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Tax credits are critical to restoring old Holley school

Photos by Tom Rivers: Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, addresses a crowd this morning outside the former Holley High School. Leenhouts wants to redevelop the site into senior apartments and the village offices.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 11 November 2016 at 1:59 pm

HOLLEY – Calling it the lynch-pin to re-development of the old Holley High School, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer this morning announced that he will work to secure $3.7 million in housing and historic preservation tax credits for developers of the proposed Holley Gardens, a $17 million redevelopment project.

Schumer spoke in front of the school located in the center of the Village of Holley, and called the plan to create 41 mixed-income apartments for seniors, new village office space, and restore the auditorium for public events, “a labor of love,” by developer Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing.

“He is doing this because he cares,” Schumer said.

Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer want to see the old Holley school repurposed for housing and offices. Leenhouts said in his 49 years of real estate development he has never had a community work so hard to make a project a reality as the redevelopment of the old school.

Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer want to see the old Holley school repurposed for housing and offices. Leenhouts said in his 49 years of real estate development he has never had a community work so hard to make a project a reality as the redevelopment of the old school.

Schumer called the old school, “a beautiful, historic building in a prime location which has needed some real TLC for the last 30 years.”

The school was built in 1931 and closed in 1975. It was used by Liftec Manfacturing until the company went bankrupt about two decades ago.

Schumer said the redevelopment to senior housing and village office space would, “take some elbow grease, but I think we are up to the challenge.”

The senator noted the project now needs a federal investment and is urging the National Park Service and its partner agency, the NYS Office of Historic Preservation, to approve $3 million in federal Historic Tax Credits.

Additionally, Senator Schumer is urging the NYS Department of Homes and Community Renewal to award $700,000 in federal Low Income Tax Credits that the state receives from the U.S. Treasury Department to assist developers.

Developer Nelson Leenhouts said his company is honored to have the opportunity to restore and transform the school.  “We have been in business a long time and we have never been so welcomed with such open arms,” he said of the Village of Holley and Orleans County.  “We look forward to providing housing for seniors here.  The location is spectacular.”

Schumer said the tax credits will leverage $7.1 million in private investment as part of the overall $17 million redevelopment plan.  The project is expected to create 64 construction jobs during the 15-month construction period and two full-time jobs after construction.

Local and county officials attended the announcement including Village Trustee Kevin Lynch, Orleans County Legislature Chairman Dave Callard and County Legislator John DeFillipps.  Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty introduced the senator and thanked local officials including Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Schumer for their efforts on behalf of the project.

Leenhouts of Home Leasing said he would like assurance on the tax credits in December, so the company can begin preparing for construction to start late next year.

“We are working hard together,” Mayor Sorochty noted.  “There is a huge spirit of cooperation. Senator Schumer has been a huge advocate of the project and the Village of Holley.”

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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer meets with local officials and people working on the redevelopment of the old Holley High School today on the front lawn and steps of the historic school. Schumer said the tax credits for reviving historic properties can make the projects financially viable, and return important properties as community assets.

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