Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Contractor Tips: Finish Your Basement the Right Way

Basements are tricky. These large spaces beg for a new use, but they often become dumping grounds for all of life's extras. If selling your house in this market isn't an option but you want extra living space, you might find yourself pacing back and forth in the basement wondering if you can convert it to the room of your dreams. As the photos below show, it's possible — and the options are endless.

Diagrams: The steps in finishing a basement

Majority Favors 4-story Concept for Port

More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll favor the four-story residential and commercial structure concept submitted to city officials for mixed-use development at the Port of Rochester.

Submitted in response to a city of Rochester request for qualifications, the proposal—from Morgan Management LLC of Perinton—calls for a four-story structure with 200 apartments and nearly 7,000 square feet of retail space.

The other response was submitted by Edgewater Resources LLC of Michigan; its proposal includes a 13-story, 96-room hotel and an 11-story residential and commercial structure.

After reviewing the two proposals, the city selected Edgewater to develop a final design. The firm’s officials say the final design will be developed over the next eight months, and they plan a series of meetings to gather public input.

The Morgan concept was favored by 58 percent of Snap Poll respondents; 21 percent preferred the high-rise design outlined by Edgewater.

The mixed-use development will be on nearly three acres east of Lake Avenue and overlooking the Genesee River and Lake Ontario. It is part of the waterfront revitalization that will include a new 85-slip marina.

Roughly 820 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted April 28 and 29.

In general, which of the design concepts submitted to city officials for mixed-use development at the Port of Rochester do you favor?
Four-story residential and commercial structure  58% 
High-rise hotel, residential and commercial structure:  21%
I do not favor new mixed-use development at the port:  20%

The Charlotte area can be a beautiful region, and thank goodness something is finally being done about that. However, I do not support a high-rise hotel. I feel that would only detract from the region, sticking out like a sore thumb. Scaled-down version would be much more attractive with accompanying retail space, shops, restaurants, etc. What disappoints me more is that Lovely Warren hires an out-of-town firm to spearhead this project! What about keeping the jobs in Rochester? So much for job creation here.
—Gary M. Baker, president, Cochran, Cochran & Yale

The high-rises are like the fast ferry: too big, too expensive and a future liability for city taxpayers. I guess we didn’t learn our lesson the first go-round.
—Jonathan Maurer, Rochester

The reason I favor the four-story concept is because I developed it. My firm did extensive market studies, considered what the Charlotte merchants and residents wanted, and then gave the city of Rochester the largest real estate developer in the region to do the project with conventional financing. They decided to choose a developer that has never developed anything and will look to foreign investors through EB-5 financing to support a project that locals hate.
—Lou Giardino, president and CEO, CEA International

The idea of a hotel down at the Port of Rochester is too much of a stretch for me. Is it a high-rise hotel so that most of the rooms get above the smell of the algae? The way to get businesses to locate to the port is to get a minimum of 10,000 people to live there. The four-story residential and commercial structure brings the most permanent residents to the port. There should be a large boardwalk or right of way, as well, so that the view of the lake and the river is as unobstructed as possible.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

High-rise buildings would look hideous along the lake. The four-story building doesn’t overwhelm the beautiful neighborhood and fits in nicely along the river. Where are the people who would pay over a million? Who will stay in the hotel? What a disaster that will be, and it’s harder to move than the fast ferry fiasco.
—Daniel Mossien, architect

The four-story mixed-use structure plan was much more in keeping with the style of Charlotte and was reminiscent of the structures that existed at Ontario Beach at the turn of the 20th century. These plans were not shown to Charlotte residents until a day before Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced that her administration had chosen the Edgewater plan. Every single Charlotte neighbor I have spoken with prefers the four-story structure over the high-rise hotel and has expressed anger and frustration that the decision was made without regard for input from residents (taxpayers) of the Charlotte community.
—Karen Cavacos

Who is going to live there? Hopefully not the same people who were supposed to ride the fast ferry.
—Ian Cunningham

