OWEGO -- The Tioga County Industrial Development Agency Wednesday accepted a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement from Owego Family Housing for the construction of a 40-unit market-rate apartment complex.

The $12.19 million project is slated for 610 Main St., a vacant parcel across from Brick Pond in the Village of Owego.

"This PILOT application is for 40 units, 12 one-bedroom apartments, which are 725 square feet each; 22 two-bedroom apartments, which are 889 square feet each; and six three-bedroom aparments that are 1,150 square feet each," IDA Executive Director Bryant Myers explained.

"Wow -- that has sat vacant for a very long time," Legislative Chair Martha Sauerbrey said of the project. "Awesome!"

The parcel would need to be brought up to the village's flood plain level, or be built in a way that would set the facility above that level -- such as putting a garage below the apartment units, board members explained.

"They will meet all the elevation requirements for the village flood plain plan," noted county Economic Development and Planning Executive Director LeeAnn Tinney.

Board members noted that the countywide housing study, when finalized in December, should help the development and housing update process.

"You're in a nasty vicious cycle where you've got 100-year-old real estate that you're trying to turn into rental property and there's brand new stuff going up next door," said board member Kevin Gillette. "Not for nothing, but we could use some brand new stuff."

IDA Chairman Ralph Kelsey explained that "part of the discussion regarding the housing study and getting some of that done is also try to evaluate the current housing and explore."

"They need to research and find that there are monies to help the current landowners who are operating apartments and trying to do something to keep those units up to date and good shape," Kelsey continued. "I hope we can do something in that arena."

"I think we have a responsibility to enhance the county of the Southern Tier as part of our economic mission," said Kelsey. "(We) don't have the manufacturing jobs, but we do have hospitals. We have colleges, (and) tech jobs. We need to have a place that people want to reside in."

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