St. Mark's announces plans for housing development

Gwen Chamberlain
This rendering shows the apartment building that's being planned for the 31-acre site near Route 54 and Pre-Emption Road.

It’s been more than three years in the planning stages, and now the board of directors of a much-needed housing development is ready to share more information about the new homes that will be built near the intersection of State Route 54A and Pre-Emption Road.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Penn Yan will build an independent living facility for seniors that will begin with 48 apartments and 30 cottages, or patio homes.

Plans must still be reviewed and approved by the Benton Town Planning Board, but members of the board of directors recently shared plans for the apartments and cottages that will be built beginning later this year.

St. Mark’s Villa, Inc. was formed in 2005 after the need for non-subsidized, senior living complex in the Penn Yan area was identified. Marketing studies in 2006 and 2007 concluded there is a strong interest in the development of a new senior residential community and that many long time residents have been leaving the area due to the lack of desirable and appropriate maintenance-free housing.

“We want a place for Yates County people who grew up and want to stay here,” explains Bill Sutherland, one of the directors.

Once construction actually begins, the first residents could move into their new homes in about a year.

Living options will include one or two bedroom apartments and one or two bedroom cottages, which are a bit larger than patio homes, according to Sutherland.

The apartments will all be part of a large, two-story structure that could eventually be expanded with two more wings. The cottages will be built as three units in each of the 10 structures. All the buildings will be located on a 31-acre site. 

St. Mark’s Villa will not be a licensed health care facility. It will be a maintenance free facility including utilities, limited housekeeping, a coffee shop, community activities and numerous common areas.

Diane Lenzo, director of St. Mark’s Terrace in Penn Yan and Dundee, says she heard the first discussions about the need for non-subsidized, independent senior housing in the area soon after she began working at the organization 10 years ago. She says amenities, such as a daily continental breakfast, activities and shuttle service, are a very important part of this project.

The building where the apartments will be located will also include a central great room and café, where continental breakfast will be served for all residents. A light lunch menu will also be available in the café for purchase, and the kitchen and great room will be available for residents to use for entertaining.

The apartment building will also include a storage area for each tenant, space for a beauty/barber shop, library and laundry and garage space will be provided as well. 

Sutherland says there’s a possibility of adding storage facilities for the cottagers as well.

There are two floor plans — either one or two bedroom — for both apartments and cottages. The apartments will be either 750 sq. ft. or 900 sq. ft. Each apartment will have a washer and dryer and each floor of the apartment building will have a large laundry room.

The cottages are either 1290 sq. ft. or 1400 sq. ft. Each cottage has a fireplace.

Each cottage includes a one car garage, and there are plans for garage space for the apartment buildings.

All units will be self contained with complete kitchens, dining area, living room, bedrooms and laundry.

The board of directors is beginning to reach out to the community, developing a relationship with Keuka College and other community organizations with a goal to create an extensive menu of activities for the residents of the Villa, including meaningful opportunities to interact with the college’s students.

“The idea is to provide access to the (Keuka College) campus and the community for activities,” says Lenzo.

Right now, the anticipated cost of the project is expected to be around $12.5 million. Financial support has been secured from the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and other sources, and 62 individuals and couples have expressed an interest in the project. Joining the list indicates interest and support, but does not involve any sort of firm commitment. Those on the list receive periodic updates on the progress of the Villa project and are given the first opportunity to participate further if they desire to do so.

For more information on the project, or to have your name added to the list of interested people, call 315-536-6650.

Members of the board of directors are Sutherland, Lenzo, Mike Streeter, Harold Gray, Judi Gibbs, Tom Foulkes, Dana Schillinger and Rev. David Smith.

This rendering shows the exterior and floor plans for the 30 cottages that will be built as part of the St. Mark's Villa project.