The development of this property should have low-profile buildings to not (intrude) on the view of the lake or the river. I would prefer a development that reflects the history of Charlotte. I would like to see an ice-skating rink, a trolley service, small shops such as they have at Olcott Beach.
—Rob Van Cott

The city never took into consideration the historic aspect of the village of Charlotte or its residents’ concerns. Like the “fast ferry” debacle, impractical ideas and plans of grandeur do not touch on the reality of the area’s actual needs. The planners and decision-makers have no clue to what the Charlotte neighborhood is really all about!
—Karen Doyle

I would model after the success of Corn Hill in regard to three- to four-story apartments. Corn Hill has dining and retail options without overwhelming the historic district and surrounding neighborhoods. The Port of Rochester is a tremendous asset with unique neighborhoods with a lot of potential and some nightlife. Build to bring people there in both the summer and the winter.
—Keith Newcomer

Why is this city so intent on building brand-new neighborhoods while rezoning the destruction of gems, like the Highland Park neighborhood?
—Jim Antonevich, Metrix Matrix Inc.

Cleaning up the environmental disaster around Ontario Beach should be the main priority. Until such time that you can walk or swim in that area without being overwhelmed by the noxious odor and bacteria-sickened water, there won’t be meaningful traffic and commerce.
—Robert Hayes, president, Hayes Financial Group

The Charlotte area investment should be focused on beach use, recreation and other public use space. There is no need to pollute the water and park area with more buildings. Same opinion for the development in Canandaigua.
—Barb Randall

You simply cannot make a silk purse out of a hog’s ear. Enough said!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

While I can see the attraction of a high-rise, my concerns would be: Loss of sight lines from the neighborhood light pollution—how much shadow does a 13-story building cast? I'd bet a big one. Traffic: I do find it amusing that this proposal was created while the potential street narrowing of Lake Avenue was also in the works (traffic-calming). Does Lake Avenue have capacity to handle what will be created in new traffic?
—Jim Strowe, Rochester

Growing up in Charlotte, I believe the high-rise hotel and residential proposal is way out of scale for the area. It will further limit public access to the river and lake as well as take up most of the parking space at Ontario Beach Park. I think a more modest development that enhances the natural beauty of the area would be more consistent with the character of Charlotte.
—Gary Bauch

Build it, please! Make it big, bold and beautiful—just like we used to do. Rochester has the least developed and underutilized waterfront on the Great Lakes! Why is this community so afraid of development? Be brave Rochester, just like are forefathers.
—Antonino Barbagallo, Antonino Barbagallo Photography Inc.

When traveling to other cities with beautiful waterfront developments, the focus is on quaint shops, cafes and restaurants. The hotels and residential structures were secondary and most often set back away from the shops and cafes. I'm afraid until there are reasons for people wanting to relax and hang out along the waterfront, hotels and residential structures are premature and may become useless eyesores. Above all that, the water, beach and riverfront must become clean and attractive again otherwise it is all going to be a waste of time and money.
—David Wagner

The four-story residential/commercial rendering seems more in line with the character of the area and promotes a year-round community of activity.
—Doug Reed

Both of these developments, mixed-use or otherwise, are nothing more than boxes plopped down on a vacant lot—looking exactly like so many other building projects in Rochester. They have no integration of inside/outside. No outside communal spaces. Not a deck or porch insight. This was a beach community. These buildings are cookie cutter and show no sensitivity to the lake/river front site. Urban planning is having a vision, not just letting developers control your community, which is obviously the case in Rochester.
—Connie Ehindero

Will we never learn? This feels like the Ferry 2.0.
—T. Baker, Henrietta

The neighborhood association is against a high-rise project. They should have a complete voice in what takes place in their neighborhood (and) community.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester

I favor progress in the port area, and while neither really seems "great" to me, I will support the effort regardless when it gets started. I do wish the mayor would listen more to the folks who run Charlotte, though. An unfortunate casualty of this is that the construction has bumped the RibFest out. We want this type of activity in Charlotte so this is not a good thing.
—Eric Bourgeois

