Seeking to scoop up military families at Fort Drum, a developer from Maryland this week will break ground on a project in Pamelia that will construct 367 housing units over the next 2½ years.
To be built off Route 37 south of Willowbrook Golf Club, phase one of the project will include 29 single-family houses and 39 duplexes that will be finished by the end of the year, said Dennis P. Silvester, principal for Accurate Development of Salisbury, Md. The developer purchased the 43 acres, formerly called Pleasant Acres, from Pamelia resident Clair G. Raible in April and had the first phase of the project approved by the town in March.
The housing community is expected to be a major draw for military families at Fort Drum, said Mr. Silvester, who discovered the property last fall during a trip to scout the region for development. He heard about the need for housing from a friend in North Carolina whose wife is stationed at the post.
We have a deep conviction that we can provide affordable neighborhood housing for military families, Mr. Silvester said, adding that the subdivision will include a clubhouse with an indoor pool and several playground areas for families with children. Weve seen developers get wealthy off the backs of troops by providing cheap housing, but were intense in our desire to create quality homes for this community. Theres a huge need.
The single and two-story houses will be sold in the range of $180,000 to $225,000. They will be 1,610 to 2,000 square feet and include garages.
Mr. Silvester said the developer will seek to have a site plan approved by Pamelia by the end of the year for the second phase of the project. To break ground next spring, that phase will include an additional 260 single-family homes and the purchase of 117 additional acres owned by Mr. Raible. If all goes as planned, the entire project will be completed by the summer of 2014.
Before the developer was granted approval for this summers project, however, it had a heated scuffle with the Pamelia board about its plan to purchase the property. At the town meeting in February, the board initially ruled that the property had to be purchased by the developer before it would approve the site plan.
That decision prompted Mr. Silvester who traveled with six employees from Maryland and North Carolina to the meeting to accuse Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway, an independent housing developer, of having a conflict of interest and attempting to block the project. He even threatened to pursue legal action.
But now Mr. Silvester said the rift between the two parties was caused by miscommunication and was resolved quickly.
It was a simple misunderstanding, and weve been pleased to deal with the town after it was worked out, he said.
Even so, Mr. Longway hasnt been contacted directly by Mr. Silvester since the meeting in February. He declined to comment about the project Monday.
Contractor Cunningham Excavation, Cazenovia, is completing the work for the project. The site plan was designed by Aubertine & Currier Architects, Watertown.