Mandelbaum donates two Wallkill developments to Occupations

As planned, developer Jonah Mandelbaum and his wife Donna Applegate have donated two apartment developments in the Town of Wallkill to Occupations Inc.

They are donating the Sunrise Gardens apartments on Fortune Road West for $1, and the planned Oak Ridge apartments on East Main Street for $2.

“It’s inflation,” Mandelbaum joked.

The apartments will be signed over to Occupations — a local group that provides services to the disabled — in three years’ time, Mandelbaum said. He said the bank is requiring the wait because Mandelbaum signed for the loans. He said he would be willing to stay on as property manager after the three years, if Occupations wants him to.

“We’re thrilled,” said Jim DeStefano, president of Occupations. “It’s a great honor. It’s a privilege, and we’re very, very proud to have their confidence and trust … in our ability to manage and maintain the apartments.”

The developments are identical — three apartment buildings, 78 units, fully accessible, with controlled rents and with half of the units reserved for people with disabilities.

Sunrise is mostly done — people moved into the first building a few weeks ago and it’s almost full already. The second building will be done in March, Mandelbaum said, the third about a month-and-a-half after that.

Site-clearing work has already been done at Oak Ridge; Mandelbaum said the buildings should be done and ready for people to move in by April 2014.

Apartments are being given out via a lottery, and there’s already a long waiting list, DeStefano said; he said people who don’t get apartments at Sunrise will have first claim on apartments at Oak Ridge.

“We’re quite sure they have more applicants than apartments,” he said.

The town had to rezone the Oak Ridge property, between East Main and Rolling Meadows Road, from commercial to residential so it could be built, which they did last year. Many of its neighbors in the Meadows said at public meetings last year that they opposed its location, worried about the increased traffic it would cause in the neighborhood. The developers made some changes as a result, switching the project’s entrances from Rolling Meadows Road to East Main and keeping half the property forested to create a buffer between the apartments and the nearby homes.

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