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Local contractor still loves to build after three decades in the business

Area resident Jeff Long has been building structures locally and throughout Pennsylvania for the last three decades.
Born and raised in Sinking Valley, Long grew up on a dairy farm with seven brothers and sisters.
Following graduation from Tyrone Area High School in 1976, he started building a home for himself.
Long said it was just natural to build his own home and said he enjoyed building things growing up.
While the first house he built took three years to complete, Long upped the ante when he started his own construction business in 1980, Jeff S. Long Construction, working full-time, building one house at a time.
Over the years, Long began to acquire lots for housing developments and by the 1990s he was completing 25 to 30 homes each year.
Long said he enjoyed building houses but by the late 1990s he knew it was time for a change. So, twelve years ago he sold the housing business to S&A Homes and signed a non-compete agreement to cease building homes.
With the agreement in affect, Long began working on another project, an assisted living facility for the elderly. He built three facilities, known as Colonial Courtyard, in Tyrone, Bedford and Clearfield.
Following the completion of that project, Long sold all three facilities and again signed a non-compete agreement.
Long said he never worried about limiting what types of structures he could build, “There’s always something to build,” he added.
His next project idea came following a little research.
Long said the local Chamber of Commerce is always a great place to get information, and after researching the demographics in different towns, he realized the need for independent senior apartments.
With that, the idea for Graystone Courts was born. Construction began in Tyrone, converting the former Adams Elementary School into Sr. apartments for those 55-years and older.
The response was overwhelming, so Long continued working on the project. Six more Graystone Courts were erected in Bellmeade, Bedford, Roaring Springs, Hollidaysburg, Clearfield and Ebensburg.
All mirrored the success of the first, with waiting lists at each facility.
Long is currently working on the eighth Graystone apartments, called Graystone Villas, located in Altoona.
This project is a little different from the previous seven facilities. It has more of an upscale feel with an indoor pool, spa and restaurant, among other amenities provided to residents.
Three more Graystone Villas are in the works, two starting next summer in Johnstown and Huntingdon and one the following year in Punxsutawney.
The biggest difference with the new style is the all-concrete construction, which according to Long makes for a safer and quieter building.
The new Altoona facility towers above the previous buildings at seven stories, compared to the more common three story structures (excluding Tyrone’s two story building).
Just over halfway complete, the $18 million apartment complex houses 152 apartments, of which 90 are already rented. Rent in the new villa-style facilities ranges from $800 to $1,300 a month. That includes all utilities and cable TV, only excluding phone service.
Graystone Court rent varies anywhere from $600 to $900 a month.
The facilities are not subsidized housing and rent is not based upon income.
“The nice thing about this,” Long explained, “is we’re renting to a great class of people. They pay their rent, they take great care of their apartments.”
Unlike the Colonial Courtyard facilities, Long still owns all of the Graystone buildings. All together there are approximately 600 units in the eight buildings.
Besides the various housing projects Long has worked on, he also built and owns LaScalia’s Restaurant in Pinecroft.
Another project Long was proud to be a part of was the Northern Blair County Recreation Center. He said a group got together and made plans to build the facility. They came to Long and asked for his help with the construction. Long was glad to be a part of the project and became a member of the Board of Directors for the NBCRC.
He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Tyrone Chamber and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Blair County Builders Association.
“I love doing this,” concluded Long, who currently resides in Sinking Valley with his wife Vikki. The couple has been married 21 years and they have two daughters, Amy, 7 and Emily, 9.