Marilla homeowners purchase Bush Gardens manufactured home park

First Resident-owned Manufactured Home Park in Erie County

MARILLA, NY (January 6, 2012) - Homeowners in a Marilla manufactured home park face a more certain future after purchasing their community on December 29, 2011. The resident purchase of Bush Gardens Manufactured Home Park creates the first ever resident-owned manufactured home park in Erie County.

The 154 site park was purchased by a newly-formed resident co-op corporation from the current owner, Bush Gardens, MHC, LLC (managed by KDM Development Corp.).  PathStone Corporation, a community development organization based in Rochester, provided technical assistance and training to the residents to set up the co-op, secure financing, purchase their communities, make needed infrastructure improvements, and operate Bush Gardens  as an affordable, resident-owned community.

The $4.5 million purchase was financed by the New York State Housing Finance Agency and ROC USATM Capital, the finance arm of a non-profit social enterprise that finances resident ownership of manufactured home communities in 20 states.

With the purchase, which must still be approved by the New York State Attorney General’s office, Bush Garden residents will have an opportunity to buy a membership and become part owners of their community. The homes in the community will continue to be individually owned by the homeowners but the land, roads, and sewer systems and other infrastructure will be cooperatively owned by homeowner and operated on a non-profit basis.  This financing structure ensures continued affordable rents, adequate reserves for capital improvements and long-term security for homeowners.

“We’ve made the choice to become a resident-owned community to help all families in this community, especially the seniors on fixed incomes and the young families who are just starting out,” said Dennis Jakubowski, President of the Bush Gardens’ Homeowners Association.

“Our long-term objective is to provide tools for lower income families to build assets and gain stability,” said Stuart Mitchell, president and CEO of PathStone.  “Resident ownership of manufactured home communities is one way to do that while protecting the dwindling supply of affordable housing in this area.”

“Board members have volunteered hundreds of hours over the past few months to gain control of their community,” said Andrea Miller, Program Manager for PathStone.  “Their hard work and dedication to resident ownership have made this purchase possible.”

Bush Gardens Manufactured Home Park is situated on 89 acres  off Three Rod Road, south east of the Village of Alden in eastern Erie County.

The resident corporation was represented in this purchase by attorney George Parker out of Rochester.  The listing agent for the seller was Nick Malagisi of Sperry Van Ness out of Buffalo.

PathStone will provide ongoing technical assistance and training to the Bush Gardens community for at least the next 10 years.  PathStone is a regional non-profit community development and human services organization that provides technical assistance and training to manufactured home community residents interested in resident ownership.  PathStone is a ROC USATM Certified Technical Assistance Provider and a member of the national NeighborWorks® Network.

PathStone is currently working toward resident ownership of four other manufactured home communities across New York and also plans to expand the program into Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Resident ownership is a growing trend nationally as more homeowners seek protection against park closure and the inherent instability of owning their homes but not the land beneath them.  A recent study in New Hampshire found that manufactured homes in co-op communities sold for 12% more than comparable homes in investor-owned communities.

To learn more about the Marilla purchase: Residents buy Marilla mobile home park, originally published in the Buffalo News on January 6, 2011.

For more information, contact:

Andrea Miller by email or (585)340-3360

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