First comes residential space, then unsubsidized retail development will follow. A hotel is perhaps fourth or fifth on the list after a casino or other high-end entertainment is in place to support a hotel. Monroe County squabbles over casino locations, while attractive commercial sites near water and near attractive recreational activities go undeveloped. Worry about a hotel that no one needs? What do I go to Abbots for an ice cream cone and spend the night at a hotel? Get real, Monroe County.
—Wayne Donner, Rush

Please do not build those proposed high rises.
—Charlie Beck

I favor any design whose benefits are limited to a short-term tax abatement for property tax only. No loans, or cash to the developers, or any other improvement incentives. Let the project stand on its own. Any property tax abatement should expire within five years so that the town can more easily recoup the infrastructure costs of improving the surrounding facilities to support the new development. Let's develop our waterfront property sensibly and profitably.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed Inc.

While some development is inevitable and has some merits, it is important to maintain some of the character of the area. The most important thing will be to maintain/enhance public access to the waterfronts (lake and river).
—Patricia Brantingham

Why on Earth are we sending our dollars to an out-of-state firm to build a monstrous behemoth of a complex for which there is little demand? The Michigan firm's proposal flies in the face of smart, human-scaled, environmentally and economically appropriate urban development. The lakefront area does deserve investment and smart development; however, we should be contracting with the local firm—a firm that not only will keep the dollars and (short-term construction) jobs local, but also understands our economic environment and is not proposing to overbuild just for the sake of making a bigger buck.
—Christine Corrado

I think 13-story buildings in the port area would overshadow the general nature of the area. The lower four-story complex would be more in keeping with the other current structures. I'm also concerned about the failure of a larger undertaking. The city doesn't have a great track record in this type of development.
—Al Schnucker, Schnucker Packaging Inc.

Whatever is done, I think we need to show that there will be a market for it, and that it won't negatively impact other areas. Last I knew, Rochester is not growing.
—Margie Campaigne, Energy Services Outreach for Graves Bros.

5/2/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.

Source: rbjdaily.com
Image: rochesterhomepage.net

Bausch + Lomb Building to be Sold for $15 Million

The Bausch + Lomb office building, one of downtown Rochester's most recognizable structures, has been purchased by three local developers led by Buckingham Properties owner Larry Glazer.

Glazer said Friday that the price of the building is "in the neighborhood" of $15 million — far below the $70 million Bausch spent to construct the red granite tower in the mid-1990s. He said the purchase will be final at the end of July.

