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Morgan townhouses set to open July after National Grid slipup

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Following a two-month delay caused by a mix-up with National Grid, the first two townhouse apartment buildings at the Preserve at Autumn Ridge are now scheduled for families to move in by July 15.

Utility company workers began installing electric and gas lines the second week of May at the site north of Sam’s Club on County Route 202 in the town of Watertown, according to Jeffrey L. Powell, property manager for developer Morgan Management, Pittsford. Mr. Powell said families originally expected the housing to be ready by May. He said the developer fortunately hasn’t lost any of the 26 tenants who signed preleases reserving units at the first two apartment buildings. They were willing to wait for National Grid workers to finish their job, after the utility neglected to design power lines connecting to a sewer pump station that serves the buildings.

“We wanted to be safe prior to leasing units to everyone in case there was a delay, and they were warned ahead of time it could happen,” said Mr. Powell, who began preleasing townhouse apartments in February at an on-site office. “Everyone on my pre-list stayed on.”

Among the 26 units claimed so far, about 75 percent are to be occupied by military families, Mr. Powell said. That trend is expected to continue as workers finish more of the two-story buildings, which include either five or seven units. A third building is slated to open in September, and a fourth by the beginning of October. Those buildings are part of the four-year project’s first phase, which calls for 244 two- and three-bedroom apartments to be done by fall 2014. In total, 60 buildings with 394 units are planned.

Monthly rent for the units is set at $1,110 and $1,275, including all utilities except electricity.

Kevin J. Morgan, the developer’s vice president, said although the delay he attributed to National Grid was disappointing, the utility stepped up to remedy the problem as soon as it could.

“We were able to work through the issues and push some of the residents’ move-in dates back after hoping to open up mid-May,” he said. “But at the same token, it’s revenue that we’re now losing for the couple of months we’re not open that we were planning on. At this point, we’re accepting we’ve lost a couple of months.”

The delay was also inopportune because the nearby Beaver Meadows Apartments complex is scheduled to open in June, Mr. Morgan said. Situated behind the Target store off outer Arsenal Street in the Towne Center Plaza, that 296-unit complex is being completed by COR Development Co., Fayetteville, a Morgan competitor.

“It’s competition, so it will be a factor,” Mr. Morgan said of the Beaver Meadows site. “I think it could affect the people who have immediate housing needs. But I think there are people who can wait the extra 20 to 30 days who want the townhouses. We’ve been told this is the type of living arrangement the Army is looking for.”

The project is now on schedule to complete 22 apartment buildings at the 68.8-acre site by the end of 2013, which will include about 130 units, he said.

Both the Morgan and COR projects received 10-year tax breaks approved by municipalities to build market-rate rental housing to meet the needs of local residents and military families.

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