Silver Gardens breaks ground

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 4/24/24

Last week a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the official start of the Silver Gardens senior housing project in the Town of Lloyd. It is located on a 5.3 acre parcel off Argent Drive, with …

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Silver Gardens breaks ground


Last week a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the official start of the Silver Gardens senior housing project in the Town of Lloyd. It is located on a 5.3 acre parcel off Argent Drive, with the rear of the property bordering Franny Reese State Park.

Silver Gardens is a $22 million joint venture between RUPCO [Rural Ulster Preservation Company] and Richard Gerentine, a principal in Girondini LLC, who have successfully worked together on four previous senior living projects in the area.

Silver Gardens will be three stories and provide 57 affordable one-bedroom apartments for seniors 62 and older, with 29 of the 57 units being offered to individuals who currently are or are at risk of becoming homeless. Rental subsidies and case management support will be provided through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative [ESSHI] grant. The remaining 28 units will be rented to seniors at 50% to 60% of the Area Mean Income [AMI].

The project will be heated and cooled by a geothermal system, and Ulster County is providing $600,000 toward the system’s $1.5 million price tag.

Overall funding of the project is through the NYS Homes and Community Renewal, The Community Preservation Corporation, the NYS Department of Health, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority [NYSERDA], Raymond James, TD Bank and the United States Department of Energy.

At a press conference on the groundbreaking, Richard Heese, Chairman of the RUPCO Board of Directors, said Silver Gardens, “is an important, tremendously needed affordable housing for seniors with 57 apartment homes for people aged 62 and older.”

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said, “I am just so excited that this project has broken ground and is becoming a reality,” stressing that Ulster County, “is thrilled to support this project.”

Metzger said, “it is heartbreaking to see the hundreds of families and individuals that the county is having to place in emergency housing every single day. That number has grown dramatically, and we are facing a housing crisis like we’ve never faced before. Think about seniors in their last years, living on fixed and modest incomes in most cases, who have been on these endlessly long waiting lists trying to get a home.”

Metzger noted that these type of housing projects, with wraparound services on site, “is precisely what we need, and we are prioritizing this as a county and are thrilled to see that as a component of this project.”

Metzger praised Richard Gerentine and RUPCO, “who have really done an incredibly thoughtful design. This development is located near Franny Reese Park providing outdoor recreational opportunities and is in close proximity to what our seniors need in transportation, food, health services and shopping. This project can truly provide seniors living there with independence and to live with dignity, which is what we all want as we age.”

Town of Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak began by welcoming everyone, “to our town. We’re absolutely proud of what we have, we’re absolutely proud of where we’re going and anytime you want to visit, we’re glad to host you.”

Plavchak said, “we’re always looking to bring money into the town, we’re looking to grow it, we’re looking to do what’s right and move forward.”

Plavchak said Silver Gardens fills a need in the Town of Lloyd, “especially for our lower income senior community, which in my opinion is quite commonly a neglected group. I am happy that it provides an affordable housing alternative with supportive offerings that doesn’t always exist in the town or in the area.”

Principal developer Richard Gerentine thanked everyone in attendance for their support in making Silver Gardens a reality.

“The Town of Lloyd has always been good to us, Dave and his [town] board have been perfect,” he said. “Silver Gardens is a joint venture between RUPCO and Girondini, and I am very proud of what we have done. We have worked hard to get to this point and we could not have done it without everybody in this room.”

Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer of RUPCO, said, “We’re doing supportive housing here for one reason, because New York State has created the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative that recognizes that resident services are important. It’s a fairly rich program that the state provides to us for rental assistance to those who are coming out of homelessness and the money requisite for support services. The reason we have this program is because of the advocacy work of a supportive housing network of New York, an organization dedicated to advancing the state to create and support more affordable housing.”

O’Connor choked up a bit when he recalled meeting an elderly woman who had been living in her car for three years.

“It’s not the America that I thought we had. Three years in her car, a woman who looked like my mother; I couldn’t believe it We have to do better and this project is an effort that helps us to do better. We are glad you are all here to support this.”

In a followup interview Gerentine pointed out that he and his two sons, Austin and Adam, make up Girondini and along with RUPCO, they all share ownership of the project. He said the idea for Silver Gardens started in 2012 and now being at this point in the process is a ‘tremendous’ day.

“We’re moving forward with the building and things seem to be moving fine. There were a couple of rain delays but other than that, we’re happy.” He expects Silver Gardens will open in January 2026.

Gerentine said one of the requirements of his housing project is that it be kept affordable for 50 years.

“At that time it can either go to market rate or you can go back to the state and renegotiate and get another compliance period of 30 years to keep it affordable,” he said.

Gerentine promises Silver Gardens, “will be a great asset to the community and everybody should be happy when all is said and done.”