LANSING, N.Y. – A ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday celebrated the opening of the Cayuga View Senior Living community in Lansing. The project adds 59 one- and two-bedroom apartments to the county’s market-rate senior housing stock.
With amenities like a rooftop garden and underground parking, the building at 16 Cinema Drive in Lansing is designed for the “55 and better” crowd looking to age in place. Karl Schuler, president of the project’s general contractor TAYLOR – The Builders, said there’s a need for market-rate options for seniors who are ineligible for affordable housing units.
“Just because people have assets from selling their home doesn’t mean they should be punished and not have a place to move into,” he said.
At the same time, Schuler said existing market-rate options in the county are out of reach for many seniors. “We thought, ‘Let’s try to be in the middle, closer to the lower end.” Base-rent for a one-bedroom apartment at Cayuga View starts at $1,550.
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting said there is demand for more senior housing options in the county. According to a report on senior housing prepared by the Tompkins County Office for the Aging, Cayuga View joins just three other developments in the market-rate category for seniors: Kendal at Ithaca, Horizon Villages Townhomes and Longview Patio Homes and Apartments.
Jennifer Tavares, president of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, said her office fields frequent calls from people who are looking to retire in the area. The new building, she said, “adds more ways for people to stay in our community when they choose to retire, when they move out of their home and choose to downsize a little bit.”
Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislator and chair of the Housing Committee, was unable to attend the ribbon-cutting but said market-rate senior housing is a welcome addition to the county. She said the county’s Housing Needs Assessment identified senior housing as an “one of the categories where we see a logjam.”
“Many people are ready to downsize from their single-family home and would like to move to something with less maintenance, with more of a walkable community,” Robertson said. “The county has a desperate need for lower-cost units, but projects like this certainly fill a niche.”
Renters started to move into Cayuga View in July. Manley Thaler, the project’s developer, has moved into an apartment in the building with his wife. He said he expects more “gray-haired people” to follow.
“It’s a matter of convenience, that’s why we built this place,” he said. Thaler said there are several banks, stores, restaurants and clinics within walking distance or accessible by bus from the building’s Cinema Dr. location. The complex’s ground floor also has two unfilled commercial spaces. Thaler said he hopes a convenience store will move into one of the spots.
Representatives from several local offices showed up to the ribbon-cutting to celebrate the project’s completion: Shawna Black and Deborah Dawson from the Tompkins County Legislature; Megan McDonald and David West from the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability; Lisa Holmes from the Tompkins County Office for the Aging; Don Hartill, mayor of Lansing; Michael Long, Lansing planning consultant; and Sharon Murphy, attending on behalf of Rep. Tom Reed.