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B'ville: A home for all

Bill Durdel is bringing affordable housing to Baldwinsville.

The Baker graduate is president of the Rochester based Baldwin Real Estate Corp., a company that is simultaneously working on two projects in the greater Baldwinsville area -- the renovation of Mercer Mills apartments in the town of Van Buren and the construction of Riverknoll apartments in the town of Lysander.

"It's [Baldwinsville's revitalization] that has put upward pressure on rental rates and that has caused me to put Baldwinsville on the radar screen for affordable housing," Durdel said. "Safe decent affordable housing should be available to everyone and the government has created programs to attract developers into creation of affordable housing."

Affordable housing is reduced-cost housing designed for individuals and families that are below the area medium income. This is made possible through soft financing -- low interest and longer-term loans made available to developers. For example, instead of obtaining a conventional loan at 6.5 percent for 20 years, a developer can apply for a 30-year mortgage at one percent financing in exchange for agreeing to house people at predetermined income levels for public benefit.

"With less debt and more equity, our monthly expenses are lower enabling us to offer lower rents," Durdel said.

Baldwinsville currently boasts affordable housing for seniors at Conifer Village, where Durdel served as vice president of property management for 12 years. There is, however, a need for affordable housing for individuals and families.

"The Northwest quadrant of Onondaga County has enjoyed a significant amount of growth over the past decade. This popularity has put upward pressure on many cost of living factors in this area, including rental rates," Durdel said. "Higher rates have caused some people to move out of the area they have lived in all their lives. Seniors and young families are most affected by these market conditions. [Mercer Mills and Riverknoll] will give these people an opportunity to remain in or return to the community."

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