The deal made with Canada-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, which bought Bausch + Lomb last year, culminates a couple of years of negotiation, Glazer said. Valeant officials did not respond to a request for comment.
All of the B+L employees in the building have relocated, Glazer said, and the building currently is about half occupied, with nine tenants employing about 400 people.
The other owners besides Glazer are Robert Morgan of Robert C. Morgan & Cos. in Pittsford and David Flaum of Flaum Management Co. in Rochester.
Glazer said current tenants would not be affected by the change in ownership. He said he will be looking for retail tenants for the ground floor of the building.
The 20-story building is one of the tallest in Rochester. Glazer said the name of the building will be changed when the ownership does. "I don't know what the new name will be yet," he said.
Glazer said the purchase will enable him to better integrate the building into the ongoing efforts to develop the former Midtown Plaza site.
"This is one of the few buildings with Class A office space left in Rochester," Glazer said. "Valeant has said it was interested in selling the building. This not only helps strengthen the whole area but ensures that the building owners do not work against what we're trying to accomplish downtown."
Glazer and Morgan are two of the major investors in the Midtown project. The B+L ownership will be Flaum's first direct involvement in the project.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warrren said Glazer, Morgan and Flaum have shown their commitment to Rochester.
"These are people who are willing to put their money where their mouth is," Warren said. "This will absolutely help the Midtown project."
Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of the Rochester Downtown Development Corp., said the building is one of Rochester's best and that having local owners of excellent stature is terrific news for downtown Rochester.
"Buckingham Properties has one of the best track records in the business of leasing space and finding tenants," Zimmer-Metyer said. "It's important to the development of downtown that important buildings like this are in local ownership."
The RDDC currently in the process of creating a Business Improvement District for downtown that is meant to enhance city services and attract office, retail and residential buyers and tenants.
"This community cares deeply about the B+L building," Zimmer-Meyer said. "It is one of the best buildings built in Rochester in the past 30 or 40 years."
The tower has been on the market since 2010, when Warburg Pincus owned the eye-care company.
Glazer's Buckingham Properties and another unnamed partner bought the 30-story Xerox Tower from Xerox last August for $30 million. That property had been on the market since 2009.
At the time of that purchase, Glazer said that one of his goals was to incorporate the building into the overall Midtown redevelopment.
WinnDevelopment, which is developing The Sibley Building across from Midtown, also welcomed the news. "This is another great story showing how much people believe in downtown Rochester," said Joseph Eddy, vice president for WinnDevelopment, in a statement.
Buckingham Properties is investing in the reconstruction of the former Midtown Tower on the razed Midtown Plaza site. Buckingham also is developing the Alexander Park project at the site of the former Genesee Hospital.
The Bausch + Lomb tower officially opened in October 1995 after two years of construction. The project was hailed at the time for its post-modern, sculpted design and glass-enclosed winter garden.
"The building is probably the best example in this city of something that's playful," architect David Beinetti said just before the opening. "It's got a lot of things going on. It's got a great design. It's got great lights. It's got a great top.
"It's the sort of building that this city needs badly."

Source: democratandchronicle.com

Homeowner's Workbook: How to Remodel Your Kitchen

9 steps to a kitchen remodel, from gathering design ideas through construction and final review

You've decided to remodel your kitchen. Now what? Not knowing where to start, many homeowners fall into two camps. Some start by looking at appliances. Others start by collecting inspiring kitchen photos. Some decide they need more room. Others simply want to upgrade their current kitchen. Homeowners may find themselves in this exploration stage for a year or longer before they start interviewing kitchen designers or general contractors.

Once you've pondered long enough and you're ready to green-light a kitchen remodeling project, then what? We'll start with the first 9 steps and we'll get into the nitty-gritty details under specific steps as we move through the complete workbook.

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Step 1: Think about what you need

This step is all about how you use your kitchen, and finding the layout and features that fit your household's lifestyle. Get ideas from every resource possible, including Houzz guides and photos, showrooms, books, magazines and blogs.

Think about your priorities: how many people will be cooking and gathering here, and how they'll need to move around in it. Do you need an addition? Or can you work with your existing kitchen footprint?

If you haven't already, start saving photos of kitchens with features that suit your style. Your collection can be organized and beautiful like a scrapbook or it can be filled with random, unorganized images. I actually prefer the latter, because I like to randomly stuff images into my folders and ideabooks and go back to them later on for edits.

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Step 2: Research and plan

Ready to green-light that project and take the plunge? The best place to start is by formulating what's commonly referred to as a scope of work and figuring out your preliminary budget.

Both of these may be subject to change, so don't feel like you have only once chance at this. Budget and scope are intertwined and often change many times during the design process as you become more educated and able to reconcile what you want and what you can afford. As a homeowner, you're not expected to walk into this knowing what everything should cost. Remember, this is an educational process.

Step 3: Find the professionals you will need

Even if you're going the DIY route, unless you're building your own kitchen cabinets and doing your own electrical and plumbing, you're going to have to work with a professional at some point. It may be as brief as leaning on your salesperson to help you in selecting and ordering your appliances or cabinets, but it's something to plan on either way.

