By Andrew Wroblewski
Four hours and 1,323 names later, the lottery for The Club at Melville came to an end on Thursday.
With the help of Supervisor Frank Petrone, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson and Councilwoman Susan Berland, the names of applicants for 260 affordable senior homes were selected at Huntington High School, where more than 100 hopeful seniors looked on, hoping for good news.
The first names picked: Katherine and Joseph Ingber, of Lindenhurst.
“I’m excited because I usually never win anything,” Katherine said just minutes after Berland pulled her name. “I just hope now that we qualify for everything.”
The lottery marks just the beginning of a process that will determine who will ultimately will buy the 260 homes – being built as part of a joint project between Continental Ventures and Pinewood Development at 25 Deshon Drive – as they’re broken down according to price.
But the Ingbers are already looking forward to moving in.
“My son and grandchildren live nearby [in Huntington] and I want to be next to them,” Joseph said. “I think [The Club] is going to look nice and [since it’s so close to everything] you can even walk to Costco.”
Of the 1,323 names pulled, 678 are current Huntington residents or have a relation to the town in that they have an immediate family member who lives in Huntington, according to A.J. Carter, town spokesman. Those Huntington names were chosen first on Thursday and then the remaining were picked in a separate lottery. Qualification forms were sent out to the first 300 people whose names were drawn this week by the Huntington Community Development Agency to begin the process of applying for the homes.
The homes are split amongst three income levels, with 27 each available at the levels of 80 percent of median income (sale price $211,750; maximum income for two-person household is $67,800) and 120 percent of the median income (sale price $317,750; maximum income for two-person household is $120,281).
The final level, 130 percent of median income (sale price $385,000; maximum income for two-person household is $120,281), will have 208 units available. If there are any $385,000 homes available after income-restricted applicants are placed in homes, the remaining units will be opened up to market-rate buyers on the list.
Some seniors, like the Ingbers are looking to The Club in hopes of being closer to loved ones. Others, like Bhagwat and Sheila Persuad, of Huntington, are hoping to do a little downsizing. With four children – all of whom are doctors of medicine – having left the nest, Sheila said it was time for the couple to begin “sizing down.”
That didn’t make them any less eager on Thursday as their names were picked eighth overall.
“We’re excited about it,” Bhagwat said. “I hope we get a nice apartment.”
Excitement ran high not just for the applicants, but for those who have spent so much time and effort getting The Club going – like Jane Gol, president of Continental Ventures, and Uri Hason, CEO of Pinewood Development.
“We’re so thrilled about the number of people that applied and the fact that we can fill this important need for housing,” Gol said.
Even with emotions running high in the auditorium, Gol and the town kept the lottery prompt and organized. As names were pulled, they were posted on the town’s website.
Moving forward, applications will be sent out to all those that participated in the lottery and will be filed by The Club’s legal team as they determine who qualifies to purchase one of the homes.
With that being said, Hason was just happy to see his and his partners’ hard work start to pay off.
“I see the people, I see their faces, I’m going to see their faces as they move in and this, for me, is everything,” Hason said.
Hason will be able to see those faces yet again as they move into The Club, which Gol said would start in the spring of 2015.