ATHENS - A Rochester, N.Y., company is proposing to construct 44 units of affordable housing at the site of the vacant Athens Borough Recreation Center in Athens, the Athens Borough manager said.

Conifer Realty would demolish the Athens Borough Recreation Center at 101 Satterlee St., also known as the former Ingersoll-Rand Clubhouse, and build a series one- and two-bedroom residences on the 4 1/2-acre site, Athens Borough Manager Mark Burgess said.

The residences are intended for working families, the Bradford County commissioners said.

The borough would sell the 15,000 square-foot Recreation Center and the land on which it sits to Conifer Realty, so that the construction can go forward, Burgess said.

"The borough is trying to do what's best for everybody" in the borough and surrounding area by pursuing the sale of the Recreation Center to Conifer, Burgess said.

The construction of the development would create affordable housing for people in the Valley who are still displaced by the September 2011 flooding, and would help address the shortage of affordable housing that has been exacerbated by the influx of workers in the gas industry, Burgess said.

The construction of the housing development would generate tax revenue for the borough and would also help the local economy, because its residents would patronize area businesses, he said.

The sale price of the property "has not been set in stone," Burgess said.

When the borough bought the Ingersoll-Rand Clubhouse in 1998, its intention was to create a recreation center at the site, but that didn't come to fruition, due to a lack of funds.

Over the years, the building was used as a Head Start center, as a temporary Athens School District facility, and a temporary location for Jay Carpet after the September 2011 flood.

"The 4 1/2 acres are sitting vacant," Burgess said. "They are not doing justice for the borough or anybody else."

On Thursday, the Bradford County commissioners voted to write a letter of support for Conifer Realty's application for funding for the construction of the development from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

The Review's attempts to obtain information from Conifer Realty on Thursday were unsuccessful.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com