A Keuka Makeover

by Victoria Ritter, with Chris Iverson

The former location of the Penn Yan Boat Company is getting a makeover. Soon the property will be transformed into The Moorings on Keuka, a collection of condominiums along the Keuka Lake outlet. Local developer Chris Iverson shares his thoughts on the new real estate development and what it will bring to the Penn Yan community.

What inspired you to build on Keuka Lake, and especially at the location where the historic Penn Yan Boat Company was originally located? 

Iverson: Yates County solicited development proposals for the Penn Yan Boat site in order to return the site to the tax rolls. Due to my familiarity with the area as a longtime resident and the site’s location on Keuka Lake, the idea of creating waterfront residences was natural. The site is unique. Its size allowed the creation of more than just a few new homes; it allowed the creation of a new waterfront neighborhood which is walkable to downtown Penn Yan.

What are some of the things you like about the Keuka Lake and Penn Yan community that make the location of the homes appealing? 

We are blessed to live in the Finger Lakes Region and Keuka Lake is the most beautiful of all. We are in the heart of a nationally recognized wine area. Craft breweries and the recent influx of high-quality restaurants in Penn Yan add to the attractions residents and visitors are enjoying. Immediate access to the lake with on-site boat docks, pickleball courts, connection to the Keuka Outlet Trail and proximity to the regional farmers/craft market at The Windmill, alpine skiing at Bristol Mountain and fly-in access at the Penn Yan Regional Airport make this a highly desirable location.

In what ways will this housing development benefit the local community?  

The first benefit was the removal of abandoned manufacturing buildings and revitalization of the site. Site development now connects an attractive waterfront walk path from Red Jacket Park, Main Deck restaurant and Hampton Inn thru downtown Penn Yan to the Outlet Trail to Seneca Lake.  

Additionally, the sale of upscale homes will generate a significant boost to local tax revenues funding school and community facilities. And 39 new families and their visitors will spur the local economy with purchases of local services.  

These residences may allow those wanting to downsize from existing local homes to maintain their connection to Penn Yan and Keuka Lake (making their existing homes available for new residents); they may allow an affordable waterfront purchase by someone working in the area; and they may attract families from outside the area, bringing new civic and economic life to the community.

Is there a typical style and size of home that a future homeowner can have built?  

The several home models offered have compatible exterior architectural features ranging from approximately 1,400-2,600 square feet. Interiors can be custom designed to satisfy each purchaser’s individual tastes. The larger single-family models can be custom designed. The building styles are evident in the clubhouse and residences that have been completed on site.

What are some of the highlights of the units? 

Typical residence designs include two or three bedrooms, connected garages, covered patios, generous allowances for the selection of finishes, spacious storage and the availability of high-speed internet. Nine-foot ceiling heights permit extra-large windows.

What advantages and extra benefits will homeowners have by owning one of the Moorings homes? 

The Condominium Association is responsible for providing exterior maintenance, landscaping, property insurance and refuse disposal. The Community Clubhouse is available for resident use with a full kitchen, meeting space, office and exercise room. Common grounds include waterfront walkway and docks, pickleball courts, a gazebo and raised bed gardens. The site is designed to encourage residents to enjoy the neighborhood and their neighbors. Making this site particularly livable are low property tax assessments resulting in property taxes of generally less than $6,000 per year. 

Do you have anything in place to reduce the environmental impact when the buildings are eventually constructed?  

The buildings are being built to exceed energy code requirements and utilize highly efficient electric heat pumps for heating and air conditioning. The walkability of the site encourages less reliance on cars, and community-wide maintenance is less energy intensive than individual homeownership.

Do you have any future Keuka Lake projects that you’re considering?  

The empty lot on Water Street in downtown Penn Yan across the street from Birkett Landing will be developed with 16 for-sale townhomes, with anticipated availability in 2024.

The Rich History of Penn Yan Boat Company

German immigrant Charles A. Herrmann founded the Penn Yan Boat Company in 1921. In 1930, a new factory was built on Waddell Ave. in Penn Yan, now to be the site of The Moorings on Keuka. A historic marker remains on location.

The company initially built wooden boats and canoes; production switched to fiberglass in the 1960s. Other vessels included racing boats, rowboats, fishing boats and dinghies. The most famous model was the Penn Yan “Cartop” Boat, which was designed to be easily carried on a car or trailer and was light enough for the average man or woman to unload it without difficulty.

The Penn Yan Boat Company’s renown grew over the decades and it sold boats across the world, generating millions of dollars in revenue. The company ceased operations in 2001 after 80 years of business.

To learn more about the Moorings on Keuka, visit mooringsonkeuka.com or call 585-526-6331. 

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