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Investors Celebrate Housing Development In Schenectady

Officials and investors cut the ribbon on a new housing development in one of Schenectady’s oldest neighborhoods.

There was a champagne toast with Italian pastries after the ribbon was cut inside a townhome in the brand new Barrett Village.

The six homes on Barrett Street were built by a team of investors that includes local banks, developers, and others called “Living in Schenectady.”

John Roth is a managing member of the group.

“This was a great spot for us to be able to jump off, help the city out by buying all the pieces of property that were currently vacant, and start the project to really start bringing people back into the city. That was our goal.”

The homes are located on the site of the former Luigi’s Restaurant, destroyed by arson in 2012. 

Barrett Street is located near the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, a short distance to downtown and Erie Boulevard corridor that is home to the Mohawk Harbor and Rivers Casino – areas that have seen significant investment in recent years.

Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas is a Schenectady City Councilor, and also an agent with real estate company Berkshire Hathaway, which was showing the townhome Tuesday. She sees it as a step forward in the city’s work to redevelop its neighborhoods, radiating out from the burgeoning downtown.

“I love the fact that this is such a collaborative effort with private investors, with the city, with Metroplex, with the banks, and we’ve started on the neighborhoods. We have a long way to go, it took a long time for us to get to such a state with these streets. And now you look what’s going on, and this is a new development. And investors are going to put their money right back in with the next neighborhood.”

Zalewski-Wildzunas predicts the units will sell quickly, due to price and location. The single-family homes are expected to have a listing price around $275,000.

John Roth, joined by NBT Bank’s William Faubion, discussed the strategy of building within the city as a way to market homes to younger people less interested in moving out to the suburbs.

“People want to live someplace where they have access to…be able to walk to restaurants, theaters, entertainment, bars, events on a regular basis. And I think by people by moving back into the city, it gives them the opportunity to be able to do that,” said Roth.

“And we’ve brought hundreds of apartment units online in the last five years, from Mohawk Harbor to State Street and Center City, and so we thought it was a good time to have some actual housing in addition to the apartment units. And this isn’t Affordable Housing, this is market-rate housing,” said Faubion.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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