Printer Friendly

In New Paltz, seniors displacing freshman.

It may look like winter in New York, but property owner Andrew Garr is already thinking summer.

Garr, president of Millennium III Real Estate, owns two college town apartment buildings that at one time were vacant for three months of the year. With a bit of ingenuity, he turned them into a senior citizen's summer vacation retreat. So at this time of year, his firm is recruiting warm weather "snowbirds" from the sands of Florida.

The town of New Paltz near the State University, where his buildings are located has a glut of apartments, and there is no way to force feed apartments to students year round. But transplanted New Yorkers who hate sticky Florida summers love the idea of being in the Catskills and close to friends and family.

"It's unique and I haven't been able to replicate it," Garr said. "The uniqueness is its proximity to New York City and its placement in a college town."

During the school year, the one- and two-bedroom apartments are rented to college students on a semester basis. "I have to go through the ravages of the students and then go through a two-week Chinese fire drill to clean them up," he laughed.

Soon after, his seniors drive up from Florida where they rent or own a home. The one- and two-bedroom apartments in New Paltz are semi-furnished and have cable television hookups. The senior citizens bring their own dishes, linens and TV's. One building has 65 apartments and the other 140.

Garr, who has been running the program for about a dozen years, hires "counselors" and lifeguards for the on-site pools and recreation center and runs buses to area tourist attractions as well as Atlantic City and Martha's Vineyard.

"We act as a channel for their creativity," he said.

The recreation center features bridge, dance lessons, exercise programs and other classes and events.

New Paltz, which was overbuilt to accommodate the university students has no problem with the seniors. "We bring in 300 people who are eating out most of their meals and do not take citizen's jobs," Garr noted. "The Chamber of Commerce loves us."

The seniors have an average return rate of 80 percent. "The single-most cause of not coming back is death or disability," Garr explained, so he has recruiters drumming up business in Florida at this time for the summer.

Most of the senior residents are in their 60's or 70's and are active, he observed, but as they get older they move down from the third story to the first floor.

"Today, to survive in real estate, you have to come up with another wrinkle," Garr explained.

He believes his concept would work in a college town that is located in a place seniors want to visit and has its own cultural attractions. New Paltz has interesting villages and artsy galleries nearby, and is close to golf, skiing, tennis, shooting, and summer stock theater as well as other Catskill resorts.

For the seniors in the months of June, July and August, the average units rents for $1,400 to $3,000. The students pay around the same per semester. Although the three rental periods combined bring in more than renting the units on a monthly basis, Garr said, the costs are high.

"I collect 18 months rent but expenses are 40 percent or 50 percent higher than they would be," he said. "We do net more -- enough to make the efforts worthwhile."

Garr said his rental collection rate is in excess of 99 percent. "I never lose a penny on the seniors and with the students I'm a very good collector," he said, his voice turning gruff. "We're specialists in dealing with students and there are techniques where you can avoid the collection problem."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:apartment buildings with student population turns to senior housing during summers in New Paltz, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 24, 1993
Previous Article:Newmark of NJ to market former Sumitomo Machinery HQ.
Next Article:CBS closes on purchase of building for Letterman.

Related Articles
Kempner acquires shopping center.
ABO to broaden its focus on NY quality of life.
Assisted-living project coming to landmark Manhattan property.
Halstead to sell Tower Penthouse. (Residential).
New rental housing taking root at an active apple farm.
Privatizing government housing a win-win situation.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters