Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gibbs Street building to undergo renovation

A property lining Gibbs Street has new owners, who are committing upwards of $700,000 to upgrade and renovate the site. 

Anthony Matthews LLC, composed of proprietors Mark Siwiec and Duffy Palmer, closed last week on the 26-unit apartment building in the city for $1.2 million. The property includes 130-152 Gibbs St. and a former carriage house on a contiguous lot at 3-5 Selden St. 

The two had worked to secure the site for more than a year, Siwiec said, adding that it traditionally has been filled with students from the Eastman School of Music but has fallen into disrepair over the years. There are six vacancies. They believe Eastman students still will be interested in the units.

The property, where Palmer once lived when he moved to the area years ago, was owned by Woodlark Cos., a Miami, Fla.-based real estate investment firm that owns properties primarily outside of New York. 

“We felt it was a jewel, the centerpiece of the neighborhood,” Siwiec said of the property. 

The new owners plan to update the kitchens and bathrooms, refinish the hardwood floors and make improvements to the exterior. The work has begun already, and they plan to complete two units at a time over the next year or so. 

Siwiec said the response to the deal has been positive, noting comments about the project on social media. People already have expressed interest in renting, he said.  

“We didn’t know the love people truly had for the building,” he said. 

Suzanne Mayer, president of the Grove Place Association, said the organization is pleased the property is returning to local ownership. 

“The beautiful buildings that are on the national register have been neglected in the past few years by an out-of-state owner,” Mayer said. “We believe that Mark and Duffy will invest in this cornerstone of our neighborhood by returning the buildings to their former beauty and will maintain the buildings going forward. We are excited to see the project unfold.”

Siwiec, a local real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, and Palmer, an educator and former state deputy secretary of education, own around 125 rental units in Rochester, including ones in the Park Avenue area and Vick Park A. 

Siwiec said the units they own have few vacancies, which he attributes to competitive rents—they work to keep rents under $1,000—coupled with properly maintained buildings that have historic character. 

They plan to continue to look for the right properties to develop.

“We are already looking for the next one,” Siwiec said. 

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