GENEVA — While the solar home development proposed for the town will be similar to a current city project, there will be differences.
Ryan and Tracey Wallace, along with some of their associates, attended Tuesday’s Town Board meeting to discuss plans for a solar village near the Geneva Community Center. If approved by town officials, it will be on land the Wallaces own near their Carter Road home.
Ryan Wallace is chief executive officer and a partner in the Solar Home Factory on Forge Avenue. That’s where homes are being built for Lake Tunnel Solar Village, a development near the Routes 5&20 arterial in the city.
Tracey Wallace owns the Solar Village Co., which oversees Lake Tunnel Solar Village, as well as the development earmarked for the town. The town project will include single-family homes and townhome-style apartments. The apartments, called solar pods, will rent from $900 to $1,750 a month. Tracey Wallace said the leases are unique, because a single bill covers a lot of services.
“It’s almost everything you need to live: heat, power, water, sewer, internet, refuse pickup, recycling, composting,” she said. “There is even an electric vehicle share program.”
A long-term lease option allows residents to customize some items in the pod. Tracey Wallace said while the apartments are small, residents will have access to large common spaces, including a lounge, gym, reading nooks, event room, and outdoor pool.
The development is projected to cost approximately $20.4 million and take three years to complete. It will be done in two phases, with the solar pods going in first.
The project was recently awarded a $1 million grant through the state’s Buildings of Excellence competition for the design, construction, and operation of low-carbon-emitting, multi-family buildings.
The homes and apartments will be built by the Solar Village Co.’s sister company, Solar Home Factory, in partnership with Clyde-based Fingerlakes Construction and Rochester-based engineering firm Bergmann Associates.
The second phase will include single-family homes. Marc Rodriguez, the project’s vice president of design and construction, said the homes will be quite different from the city project.
“The homes (in the town) will have a more traditional roof design with an Adirondack cabin feel, but still using our solar-power core built at Forge Ave,” Rodriguez said.
The single-family homes will be between 1,250 to 1,500 square feet, larger than the ones in the city. Ryan Wallace said the cost will start at $275,000 and could be priced as high as $325,000.
The Wallaces say demand for the solar-powered homes has been high.
“We get multiple calls a day looking for high-end smaller homes for both purchase and rental,” Tracey Wallace said.
The Wallaces own 37 acres on Carter Road; the development will use exactly half that space. The remaining property will remain as farmland and wild space, including a forest buffer near neighboring homes.
The first phase will require site-plan approval from the town Planning Board. The second phase will require a planned-unit-development OK from the Town Board, although the Wallaces said they plan to apply for a PUD for the entire project eventually.
They hope to start putting solar pods on the land next year.
In addition to the city and town projects, Ryan Wallace said the companies are involved in one near Ithaca that will see Solar Home Factory build close to 40 homes. He noted that if the town project is approved, 30-40 people will be employed at Solar Home Factory year-round to build the homes.