Hope to be found in a sad state of affairs

Any way you slice it, it’s a sad state of affairs when a housing crisis gets so severe that people in need of affordable housing have to cross their fingers and pray that their name is picked from a pool of others, so they have the opportunity to potentially find a place to live.

But that’s what happened in Lake Placid this week.

With the construction of a new affordable housing complex on Wesvalley Road nearly complete, on Monday, 60 potential tenants’ names were drawn first in a lottery for apartments there. Sixty names from around 150 applicants altogether.

As time goes on, the old comparisons between Lake Placid and Vail, Colorado — a winter resort town where the average price of a single-family home is around $2.3 million, according to Denver7, a Colorado-based television station — seem to be getting more apt. To be clear, while housing lotteries are becoming more common in Vail, this seems to be Lake Placid’s first. And while the average price of a single-family home in Vail is $2.3 million, in Lake Placid, it’s likely still a fraction of that. (According to Realtor.com, in July, the median listing price for homes in Lake Placid was $712,000 and the median home sale price was $574,500. It’s unclear if that figure is exclusively single-family homes or includes multi-family homes.)

With that being said, we believe there’s hope to be found in all of this.

The Lussi family, who are longtime Lake Placid residents and owners of the Crowne Plaza Resort & Golf Club, offered to donate the land that this new housing complex was built upon. That got the ball rolling and, hopefully, may inspire others with resources to help meet this community need.

Ultimately, Ardsley-based developer Regan Development made this apartment complex happen. They jumped through all the myriad of hoops that come with building something in the Adirondack Park, they secured funding, and despite pandemic-related supply chain issues, MacKenzie Overlook became a reality.

And if the 113-page community housing needs assessment study put together by the Lake Placid-North Elba Community Development Commission and Camoin 310 in 2020 wasn’t enough, this housing lottery proves that there’s a need for this type of housing in Lake Placid.

Though it’s not great to see a housing lottery in this area, we hope that it’ll serve a greater good in the long run by showing other developers — and financiers — that there’s a market here and there’s money to be made, all while meeting a community need.

Sometimes, progress happens in strange ways. We hope that’s what’s happening here.


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