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.