Some people start by visiting big-box stores or cabinet showrooms where they can see everything. Many homeowners get referrals from friends or colleagues and start by hiring an architect or designer. Still others might work on their own with a builder or contractor. Pros are available to help you with everything from contracts and permits to space planning, budgets, choosing finishes and fixtures, shopping, ordering products, helping you set up a temporary kitchen, and managing your project from start to finish.

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Step 4: Schematic design

This phase includes sketches, space planning, preliminary floor plans and elevations showing the layout and cabinet sizes. I try to keep my clients focused more on layout and space planning, even though the temptation is to talk about what the kitchen will look like. But I find that getting caught up in the look too early can distract from the space planning phase.

Plus, you need a plan in order to figure out what materials will go where, and how many square feet you will need, and ultimately how much this will cost. I like to begin the contractor interview process early and give them a preliminary drawing packet and scope of work so we can get some ballpark construction numbers. At the same time you can be sending out drawings for estimates on some top choices of finishes and fixtures.

Step 5: Fixture and finish specification

Throughout this process, and probably long before, you have been saving photos of kitchens you love into your ideabooks and folders. You've found your style, whether it's modern, classic, traditional, cottage or a personal style in between. You probably know if you want a white kitchen, a natural wood kitchen, or some color.

Now you need to make your final selection of finishes and fixtures. This usually includes:
◦    Refrigerators and other appliances
◦    Kitchen sink and faucet
◦    Light fixtures
◦    Flooring
◦    Backsplash

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Step 6: Work on design development and construction documents

This is the stage when you finalize the design and prepare final floor plans, elevations, details and, if applicable, mechanical and electrical drawings, lighting switch plans, and exterior elevations.

This is where your final permit set or Construction Drawings (CDs) come into play. It's important to have finishes and fixtures selected at this time, since this is what will be considered in the final pricing from the contractor.

You'll submit drawings for permits. These have a lead time, so check the timing with your local village. You'll need an architect, designer or licensed contractor signed up to finalize the paperwork and pick up your permits, so get ready to hire someone in the next step. I often find that we're submitting for permits around the same time or a little bit after we've placed the cabinet order, due to similar lead times.

Step 7: Get contractor estimates

If you don't already have a licensed contractor on your project, your next step is to find one to carry the project through. I always recommend to my clients to get at least 3 different contractor estimates. I like to do preliminary walk-throughs with the contractors once the schematic designs are done so we can get some ballpark estimates and find out if we're on the right track or need to pull back some to fit the budget.

Step 8: Get ready for demo

The big day is upon us, most likely something like 4-8 weeks from when you submitted for permits. Time to get that schedule firmed up and plan on cleaning out the cabinets, putting what you don't need in storage and — if you're living in the house during construction — setting up a temporary kitchen so you don't lose your mind!

You may be moving out of your house temporarily, but most homeowners white-knuckle it and try to live in the house through construction. Preparation and organization can save your sanity.

Discuss the logistics ahead of time with your contractor. Will you meet once a week for updates? Will you have to be out of the house for certain tasks like demo or flooring? What about debris removal and dust? Are there any family allergy issues? What is a typical work day for the crew? Getting all this on the table beforehand can set expectations and make for a smoother ride.

Step 9: Surviving the dreaded punch list

Once construction is over, well ... almost over ... there's always this annoying little list of items that are missing, wrong, or simply forgotten about. A missing light switch plate, a caulk line that shrank and pulled away from the wall, paint touch ups — small things like this, and sometimes bigger things like the hood doesn't work, or there's a big scratch in the newly refinished floor.

Sometimes the homeowner does the punch list. It can be as informal as an emailed list of items that need to be fixed or finished. I like to use a little form I put together that identifies the item to be fixed or finished, the responsible party and the date of completion. I send it to the client for review, changes and additions, and then off to the contractor. 

It's inevitable that the contractor may have to make multiple visits back to the house to finish these items; prepare yourself for more than one visit and you'll be fine.The best way to approach this is with a Zen attitude. Things happen, little things get missed. It's sort of like making a list for the grocery store and still forgetting some key ingredient. We all do it.

Source: houzz.com