With housing, all hope is not lost

The housing crisis in the Tri-Lakes region seems to be getting worse by the year, and sometimes, progress just seems too slow-moving. There are people in our community right now that need housing right now — it’s hard to see that again and again and not feel a little pessimistic about the future.

But we think it’s good to celebrate the small victories when they come. We really do think there’s reason to be hopeful. When communities earnestly come together to tackle an issue, especially here, we’ve already seen what we can overcome.

Let’s look, for example, at the new MacKenzie Outlook housing development in Lake Placid. Lake Placid is no stranger to developments that, for whatever reason, don’t end up panning out — but MacKenzie Outlook is pre-renting apartments and seems to be on track to open in 2023 as planned. How did this happen?

The Lussi family, which owns the Crowne Plaza Resort, donated 3 acres of land. Then the state, after some advocacy by former state Sen. Betty Little, chipped in $3.9 million in loans and tax credits. With this help, and the promise of using the development first as athlete housing for the 2023 World University Games before it’s opened for long-term residential use, Regan Development was able to make MacKenzie Outlook a reality. And the units will be income restricted — with rents ranging from $441-813 for a one bedroom apartment and $525-937 for a two bedroom, according to the developer’s website — meaning that this housing will likely serve at least part of the demographic that the town-village Housing Needs Assessment identified as having the greatest need.

Is this a model that can be easily replicated elsewhere in the Tri-Lakes? Maybe not. Is it too early to say whether everything with this development will pan out as expected? Yes. Is there way more work to be done to address the housing crisis in our region? Yes. But we think that the fact that this housing has been built, with this demographic in mind, is reason to be at least a little optimistic that the tides may be turning, if only slowly, bit by bit.