Town board considers extending Omni Senior Living PILOTs 

— Photo by Greg Goutos
Omni resident Jane Perry is handed a very welcoming prize from University at Albany student, Yuka Mogi, a visiting student here from Japan for four months.

GUILDERLAND — The town board is considering extending two payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreements with the Omni Senior Living Community, dating from almost 20 years ago, so that the current owner can sell the complex to Vesta Management Corporation. 

Omni Senior Living is composed of two parcels, at 3485 and 3489 Carman Road, that look like one. Each has 41 units and its own PILOT agreement. 

Supervisor Peter Barber told The Enterprise this week that Omni Senior Living’s funding is governed by the New York State Private Housing Finance Law, which allows PILOTs to be granted by a town board. 

The original PILOTs each have 25-year terms, Barber said, and Vesta is requesting extensions of both PILOTs for an additional five years, to match the 30-year term of the original mortgage issued by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation. 

Duncan Barrett, who worked with Omni when the PILOTs were established, appeared before the town board on Sept. 17 on behalf of the current owner, and said was a partner. Barrett now works for Beacon Communities, which is proposing an intergenerational housing complex for Mercy Care Lane in Guilderland. 

Barrett told the board on Sept. 17 that the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal provided Omni years ago with a low-interest loan, “in return for which they regulate the rents.” 

Barret said the PILOTs are a benefit to the property, but that the benefit is “passed on 100 percent, in terms of reduced rent.” 

There is an income limitation for residents of Omni, the board heard, and rents of about $300 to $400 include heat and hot water. The occupancy rate is about 98 or 99 percent, and there is typically a two-year wait from application to admission, Barrett said. 

An error was made on the part of both Omni — meaning he was partly to blame, Barrett said — and the state in setting a 25-year term for the PILOT and a 30-year mortgage and state regulatory term. 

Omni asked the state’s approval for conveying the property to a new owner, Barrett said, and the state set a condition, for the conveyance, of having the PILOT extended so that all the terms match. There will be a new lender, Barrett said, which is also requiring the extension. 

Under the PILOT agreements, $6,100 is due on each parcel each year in property taxes, for a total of $12,200. 

Barber told Barrett and Vesta representative Lewis Brown, “I am curious whether the amount has to be locked in stone.” He said he would like to consider whether the town should look at the passage of time and consider raising the amount to something more equivalent to the worth in 2000 or 2002 of $6,100. 

“I understand you have tenants, and I don't want to put you in a financial bind, but we also have an obligation to the taxpayers,” Barber said. 

Raising the amount would, Barrett said, “severely impact our ability to complete the transaction,” referring to the sale, “because to the extent that these go up, the financial viability of the project goes down.”

The town board continued the matter to its Oct. 15 meeting, to look into the amount of the PILOT and to wait for comment from the school district, the biggest beneficiary of property taxes; the school board had been set to discuss the matter at its Sept. 17 meeting, Barber said. 

After the meeting, The Enterprise asked Brown what would happen, if the extension were granted, once the extended term ran out, about 10 years from now. He said that at that time there would be another discussion with the town. 

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