A portion of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base is vacant tonight, but it’s about to get a new lease on life…and the effort to develop it will help address two community needs at once.

This development project is in the Atlas Heights neighborhood of the Town of Plattsburgh, and it’s been about five years in the making.

There’s a tremendous need for affordable housing options in Clinton County’s largest population center.

“Somewhere between 55% and 60% of the households, I believe, that rent are what’s considered rent-burdened, or paying over 30% of their income on rent,” Plattsburgh Housing Authority executive director Mark Hamilton said.

On a vacant lot, the Plattsburgh Housing Authority is about to take a big step toward addressing that problem. New York State has just given the authority $3.6 million to build a 40-unit affordable housing complex.

The lot is a piece of former Plattsburgh Air Force Base property on New York Road, tucked in between Seton Catholic Central High School and a credit union. It’ll offer one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

“This (money) is going to cover the development of that project, so the intention at this point is for the funding from the state to ensure that the development can get built,” Hamilton said.

Fourteen of the 40 apartments will be set aside for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, in partnership with the organization Stop Domestic Violence.

“We’ll be working with them to ensure that there is permanent affordable housing for the individuals and families that go through their support system,” Hamilton said.

He also added that the project ties in nicely to Clinton County’s effort to attract industrial employers in recent years.

“With that, there’s obviously a need for a work force, and there’s a need for affordable housing for that work force,” Hamilton said.

There’s still a little more work to do on the site plan, but Hamilton expects construction of the apartment complex to begin this fall. Tenants should be able to move in sometime next year.