment projects underway in Tupper Lake; St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Bethel, Maine; and will be building new housing on a parcel in Greenville, Maine. 

The Northern Forest Center previously completed two major property initiatives: In Lancaster, N.H., the $3.8-million redevelopment of the Parker J. Noyes building, which created 6 middle-market apartments and commercial space for a local nonprofit and food marketplace; and the Millinocket (Maine) Housing Initiative, which invested more than $1 million to renovate six homes, creating 11 quality rental units from properties that had been severely neglected.

The Hale House redevelopment project complements the Center’s other ongoing work in Elizabethtown and the Adirondacks, including projects that help communities create the conditions to attract new residents and retain young people, improve community-based recreation access and resources, expand broadband service, and build regional capacity on key issues such as middle-market housing and downtown revitalization.

Photo at top: The Northern Forest Center purchased the historic buildings on the Hale House property to create middle-income housing. Photo courtesy of Northern Forest Center.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.




One Response

  1. George L says:

    What is happening to the books in the library?

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