Home Leasing plans to acquire, redevelop and manage the Thurston Road and Chili Avenue Apartments with a total investment of approximately $10 million. The project includes the acquisition and substantial rehabilitation of two extremely distressed apartment buildings located at 447 Thurston Road and 967 Chili Avenue, in Rochester NY. These buildings are part of a portfolio of four properties that will be acquired by Home Leasing. A third building located at 440 Thurston Road was destroyed by fire in December of 2018. Home Leasing will hold the land at the location of the fire and the two-unit home at 444 Thurston for a potential future infill development project.
The renovation of 447 Thurston and 967 Chili includes 63 units, 10 studios and 53 one bedrooms ranging between 240-530 square feet. The buildings are currently unregulated. This project will ensure their continued affordability for households with incomes ranging from 40% of AMI to 60% of AMI. In addition, 20 of the 63 units will be set aside for supportive housing of homeless individuals with a history of substance abuse in partnership with Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach. SCPO has received an ESSHI award to provide rental subsidy and support services to for the 20 households.
The buildings are in substantial disrepair and are the subject of a lawsuit due to the conditions by an association of tenants and the City of Rochester. The project scope includes a complete rehabilitation of the buildings, including asbestos abatement, new roofs, new mechanical systems, appliances, security system, kitchens, baths, and finishes. The project currently has number of open code violations, including a structural issue at 967 Chili, which will all be cured during construction.
Of the 63 apartments, approximately 32 are currently occupied. Home Leasing has been meeting with the association of the tenants and their advocate to listen to their concerns, discuss the transition and build the rapport required to accomplish a complicated relocation and rehabilitation. Home Leasing is developing a temporary relocation plan that will be approved by HCR to provide financial and logistical assistance in the temporary relocation of existing tenants. The tenants will not incur any cost related to relocation and will be given the first right of return. In returning to the renovated property, the existing tenants will not face rent increases upon lease-up other than an allowance for utilities that will be paid for by the property.
Home Leasing assumed property management responsibilities for the project on February 1, 2019 prior to purchase of the property in an effort to help improve the service provided to tenants and will close on the portfolio in late February 2019. Construction finance closing is anticipated in March 2019 with construction beginning immediately upon closing of financing. With an 8-month construction schedule it is intended that tenants will be able to begin to return to the properties in December of 2019.
The project will receive funding from NYS HCR in the form of a grant and is seeking a PILOT from the City of Rochester equal to 10% of shelter rent. Home Leasing is partnering with Community Preservation Corporation for a construction and permanent loan, to make this important project possible.