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Open house scheduled at new Graystone Court Villas

Ribbon cutting
A ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held at Graystone Court Villas in Altoona, a division of Jeff S. Long Construction. Tyrone Area Chamber of Commerce Advantage Night, formerly Business After Hours, will also be held at the new Graystone complex on Monday, October 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. All Chamber members and guests are invited to visit the newly constructed and opened independent senior luxury apartments, located at 1101 Flamingo Drive, Altoona. Tickets are $5 per person, prepaid at the Chamber office. The cut-off date for registration is Friday, October 17. (Courtesy photo)

Most area residents are familiar with Graystone Courts, which have popped up all over the area. The first Graystone complex was constructed in Tyrone, when local contractor Jeff Long converted 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 has now completed the eighth Graystone apartments, called Graystone Court Villas, located in Altoona.
Owners Jeff and Vikki Long are excited about the completion of this project and will host an open house this weekend so everyone can stop by and check out the new facility.
Graystone Court Villas will be open to the public Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This project was a little different from the previous seven facilities. It has more of an upscale feel with an indoor swimming pool, Anthony’s Restaurant, Evolution wellness and physical therapy facility, game room, Razor’s Edge salon and semi-private parking garages. All appliances, including a washer and dryer, are provided within the apartments.
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).
The $18 million apartment complex houses 152 apartments. 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.
A second Graystone Court Villas location is already under construction on Theatre Drive in Johnstown. Three others, in Huntingdon, Punxsatawney and Bellefonte, are in the planning stages.
Long, who has been building structures locally and throughout Pennsylvania for the last three decades, was born and raised in Sinking Valley where he 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.
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.
He said he enjoyed building houses but by the late 1990s he knew it was time for a change. So, 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.
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 over 20 years and they have two daughters, Amy and Emily.