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Property History: A Pioneering Affordable Housing Community

Designed and constructed between 1972 and 1976, the Pines of Perinton earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2022 because of its origins and role as a model for affordable housing policy, urban planning and architecture in New York State, specifically, and the the United States, in general.


Built on 43 acres, the Pines of Perinton is home to nearly 1,200 residents, more than one third of whom are children.


It consists of five buildings arranged as a long, snaking two-story complex with each cluster containing its own covered and surface parking areas and both communal and private green spaces. The 420,000-square-foot complex features both flats and townhouse-style housing with studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom apartments. Shared features include an onsite management office, community building, maintenance shops, four laundry rooms, pathways and benches, a pond, playground, and gazebo area.

UDC Case Study.jpg

History and image courtesy of Urban Development Corporation. The full UDC case study can be found here.

The building and property were designed and constructed by New York State’s Urban Development Corporation (UDC), which was established in 1968 with the goal of creating affordable housing for low-and moderate-income families and senior citizens. The UDC was the nation’s only major public developer of affordable housing in suburban areas between 1969 and1977, constructing 15 suburban projects in the entire state of New York, including six in the greater Rochester area.

The Pines of Perinton was also one of the UDC’s most architecturally unique suburban housing developments, serving as an example of the work by two renowned professionals, architect Gwathmey Siegel and landscape designer Peter Roland. The UDC’s other suburban designs were largely based on traditional style and design principles, while the Pines of Perinton is a Mid-Century Modern complex. It represents the modern design and planning theories of the time since it was designed as a low-rise, high-density, affordable housing prototype for suburban multi-family affordable and public housing.

The property reflects the New York State government’s involvement in developing modern, affordable housing for low-to-moderate income families and senior citizens via the UDC, an entity devised by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller with consultation from the noted urban renewal planner Edward Logue. The Pines of Perinton was the last of the six UDC-Greater Rochester suburban projects to be completed and is arguably the most notable of the six developments in Monroe County.

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