Have you noticed that some of the trees and street signs on South Avenue have sprouted adorable monster feet? This, my friends, is a fantastic example of what the internet apparently calls “yarn bombing,” which I have also heard called “guerrilla knitting” ’round these parts. The monster feet pictured here were spotted just outside Open Face by my chocolate lab, Veruca, who thinks they smell really interesting.
Monster Feet on South Avenue
I wonder if the anonymous knitters who created this most inoffensive graffiti have heard of my elite secret society, which I actually started several years ago when my husband first created my Reason #2 for Loving the South Wedge.
Residents of Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood spent roughly 30 years waiting to see the old housing projects come down along Mt. Hope Ave and the Genesee River. About two years ago residents let out a collective sigh of relief as the wrecking ball erased the former soviet-style cement complex from the skyline. After a series of community meetings which left residents anywhere from horrified to disappointed, Conifer met with community stakeholders one more time last week to show off their final plans in the community room of the Hamilton Apartment tower next to the proposed building site.
Conifer’s building project manager presented a series of 3D illustrations which included some small design compromises like toning down the color palate. No one was surprised to see that the final designs were so similar to the ones which several weeks ago prompted neighbors to start a petition which raised nearly 600 signatures in protest. One of the biggest hurdles to incorporating public feedback on the design is that most local residents wish they could start with a clean slate. They feel that the design of this building is the antithesis of what the waterfront location and the community call for. While they are right on both accounts, in my humble opinion, the project will still be an economic boon for the community.
My wife and I own and live in a home less than a block from the proposed Erie Harbor Apartment project site. So as you can imagine, this project has a huge impact on us. One of the biggest positive changes resulting from this redevelopment is the introduction of market rate apartments on the South Wedge neighborhood’s waterfront. The previous 3-story low rise building had roughly 200 low income housing projects. Erie Harbor will be an 80/20 market rate and affordable housing hybrid with 131 units in total. The best part (for local property owners) is that Conifer will be defying the local apartment market by increasing the neighborhood’s rent ceiling by about 100%.
Erie Harbor apartments will be available as flats or two story floor plans with off street parking, water-view balconies, washer and dryer connections in unit and access to a common roof deck. With one bedrooms at $925-1100, two bedrooms at $1250-1850 and 3 bedrooms at $2000-2250 it will be interesting to see how quickly these apartments are filled after completion. Since the current average rent in the South Wedge neighborhood is closer to $800/mo for a two bedroom apartment, we sure hope they get it! If you’re ‘lucky enough’ to qualify for the new affordable housing units, the rents are a much more approachable $625, $750 and $826 for the 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments respectively.
Ground breaking should take place this winter with a possible completion date of Fall 2011.
Here is a great article that I found recently on Forbes.com about our very own Rochester, NY! (As of 6/13/11, that article has been taken down by Forbes, but please read on… you’ll get the gist.)
This blog posting ties in with a previous posting from Kristin on “The Rent is Too Damn High Party” (Ha! I love it!) and the fact that we, here in Rochester, have some of the most affordable rents and the cost of living is considerably cheaper than many of the cities throughout the country.
Did you just hear that? Someone’s stomach just growled (inside joke from the video clip of “The Rent is Too…”)–but it wasn’t here in Rochester.
From what the Forbes article says about the few northeastern city winners as ”… emerging from long slumps after being deserted by their manufacturing economies…”, while now providing “…the combination of a newly diversified economy and a history of sustained low costs makes them affordable.”
While we do have a lot of work to do in our community to build Rochester back up from the heydays of the mid-twentieth century, I think the article provides a great base for building upon as we move forward out of the recession.
The time is now to act upon to change Rochester for the better! We must continue to diversify our local economy in order to prevent another “All your eggs in one basket” meltdown with Kodak; we must fully take advantage of our local resources of low costs, a vibrant, educated workforce, and high quality living to attract the best businesses, changemakers, and policies; and we must not succumb to any negativity about how Rochester is “too this, or too that, or not enough of this…”
—because for that matter, if you don’t like the Rochester area, you can always move to a city where Karate Experts will campaign on your behalf where “The Rent is TOO Damn High!”.
If you haven’t checked out our local rent stock lately, go to www.Newdigs.com to find the latest and greatest of affordability in our Rochester area. I am sure you will agree that, in this context, we’re in a much better position than our downstate neighbors.
Jason Schwingle’s passions include travel, art and design, and our City of Rochester. He works for Jetblue Airways and is a Sr. Community Coordinator for Newdigs.com, a local tech start-up here in our very own Rochester, NY. Please comment on the postings or feel free to contact him at Jason@Newdigs.com.